Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

This water soluble vitamin (unable to be stored by the body), is found predominantly in whole grain foods, enriched bread/flour products, and others.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) benefits

The main use of vitamin B1 (thiamin) is to metabolize carbohydrates into usable energy, specifically adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary source of energy in the human body.

Sources of vitamin B1 (thiamin)

Nearly all food sources contain trace amounts of vitamin B1 (thiamin). Most individuals will find adequate amounts in whole grain foods, enriched bread and flour products, bran, and legumes (various varieties of beans). It is also found in a multitude of meat products.

Recommended amounts

Set forth by the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for vitamin B1 (thiamin) are below.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin B1 (thiamin)1
Age Amount
0-6 months 0.2mg/day (adequate intake)
7-12 months 0.3mg/day (adequate intake)
1-3 years 0.5mg/day
4-8 years 0.6mg/day
9-13 years 0.9mg/day
Males 14+ years 1.2mg/day
Females 14-18 years 1.0mg/day
Females 19+ years 1.1mg/day
Pregnant or nursing females 1.4mg/day

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency

In the event an individual suffers from a vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency, they may experience symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, psychosis, and nerve damage. Aside from inadequate food consumption, alcoholism can play a role in a vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency. When alcohol is consumed, it makes it difficult for the body to absorb the vitamin for use and due to the fact that vitamin B1 (thiamin) is not fat soluble, it cannot be store for later use, therefore it passes through the body, unabsorbed.

Beriberi is another effect is not receiving enough vitamin B1 (thiamin). Symptoms of beriberi are swelling, tingling, or burning in the extremities of the body such as the hands and feet. Disorientation, labored breathing (due to fluid in the lungs), and erratic eye movements are also symptoms.

In cases of extreme deficiency, brain disorders can develop called Wernicke's disease and Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke's disease results in damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems while Korsakoff syndrome is associated with memory issues and nerve damage.

If you think you may be suffering from a vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency, talk to your doctor immedately.

Sources:
1Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b1-000333.htm

Thiamin - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002401.htm

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