Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) foods, benefits, and symptoms of lack

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) foods, benefits, and symptoms of lack


what is vitamin b1 thiamine used for ?
Thiamin (also known as thiamine) is a water-soluble B vitamin. Vitamin B1 is another name for it. Thiamin is found naturally in some foods, is added to some meals, and may be purchased as a nutritional supplement. This vitamin is essential for energy metabolism and, as a result, cell growth, development, and function.

The small intestine absorbs thiamin from food and dietary supplements by active transport at nutritional dosages and passive diffusion at pharmacologic levels. The majority of dietary thiamin is phosphorylated, and intestinal phosphatases hydrolyze it to free thiamin before absorption. The rest of the thiamin in your diet is in a free (absorbable) form. Thiamin is largely stored in the liver, although only in trace levels. Because the vitamin has a limited half-life, humans require a steady supply from their food.

The major metabolically active form of thiamin is thiamin diphosphate (TDP; also known as thiamin pyrophosphate), which accounts for around 80% of the approximately 25–30 mg of thiamin in the adult human body. Bacteria in the large intestine also produce free thiamin and TDP, although it’s unclear how much of a contribution they make to thiamin nutrition. TDP is a cofactor for five enzymes involved in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, and lipids.

Thiamin levels in the blood aren’t always accurate markers of thiamin deficiency. The activity of the trans ketolase enzyme, which is dependent on TDP, in erythrocyte hemolysates in the presence and absence of additional TDP is typically used to determine thiamin level indirectly. The “TDP effect,” as the result is termed, represents the degree of unsaturation of trans ketolase with TDP. In healthy persons, the result is generally 0–15 percent, 15–25 percent in those with moderate insufficiency, and greater than 25 percent in those with deficiency. Urinary thiamin excretion is another regularly used thiamin status test, which offers information on dietary intakes but not tissue storage. Adults with thiamin excretion of less than 100 mcg/day in urine have inadequate thiamin intake, whereas those with fewer than 40 mcg/day have a severely low intake.

Intakes Suggestions

when should i take vitamin b1 ?
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) issued by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies give thiamin and other nutrient intake recommendations (formerly National Academy of Sciences). The term “DRI” refers to a collection of reference values that are used to plan and analyze nutritional intakes in healthy persons. These are some of the values, which vary by age and gender:

RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance): An average daily level of consumption sufficient to fulfil the nutrient needs of virtually all (97–98%) healthy persons; frequently used to construct nutritionally suitable meals for individuals.
Adequate Intake (AI): When there is insufficient data to define an RDA, intake at this amount is presumed to guarantee nutritional adequacy.
Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): A daily intake level estimated to fulfil the needs of 50% of healthy persons; commonly used to analyze nutrient intakes of groups of people and to develop nutritionally sufficient meals for them; can also be used to assess individual nutrient intakes.
Tolerable Upper Consumption Level (UL): The highest daily intake that is unlikely to cause health problems.

Sources of Thiamin


what foods contain vitamin b1 thiamine ?

Whole grains, pork, and fish are all good sources of thiamin. Thiamin is added to breads, cereals, and baby formulae in the United States and many other nations. Cereals and bread are the most prevalent sources of thiamin in the American diet. Another good source of vitamin A is pork. Thiamin is found in small amounts in dairy products and most fruits. About half of the thiamin in the American diet comes from naturally occurring thiamin; the rest comes from foods that have been supplemented with thiamin.

The amount of thiamin in meals that have been heated can be reduced. Bread, for example, has 20–30% less thiamin than its raw ingredients, while pasteurization decreases the thiamin concentration (which is already low) in milk by up to 20%. Because thiamin dissolves in water, when boiling water is discarded, a considerable proportion of the vitamin is lost. The amount of thiamin in foods is also affected by processing; for example, unless white rice is enhanced with thiamin, it has one twentieth of the amount of thiamin found in unenriched brown rice.

There is a scarcity of information on the bioavailability of thiamin from diet. However, other studies demonstrate that when thiamin levels are low, absorption rises.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States created DVs to assist customers in comparing the nutritional content of foods and dietary supplements in the context of a whole diet. Adults and children aged 4 and above need 1.2 mg of thiamin per day. Unless thiamin has been added to the product, the FDA does not require food labels to show thiamin content. High sources of a nutrient are those that provide 20% or more of the DV, however items that provide lower percentages of the DV can nevertheless contribute to a healthy diet.

