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 Vitamin B1 | Thiamine

What is the importance of vitamin B1 ?

Vitamin B1 or thiamine, as it is more commonly referred to now, is one of the most important members of the B group of vitamins. Also known as aneurin, vitamin B1 is anti-beriberi and anti-neuritic. It is water soluble.

Vitamin B1 in the form of thiamine hydrochloride, is a white crystalline powder with a yeast like odor and a salty taste. It is readily soluble in water and slightly soluble in alcohol. In dry form, this vitamin is very stable and not sensitive to atmospheric oxidation or deterioration. However, is a soluble form, it is destroyed soon.

Heat applied in cooking destroys this vitamin. The loss is significant when vegetables are cooked in excessive water is thrown away afterwards. The addition of sodium carbonate (cooking soda) in some vegetables further increases the destruction of this vitamin. Thiamine is well retained in cereals, since they are generally cooked slowly and at moderate temperatures; the cooking water is also retained. Baked products lose about 15% of their original thiamine. Generally the losses in cooking meat are greater than in cooking other foods, ranging from 20% to 50% of the raw value. Other destroyers of thiamine are caffeine, alcohol, food-processing methods, and sulphur drugs.

Thiamine is absorbed from the small intestine. The capacity of the human intestine to absorb this vitamin is limited to about 5 mg per day. Thiamine undergoes a change in the intestinal mucosa. Approximately 25mg to 30mg are stored in this changed form in he body. Large amounts of thiamine are present in the skeletal muscles, heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. This vitamin cannot, however, be stored to any large extent in the human body. So an adequate daily intake is necessary. Any excess supply of thiamine is excreted in the urine.

Vitamin B1 Benefits - Functions in the body:
Thiamine promotes growth, protects the heart muscle, and stimulates brain action. It plays an important role in the normal functioning of the entire nervous system. It aids digestion, especially of carbohydrates. It has a mild diuretic effect: that is, it increases urine formation. This vitamin improves peristalsis and helps to prevent constipation. It also helps to maintain the normal red blood count, improves circulation, and promotes a healthy skin. It protects against the damaging effect of lead poisoning, and prevents fluid retention in connection with heart ailments. It also reduces fatigue, increases stamina, and prevents premature ageing and senility by increasing mental alertness. Like other vitamins of the B complex group, it is more potent when combined with other B vitamins rather than when used separately.

How do you know if you need more vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1 Deficiency Symptoms:
A lack of sufficient thiamine in the diet can cause loss of appetite, poor digestion, chronic constipation, loss of weight, mental depression, nervous exhaustion, and insomnia. It can lead to muscular weakness, leg cramps, slow heartbeat, irritability, defective hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and consequent digestive disorders. In case of insufficient supply of thiamine in the body, the heart muscles become lazy and fatigued, and the auricles or the upper chambers of the heart lose their strength and gradually enlarge. This may lead to a condition known as hypertrophy of the heart. Prolonged gross deficiency can cause beriberi, neuritis, and edema. Lack of vitamin B1, can slow down circulation to the scalp to the extent that hair may fall and new hair may grow very slowly. Deficiency of thiamine can be induced by excessive use of alcohol, dietary sugar, and processed and refined foods.

How much vitamin B1 do you need?

It is impossible for anyone to tell you how much of any particular vitamin you need. We have read many articles and reports on this subject and no two are alike. There are too many variables involved. Your age, your height and weight, your health and lifestyle, etc. The best way for you to decide which supplements you need is to read these pages and make note of any health problems you may be having which could be associated with a vitamin deficiency. Then start taking a small dose. If your symptoms don't go away after a week or two, increase your dosage. Continue this until your symptoms are relieved and stay with that dosage.

Guideline is for a 150 pound adult:

  • Men: 100 mg. Best if taken as part of a B Complex.
  • Women: 100 mg. Best if taken as part of a B Complex.

Always consult your doctor or midwife during pregnancy and lactation.

Always start small and work your way up, if needed. Please be careful when dealing with fat soluble vitamins as your body retains these for extended periods of time. It is possible to take to much of these types of vitamins.

How to get enough vitamin B1?

Wholegrain cereals, especially wheat, rice, and oats, are generally considered to be the best sources of thiamine. Thiamine is usually found in the germ and outer layers. However, when these grains are highly refined, for example, as white flour and polished rice, the amount of thiamine is considerably reduced. Legumes such as soy beans and Bengal gram are good sources of thiamine. Other good sources of this vitamin are vegetables such as dry lotus stems, capsicum, turnip greens, and best greens; fruits such as apricots and pineapples; nuts such as groundnuts, pistachio nuts, and mustard seeds; and animal foods like pork, sheep liver, and mutton.

If you eat an abundant quantity of the above foods, you will not have to worry about supplementing your diet with extra Vitamin B1. If you don't eat much of the above foods, you might consider adding a supplement.

We get all our personal use vitamins and supplements from Puritan's Pride. We highly recommend you do the same, for all your vitamin and supplement needs. Their products are always fresh and of the highest quality. Their prices can't be beat, not even by Wal-Mart. Shipping is very fast and inexpensive.


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