Vitaminfood Vitamin B1 source

Thiamin 101 - all benefits of Vitamin B1

Thiamin is part of the B vitamins; a group of several hydrophilic and water-soluble micronutrients. Thiamin is also referred to as Vitamin B1 and it works with other Vitamins to help run the body and metabolize smoothly. It is sulfur containing and required by the body for a healthy nervous system and metabolic function especially in the brain.

Vitamin B1 is not endogenously manufactured; it is not produced in the body. All of it must be obtained from the diet. This is where Vitaminfood complete nutrition meal shakes come in. we offer the complete nutritional package, Vitamin B1 included. This all-inclusive package will help you obtain enough of every nutrient, both the macro and the micro.

The body also does not store thiamin in quantities above 30mg. Its half-life (time taken to naturally reduce to half its amount) is also very short, just 9-18 days. These two factors coupled together make it very necessary to have a regular and very frequent intake to replenish thiamin levels. Vitaminfood meal replacement powders and shakes serve this purpose very well with a subscription plan.

Aside from fortified Vitaminfood products, thiamin is also readily available in unrefined whole grains, brown rice, beans, peas, nuts, peanuts and vegetables. Other non-vegan sources include most organ meats like liver which acts as a reserve and lean pork.

Thiamin is an integral part of our diet especially for its glucose metabolism in the brain. There are many more reasons to have Vitamin B1 in the diet.

  1.     Enzyme cofactor for various processes.

Thiamin is used in the synthesis of branched-chain amino acids and glucose metabolism to turn starch and sugar into energy. It is also useful in synthesis of several other compounds like TPP from magnesium which serves as a coenzyme in complex physiological reactions.

Thiamin is preferred in specific reactions because of the high thiamin turnover rates.

In the brain, it is useful in mitochondrial localization enzymes making this organ very vulnerable to a deficiency of any kind. It is even more important to maintain healthy amounts during rapid growth periods like perinatal and children growth spurts.

It is also a cofactor in the process of myelin sheath formation. The myelin sheath is a covering for neurons thereby ensuring that they remain well protected from damage.

  1.     Necessary for efficient nervous functioning as it regulates the flow of electrons in and out of muscles and nerve cells. This enables communication between different body parts to occur effectively and for proper motor coordination. Muscle functioning depends heavily on the effectiveness of these transmissions.
  2.     Reduce menstrual cramps- a study conducted in high school teenagers showed a reduced amount of menstrual pain in those who were taking thiamin supplements compared to those on a placebo. This showed that thiamin supplementation could help reduce severe cramps.
  3.     Boosts immunity – thiamin is an anti-stress agent. Stress might cause inflammation and suppress the effect of certain hormones leading to reduced immunity. Vitamin B1 however can help reduce and reverse these effects thus boosting the immunity.
  4.     Promotes healthy digestion – Vitamin B1 plays an active role in the regulation of Hydrochloric acid production in the stomach. HCl is necessary for digestion in killing pathogens and providing ultimate Ph for protein breakdown. Thiamin helps regulate its production as excess amounts could cause ulcers.
  5.     Healthy development of bones, teeth, skin and nails.

These are some of the greatest areas of thiamin importance. It is also used in treatment of diseases which is covered after the deficiencies.

The recommended daily allowance for the various age groups is as listed below. No serious consequences of overdosing have been observed in the majority of the population but it is however important to stay within the limits.


Life Stage


Males (mg/day)

Females (mg/day)


0-6 months




7-12 months








9-13 years




14-18 years




19 years and older




all ages




all ages




Thiamin deficiency

In the human body, thiamine-rich tissues are skeletal muscles, heart, liver, kidney, and brain. A deficiency also falls heavily on these organs. The reserves are very little and a deficiency could happen in as little as two weeks hence a need to be even more cautious. Causes of a deficiency could be:

  • Inadequate intake because of the choice of meal composition or also because of the nature of cooking. Thiamin is easily lost when foods are cooked or processed. Some methods like cooking and drain and rinsing pasta deprive the food of such water-soluble vitamins. Thiamin could also vaporize in an open pot. The intake could also occur because of gut disorders like Crohn’s disease.
  • Excessive loss through urine because of urinary incontinence and kidney disorders could also cause a faster rate of excretion than that of replenishment causing a deficiency. Diuretics also suffer excessive loss of nutrients.
  • Antithiamin factors which inhibit its absorption, storage and utilization within the body causing the effects of a deficiency to manifest themselves. Some plants contain these antithiamin factors and thiaminases which break down thiamin in food. These include betel nuts, tea and coffee, even when decaffeinated.
  • Increased requirement because of doing more tedious work which demands higher energy supply. Conditions resulting in an increased requirement for thiamin include strenuous physical exertion, fever, pregnancy, breast-feeding, and adolescent growth. Such conditions place individuals with marginal thiamin intake at risk for developing symptomatic thiamin deficiency


Vitamin B1 deficiency contributes to a number of conditions ranging from mild psychiatric symptoms and neurological disorders to severe ones like encephalopathy and congestive heart failure.  Common symptoms of a deficiency include:

  •         Anorexia
  •         Muscle pain
  •         Irritability
  •         Reduced consciousness
  •         Ataxia
  •         Agitation
  •         Reduced tendon reflex
  •         Encephalopathy
  •         Muscle atrophy

A condition called lactic acidosis (accumulation of lactate in body muscles) can also occur causing lethargy and mitochondrial dysfunction in the heart and smooth muscles of the stomach and internal linings. The neurological symptoms are as a result of brain energy deficit and impaired synthesis of neurotransmitters.

Thiamin deficiency causes the deficiency disease called Beriberi. Beriberi is divided into three parts:

  1. Dry beriberi- this attacks the nervous systems as a set of neuromuscular complications like weakness and peripheral neuropathy (damage nerves in parts other than the brain). It begins with muscle strength loss and eventual paralysis if left untreated.
  2. Wet beriberi – this attacks the cardiac system causing cardiovascular complications such as congestive heart failure due to impaired heart muscles.
  3.     Cerebral beriberi – this affects the central nervous system; the brain and spinal cord. One major effect is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a type of brain disorder caused by a lack of thiamine. Typically, symptoms of Wernicke's disease are first to appear. Symptoms include confusion, loss of muscle coordination, and changes in vision such as nystagmus (rapid, uncontrolled eye movements). The syndrome often develops later, with symptoms including memory loss, difficulty forming new memories, hallucinations, and making up stories (called confabulation).


Disease treatment

Thiamin is effective in treating some diseases and reversing conditions especially those resulting from a deficiency. If diagnosed early and before the effects progress to later stages, thiamin can restore the former health status.

Alzheimer’s disease

The aged have a lower absorption rate and are vulnerable to thiamin deficiency from poor dietary intake. Thiamin has also shown an impact on certain forms of dementia and could help reduce the rate of cognitive decline in aged people. It also boosts the thiamin-dependent brain functions at this age.

Maintaining healthy amounts will also help in preventing plaque formation, loss of neurons, loss of memory and other mental decline factors that lead to development of Alzheirmer’s disease.

Congestive heart failure

A deficiency causes an energy deficit in heart muscles which leads to injury. It is this injury that can lead to congestive heart failure. If it is however discovered early, thiamin supplementation is used to prevent further damage as the muscles recover naturally or by further treatment.

Certain metabolic diseases and genetic diseases can also be treated by supplementation such as maple-syrup urine disease in children. Besides treatment, thiamin is useful in preventing cataracts, diabetes mellitus and other vascular complications.

Vitaminfood has all the thiamine you need

High calorie malnutrition is the greatest risk to your thiamine levels. This is a high calorie diet mostly consisting of refined carbs. This is a great deterrent to meeting your recommended daily intake levels. The increased calorie intake raises the thiamin bodily requirements making the situation even worse.

Vitaminfood is a complete package that reduces the strife of getting thiamin or even supplementing. Our products have a fine balance between adequate caloric intake and balanced nutritional diet. With Vitaminfood meal replacement shakes you can truly keep off degenerative neural disorders and congestive heart failure. Keep tabs on your B1          levels easily with Vitaminfood.