Thiamine – Vitamin B1: An Overview
Vitamin B, a water soluble vitamin, is:
extremely important for various body functions. Earlier, Vitamin B was considered to be a single vitamin, however, later on research revealed that it is a group of 8 chemically distinct vitamins, each of which has its own relevance for the body. Various constituents of Vitamin B complex are: Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12.
About Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 (or Thiamin) is an organic compound that is one of the most essential nutrients for human body. It was one of the first organic compounds to be recognized as a vitamin in 1930s. It is found in many B complex products. It is a water soluble vitamin that plays an important role in maintaining healthy functioning of nerves, muscles and heart.
- Vitamin B1 acts as coenzyme in the form of thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP). It activates other enzymes and proteins that control several biochemical processes occurring in the body. TPP is needed to release energy from fats, carbohydrates and protein metabolism.
- It plays an important role in maintaining healthy nervous system. The non-coenzyme functions of thiamin are important for nerves as well as muscles. TPP plays an important role in conduction of nerve impulses and in metabolism of adrenalin, serotonin and acetylcholine.
- It is also known as anti-stress vitamin, as it improves the immune system of the body and increases its ability to withstand stressful conditions.
- It is also used as a coenzyme in chemical reactions which produces many prominent compounds, such as ATP, NADPH and RNA and DNA.
Most of the foods contain small amounts of thiamin. The best source of thiamin is dried brewer’s yeast. Other dietary sources include whole grain cereals and nuts, meat, pork, ham, fish (eel, tuna), dried legumes, nuts, pulses and green peas. Breakfast cereals and bread are fortified with vitamin B1.
Recommended Daily Intake
The daily recommended dose of vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg in females and 1.5 milligrams for males.
Deficiency Of Vitamin B1
Beri Beri is the most common disorder caused due to the deficiency of vitamin B1. It occurs when you are not getting enough thiamine in your diet. The condition is characterized by swelling and tingling sensation in hands and feet, nystagmus, confusion and difficulty in breathing.
Severe deficiency of vitamin B1 can cause brain disorder, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It involves damage to the nerves leading to memory problems and muscle incordination.
Vitamin B1 supplements are specifically used in the prevention and treatment of beri-beri and other manifestations of thiamine deficiency. It is also used in patients with cataracts, cerebellar syndrome, weakened immune system, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
How It Is Used?
Most of the multivitamin pills contain vitamin b1. However, it is also sold individually. Thaimine is available in different forms like tablets, lozenges and softgels. Daily recommended dose of thiamin supplement is 1-2 mg. In deficiency states, the dosage is increased. In severe conditions, thaimin is administered intravenously.
If you are on any medication, consult your physician before starting vitamin B1 supplements.