Supplements for your diet

Thiamin is included in a variety of dietary supplements. Multivitamin/multimineral products containing thiamin usually include 1.5 mg or more of the vitamin. B-complex vitamins (including thiamin) and thiamin-only supplements are also available. Thiamin mononitrate and thiamin hydrochloride, both stable and water soluble, are the most often used forms of thiamin in supplements.

Some dietary supplements contain benfotiamine, a synthetic thiamin derivative. Benfotiamine is not water soluble and must be converted by the body to thiamin.

Intakes and Status of Thiamin

In the United States, most individuals get the required quantity of thiamin. Only 6% of the US population had a typical consumption below the EAR, according to data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey .

The average daily thiamin consumption from foods among children and teenagers is 1.27 mg for ages 2–5 years, 1.54 mg for ages 6–11 years, and 1.68 mg for ages 12–19 years . The average daily thiamin consumption from foods in individuals aged 20 and older is 1.95 mg for men and 1.39 mg for women. In children and teenagers, the average daily thiamin consumption from foods and supplements is 1.51 mg for ages 2–5, 1.76 mg for ages 6–11 years, and 1.95 mg for ages 12–19 years. The average daily thiamin consumption from foods and supplements in individuals aged 20 and older is 4.89 mg for men and 4.90 mg for women.

Deficiency in Thiamin

In addition to insufficient thiamin intake from the food, thiamin insufficiency can be caused by poorer absorption or greater excretion rates than usual, which can be caused by certain illnesses (such as alcoholism or HIV/AIDS) or the use of certain drugs.

Thiamin deficiency can induce anorexia, disorientation, short-term memory loss, and other mental signs and symptoms, as well as physical weakness and cardiovascular symptoms (such as an enlarged heart) in its early stages.

Beriberi is the most prevalent symptom of thiamin deficiency, which is characterized by peripheral neuropathy and wasting. Sensory, motor, and reflex capabilities are all affected in people with this illness. Beriberi can induce congestive heart failure, which can lead to edema in the lower limbs and, in rare circumstances, death. Despite the fact that beriberi is uncommon in the United States and other industrialized nations, it does occur infrequently. Supplemental thiamin, commonly administered parenterally, heals beriberi rapidly.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a more prevalent symptom of thiamin insufficiency in the United States. Individuals with persistent alcoholism are 8–10 times more likely than the general population to acquire this illness, although it can also arise in patients with severe gastrointestinal problems, quickly advancing hematologic malignancies, drug use disorders, or AIDS. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome comprises two stages in many people. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is frequently characterized by peripheral neuropathy in its early, acute, and life-threatening stage.

Up to 20% of persons with Wernicke’s encephalopathy die without treatment; those who survive develop Korsakoff’s psychosis, while some Korsakoff’s psychosis patients have never had Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Korsakoff’s psychosis, which is caused by persistent thiamin insufficiency, is a kind of psychosis.

is linked to significant short-term memory loss, disorientation, and confabulation (the inability to distinguish between genuine and imagined memories). Parenteral thiamin therapy does not result in recovery in roughly one-quarter of individuals with this chronic form of the illness.

To treat minor thiamin deficiency, the World Health Organization advises daily oral dosages of 10 mg thiamin for a week, followed by 3–5 mg/day for at least 6 weeks. For severe deficiency, 25–30 mg intravenously in babies and 50–100 mg in adults is indicated, followed by 10 mg daily injected intramuscularly for about one week, then 3–5 mg/day oral thiamin for at least 6 weeks.

Those at Risk of Thiamin Deficiency

Those who are addicted to alcohol

Chronic alcohol use problems appear to be the most prevalent cause of thiamin deficiency in highly industrialized nations. Because ethanol lowers gastrointestinal absorption of thiamin, thiamin storage in the liver, and thiamin phosphorylation, up to 80% of patients with persistent alcoholism acquire thiamin insufficiency. Additionally, those who are alcoholics often have insufficient intakes of important minerals, such as thiamin.

