Thiamin, also called thiamine or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is not made in the body and must be present in the diet on a daily basis. Thiamin is needed for many body functions, including growth and development, carbohydrate metabolism, and neurological function. As a result, deficiency of this vitamin can cause serious health problems.
When we ingest thiamin, it is absorbed by our small intestine through passive diffusion at pharmacological doses and active transport at nutritional doses.[r332] Moreover, our bodies primarily store thiamin in the liver, but in minimal amounts.[r332]
Helps Protect Against Heart Disease
Thiamin is essential for normal cardiac function. A deficiency may lead to congestive cardiac failure called wet beriberi. To maintain normal cardiac function, the required daily intake of thiamin must be met.[r226] Sometimes, people suffering from heart diseases are often prescribed diuretics. Diuretics can increase the excretion of this water-soluble vitamin along with the removal of excess water. Hence, people with this condition should consider consuming more thiamin to boost bodily functions and reduce the risk of developing diseases due to thiamin deficiency.
Vitamin B1 or thiamin is known to improve the immune functions of the body. It is called an anti-stress vitamin because it enhances immune function and is known to equip the body better against stressful conditions.[r220]
Supports The Nervous System
An essential function of thiamin is to help construct the protective sheath that envelopes nerves and protects them from degeneration and various kinds of stresses. A severe deficiency of vitamin B1 results in the loss of the myelin sheath, which causes Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome. It is a disease that results in the degeneration of nerves and loss of nervous function – or even death, in the worst case.
It has also been proven through various studies that a decreased activity of vitamin B1 was found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Hence, a proper amount of vitamin B1 may help prevent Alzheimer's by protecting brain function.[r225]
May Lower The Risk of Cataract
It has been proven that an adequate intake of the B vitamins and vitamin C reduces the risk of development of cataracts.[r227] Thiamin, when consumed with other B vitamins, helps protect the lens of the eyes and reduces the risk of cataract development.
Helps Fuel The Body
Once absorbed by the gut, thiamin is converted to thiamin pyrophosphate.[r224] This works in the highly complex process of the production of ATP, from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates like glucose serve as a source of energy because they are oxidized in cells which in turn provide fuel for the body.
Daily Intake For Thiamin
Healthy Foods High In Thiamin
- All food nutrient profiles are based on a weight of 100 grams.
- * RDI values are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day (Female, Age 19-30).
- All foods are vegetarian.