Vitamin B1 Thiamine Benefits, Uses and Side-effects

Vitamin B1 Thiamine Benefits, Uses and Side-effects

What is vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine and the WHO (World Health Organization) has listed it as one of the most important nutrients required in the diet of any individual and it is indispensable for a health system, even at basic levels. It is so important that, whenever deficiency occurs, there is the risk of death if the deficiency is left untreated for enough time.

There is no living organism that does not use vitamin B1, but the problem is that none of them, except for plants, mushrooms, and some bacteria, takes it from internal synthesis. They need to obtain it from their diet and lacking the proper amount will lead to quite a few undesirable outcomes, including affections like Korsakoff’s syndrome. Unlike other nutrients, lacking thiamine from the diet will affect the organism immediately and the side effects will quickly degenerate and get out of control.

Vitamin B1 Benefits

Vitamin B1 has a lot of applications, some factual, others potential, depending on how many of its effects have been studied and proven so far. Some of the most well-known benefits are:

  • Treats thiamine deficiency

As expected, consuming vitamin B1 regularly will prevent deficiency symptoms, but will also successfully treat them once installed. This means that thiamine can be successfully used to treat beriberi, a disease associated with the deficiency of this nutrient, and neuritis – a nervous affection causing cellular inflammation.

  • Good for digestive problems

Aside from helping in the digestive process, it also helps to rectify appetite problems, whenever they occur, fights diarrhea and softens the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

  • Useful in fighting AIDS

Although it does not work as a treatment on its own, vitamin B1 can be effective in boosting the potency of the immune system, thus allowing it to face the AIDS symptoms a lot better.

  • Good in preventing eye diseases

Eye problems are specific to elder people, but the can affect everyone, regardless of age. Thiamine is a powerful asset in preventing vision health problems, including glaucoma and cataract.

  • Assists the cognitive functioning

Although it has not been definitively proven to have this effect in everybody, vitamin B1 is used by some to increase cognitive performance, mainly by fighting memory disorders, reducing the impact of memory loss, improve learning capabilities and supporting high levels of energy, while fighting stress and mental fatigue.

  • Sometimes used in removing alcohol withdrawal symptoms

Vitamin B1 Side-effects

The deficiency is the most dangerous part of vitamin B1 consumption and there are several health affections that could impact one’s wellbeing quite hard:

  • Beriberi

A cardiovascular and neurological affection that usually appears in 4 forms: dry, wet, infantile and gastrointestinal beriberi. It is a disease that affects both the nervous system and the digestive tract and, in some cases, the treatment could last even for several months.

  • Alcoholic brain disease

It is also known as the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and it occurs during vitamin B1 deficiency. It is a neurological disorder, causing retrograding amnesia and affecting the brain’s functionality, even leading to permanent damages, in some of the more aggravated cases.

  • Optic neuropathy

It manifests through bilateral visual loss and impaired color perception and the symptoms will be removed if the affection gets treated in a timely manner.

Other symptoms related to vitamin B1 deficiency include weight loss, excessive irritability, and confusion in some cases.

Vitamin B1 Sources

Among the most important thiamine sources, we mention sunflower seeds, trout, macadamia nuts, wheat bread, green peas, asparagus, soybeans, beans and many others.

How much Vitamin B1 should you take?

The common vitamin B1 upper limit intake revolves around 1-2 mg per day for men and around 1 mg for women. In the case of breastfeeding and pregnant women, the dosage may need to be increased to 1.4-1.5 mg. Children should be given 1 mg of thiamin per day, with the dose dropping as their age drops.