Adults in their latter years

Up to 20%–30% of older persons exhibit test markers that imply thiamin insufficiency to some degree. Decreased dietary intakes, a mix of chronic conditions, concurrent use of several drugs, and low thiamin absorption as a natural effect of ageing are all possible causes. According to several modest studies, the risk of insufficiency is especially significant among older persons who live in institutions.

HIV/AIDS sufferers

Thiamin deficiency and related complications, such as beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, are more common in HIV patients. Nearly 10% of 380 AIDS patients had Wernicke’s encephalopathy, according to autopsies, and some specialists feel that thiamin deficiency is underdiagnosed in this population. The link between thiamin insufficiency and HIV/AIDS is most likely due to malnutrition brought on by the catabolic condition of AIDS.

HIV/AIDS sufferers

Thiamin deficiency and related complications, such as beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, are more common in HIV patients . Nearly 10% of 380 AIDS patients had Wernicke’s encephalopathy, according to autopsies, and some specialists feel that thiamin deficiency is underdiagnosed in this population. The link between thiamin insufficiency and HIV/AIDS is most likely due to malnutrition brought on by the catabolic condition of AIDS.

Individuals who have had bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery for weight loss carries a number of dangers, including severe thiamin shortage caused by malabsorption, which can result in beriberi or Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Between 1991 and 2008, a literature study found 84 incidences of Wernicke’s encephalopathy following bariatric surgery (mainly gastric bypass surgery). About half of these individuals suffered from long-term neurologic problems. To prevent deficiencies, individuals who have had bariatric surgery are virtually always advised to take micronutrient supplements that include thiamin.

Health and Thiamin

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, diabetes, heart failure, and Alzheimer’s disease are the four illnesses or conditions in which thiamin plays or may play a role.

The Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a kind of neurological disorder.

One of the most severe neuropsychiatric consequences of alcohol addiction is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Only two trials matched the inclusion criteria for a 2013 Cochrane review of thiamin to treat or prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and one of these studies has yet to be published. In a total of 177 patients with a history of chronic alcohol use, these randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies compared 5 mg/day by mouth for 2 weeks against daily intramuscular doses of 5 to 200 mg/day thiamin over 2 consecutive days.

The evidence from randomized clinical trials is insufficient to guide healthcare providers in selecting the appropriate dose, frequency, duration, or route of thiamin supplementation to treat or prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in patients with alcohol abuse, according to the Cochrane review authors.

Even large dosages of oral thiamin supplements may not be useful in boosting blood thiamin levels or curing Wernicke’s encephalopathy, according to the authors of the European Federation of Neurological Societies recommendations for diagnosing, preventing, and treating Wernicke’s encephalopathy. They recommend taking 200 mg thiamin three times a day (for a total of 600 mg per day) until the signs and symptoms go away, coupled with a well-balanced diet.

The Royal College of Physicians in London supports the administration of oral thiamin hydrochloride (100 mg three times a day) in patients with adequate dietary thiamin intakes and no signs or symptoms of Wernicke’s encephalopathy in its guidelines for managing Wernicke’s encephalopathy in emergency departments . However, because oral thiamin supplementation is unlikely to achieve appropriate blood levels, the authors propose parenteral thiamin supplementation for individuals at high risk, such as those with ataxia, disorientation, or a history of persistent alcohol addiction.


According to research completed to far, the proportion of persons with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who have inadequate thiamin status based on erythrocyte trans ketolase activity ranges from 17 percent to 79 percent . According to tests of the trans ketolase enzyme, 8 percent of 76 consecutive individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes showed mild thiamin shortage and 32 percent had substantial deficiency.

Oral thiamin supplementation of 150–300 mg/day has been found in small trials to lower glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. The authors of these research, however, did not consider the therapeutic implications of their results.

The benefits of benfotiamine supplements on diabetic neuropathy have been studied in a few small randomized studies. Three trials revealed that taking 120–900 mg of benfotiamine per day, with or without additional B vitamins, reduced the intensity of neuropathy symptoms and decreased urine albumin excretion when compared to placebo (a marker of early-stage diabetic nephropathy).

However, another research revealed that 900 mg of benfotiamine per day had no effect on urine albumin excretion or renal injury molecule-1, a marker of kidney impairment.

