Vitamin B1 - Thiamin

What is vitamin B1?

Thiamin is a water soluble vitamin that has many essential roles within the body. It is the first of the water soluble vitamins to be described leading all the way back to 2700BCE where Chinese medicine literature identifies a thiamin deficient disease known as beriberi. 

Thiamin is found in four common forms. Free base Thiamin, Thiamin monophosphate, Thiamin pyrophosphate and Thiamin triphosphate.

Why is it important?

Thiamin plays an essential role in normal cellular functions, growth and development. It is critical to metabolic sections relating to energy metabolism. 

Thiamin is a coenzyme for five enzyme reactions involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It also plays a role in reducing cellular oxidative stress while intracellular deficiency leads to cell apoptosis (programmed cell death). Because of this, deficiency can be linked to neurological and cardiovascular disorders while optimisation can help in treatment of diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy.

Studies suggest that thiamin plays a role in electrical conductivity in nerve cells and may also play a role in regulating the function of chloride channels in the nerve cells. 

Where in the diet can I get it?

Foods that are high in thiamin include grains such as oat, brown rice, rye. It can be found in sunflower seeds, linseed. Vegetables like kale, cauliflower, asparagus and potato. Fruits like oranges and from animal sources like liver or eggs.

How much do I need?

It is estimated that the average adult has roughly 30mg of Thiamin present, this with a half life of 10 - 20 days. Recommended Daily Intake for men, according to is 1.2mg and women 1.1mg with no established upper limit to food sources. During pregnancy and lactation, women should increase to at least 1.4mg daily. Cases have been recorded of issues with intramuscular administration of B1 however this is not the norm.



Encyclopaedia of Dietary Supplements