Thiamine or vitamin B1 as it is commonly known, is a nutrient essential for the body’s functions. It helps us process carbohydrates and generate energy for bodily functions.
Good Sources Of Thiamine In Food
Not getting enough thiamine will leave you vulnerable to a host of health problems and damage your heart, brain or nervous system. Fortunately, thiamine deficiency is rare, unless it is caused by an underlying condition like anorexia or Crohn’s disease.
Read on to know more about this necessary nutrient.
What Is Thiamine (Vitamin B1)?
Thiamine is a water-soluble nutrient that helps our body metabolize glucose. We derive energy from the food we eat and thiamine helps us convert the food into energy we can use.
It is present in many food items and there are plenty of supplements available to help you fulfill the body’s daily requirement of vitamin B1. It is absolutely necessary for survival and has many proven health benefits too.
Benefits Of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
There is no getting around the fact that thiamine is essential for our body to function well on a day-to-day basis. It is also beneficial to our body in other ways as it protects the brain and heart.
It is also linked to improving overall immunity and preventing cataracts in the eyes. Here is a detailed list of the many health benefits of thiamine:
Essential For Metabolism
Thiamine aids the body in creating adenosine triphosphates or ATPs. ATPs are what transport energy within the body.
The energy we use for daily activities comes from the carbs we eat. They are converted into glucose within the body which keeps our metabolism running efficiently.
Vitamin B1 facilitates this process and aids the body in breaking down protein and fat. It has a direct connection with how our body uses the food we eat.
Getting enough thiamine is essential for our body to function well and stay young and healthy.
This is true for all kinds of B complex vitamins. They strengthen the body’s immune response and increase the capability to overcome stressful conditions.
Animal studies show that thiamine deficiency impacts the natural immune response negatively. More research is needed to understand its relationship with immunity in humans.
Protects The Brain
Cognitive function heavily depends on nerve health. Our nerves are protected by a myelin sheath, which is a layer of fats and proteins around the nerves.
Thiamine helps in developing and strengthening the myelin sheath, which protects the nerves from damage. Vitamin B1 is important for the nerves inside the brain as well as the connected nerves throughout the nervous system.
Thiamine also proved promising in treating patients suffering from ataxia, a disease that results in the loss of movement.
May Improve Heart Function
Thiamine is essential for heart function. People who don’t get enough thiamine on a regular basis are at risk of heart failure.
People who previously suffered from heart failure responded positively to thiamine supplements. This suggests that it can be used to improve the condition of people suffering from heart diseases, but more research is needed to find conclusive evidence.
May Reduce Risk of Cataracts
Most seniors eventually suffer from cataracts and require surgery to be able to see clearly. Studies have found that vitamin B1 can lower the risk of developing cataracts.
When combined with a protein rich diet and vitamin A and B complex vitamins adds greater protection to the eyes and protects them from damage and disease.
Good Sources Of Thiamine In Food
Thiamine is found abundantly in many food items and people with different kinds of diets will find it easy to increase their thiamine intake as there are so many options to choose from.
- Nuts and
- Yeast are all good sources of vitamin B1.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables like
- Kale and
- Cauliflowers that are rich in thiamine.
- Both white and brown rice contain B1.
You can get about half of your daily B1 requirements from food.
This is because vitamin B1 is water soluble and thus gets lost when it is cooked or processed. Thiamine fortified foods are better if you are looking to further increase your B1 intake.
Vitamin B1 is essential for survival, so make sure you consume enough of these foods or get supplements if you are not able to get enough thiamine through your diet. Thiamine deficiency has long-term complications, so you should avoid it however possible.
Daily Recommended Dose Of Thiamine
The recommended daily intake for thiamine in the United States is 1.2 mg in males and 1.1 mg in females. Women experiencing pregnancy or lactation can up their intake to 1.4 mg.
Side Effects Of Thiamine
There are no reported side effects of thiamine. Even if you consume too much of it, it will be excreted through urine.
However, you should take care while taking vitamin B1 supplements. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements and follow the dosage instructions strictly. Supplements can cause side effects like stomach upset or other allergy symptoms.
Supplements can make up for part of your body’s requirement, but they cannot be the only source of B1. They cannot be substituted for food.
If you are looking to increase your thiamine intake, you should reduce coffee and tea consumption as they contain tannins which can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B1.
Good Sources Of Thiamine In Food: Parting Thoughts
Vitamin B1 or thiamine is necessary for human beings. We cannot survive without it. Fortunately, it is a very common nutrient and can be found in plenty of food sources.
Both meat eaters and vegetarians or vegans will find it easy to increase their intake of vitamin B1 by modifying their diet.
The only thing to keep in mind is that heating and processing get rid of the thiamine in the food, so look for raw sources of thiamine.
Supplements can help but you need to be careful of the dosage and they might cause side effects too. Make sure to consult a medical professional before consuming any supplements.