To assess if thiamin supplements help lower glucose levels in diabetic individuals or lessen diabetic complications, well-designed research with bigger sample numbers and longer durations are needed.

Insufficiency of the heart

In investigations, the frequencies of low thiamin status in individuals with heart failure ranged from 21% to 98 percent f. Older age, comorbidities, poor nutritional intake, diuretic medication, and frequent hospitalizations are all possible explanations .

According to one research, 33 percent of 100 chronic heart failure patients exhibited thiamin insufficiency, compared to 12 percent of 50 healthy volunteers . When the researchers eliminated people who used thiamin pills, the rates of insufficiency were considerably greater.

The disparities in thiamin deficiency rates in patients with heart failure in these and other studies are likely related to variances in nutrition status, comorbidities, medicines and dietary supplements utilized, and thiamin measurement methodology.

Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of supplementation in adults with heart failure satisfied the authors’ eligibility criteria, according to a comprehensive literature review and meta-analysis. supplements substantially enhanced net change in left ventricular ejection fraction in several studies. However, the clinical importance of this observation was not assessed by the authors.

Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia.

Thiamin deficiency may have a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to animal model research. Thiamin deficiency, for example, causes oxidative stress in neurons, cell death, memory loss, plaque development, and abnormalities in glucose metabolism, all of which are symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Trans ketolase and other thiamin-dependent enzymes have been found to have diminished activity in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to autopsy investigations.

Three double-blind, randomized studies (including two crossover trials) comparing the effects of 3 g/day oral versus placebo on cognitive performance in individuals with Alzheimer’s type dementia were evaluated by the authors of a 2001 Cochrane review . The three trials each randomly allocated fewer than 20 patients, and neither of the crossover investigations included a washout period . Because these three studies were tiny and the articles reporting them did not give enough detail to incorporate this data in a meta-analysis, the review authors said that no inferences could be drawn from them.

To assess if supplements are effective for Alzheimer’s disease, larger, well-designed research are required.

Excessive Thiamin Poses Health Risks

Excess thiamin is excreted in the urine by the organism]. The FNB did not set ULs since there were no reports of deleterious effects from high thiamin intakes (50 mg/day or more) from food or supplements. They think that the apparent absence of toxicity is due to the quick fall in thiamin absorption at doses more than 5 mg. Despite the lack of known adverse events, high thiamin intakes might have negative consequences, according to the FNB.

Medications and Interactions

Although there are no known interactions between thiamin and drugs, some medications can cause levels to drop. A few instances are shown below. People who use these or other drugs on a daily basis should talk to their doctors about their thiamin levels.


Furosemide (Lasix) is a loop diuretic that increases urine output to treat edema and hypertension. As a result of urinary thiamin loss, research has connected the use of furosemide to decreased concentrations, perhaps to inadequate levels. Clinical trials are needed to see if supplements are useful in avoiding deficiency in patients on loop diuretics.

Fluorouracil-based chemotherapy

The chemotherapy medication fluorouracil (also known as 5-fluorouracil; Adrucil) is routinely used to treat colorectal and other solid tumors. Several cases of beriberi or Wernicke’s encephalopathy have been reported in the literature as a result of therapy with this medicine, presumably because the drug increases metabolism and blocks the synthesis of TDP, the active form of thiamin. Some of these symptoms may be reversed by taking supplements.

Healthy Diets and Thiamin

“Because foods supply an assortment of nutrients and other components that have health advantages, nutritional demands should be satisfied largely via foods,” according to the federal government’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. When it is not possible to satisfy demands for one or more nutrients in other ways (e.g., during certain life phases such as pregnancy), fortified foods and dietary supplements may be effective.”

A healthy eating pattern, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is one that:

  • Vegetables, fruits, cereals (at least half whole grains), fat-free and low-fat milk, yoghurt, and cheese, and oils are all included.
  • is found in a variety of whole grains, as well as yoghurt.
  • Lean meats, poultry, eggs, shellfish, beans, peas, and lentils, nuts and seeds, and soy products are all examples of protein sources.
  • is found in pork, fish, and shellfish and is found in significant amounts in these foods. is found in beef, beans, and seeds.
  • Limits additional sugars, saturated fat, and salt in meals and beverages.
  • Alcoholic drinks are restricted.
  • Keeps you inside your daily calorie requirements.
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