Thiamin, Vitamin B1 Benefits and Side Effects!
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, was first isolated as a coenzyme that plays an important role in energy metabolism. Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B1 helps to support the nervous system in addition to its role in releasing energy from nutrients in food.
Vitamin B1 is also thought to help regulate appetite. Vitamin B1 deficiency is seen among people who are malnourished as well as people who abuse alcohol. In addition, people on kidney dialysis, those with chronic fatigue syndrome, and those who undergo a great deal of physical stress can be deficient in B1.
The disease of vitamin B1 deficiency, known as beriberi, causes extreme weakness and affects both the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Other symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency include tingling or burning in extremities, shortness of breath and mental confusion.
Vitamin B1 is present in almost all foods in moderate amounts. Whole grains and enriched cereals are the best sources of the nutrient. The daily requirement of vitamin B1 for general health is .5 mg per 1000 calories of food consumed or a minimum of 1 mg/day.
Optimal intake of vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg/day for women and 1.5 mg per day for men. As part of the B complex of vitamins, vitamin B1 is considered an “anti-stress” nutrient, and it may also help the immune system function better in stressful situations.
As a dietary supplement, large doses of vitamin B1 have been used to treat several disorders. Along with other nutrients, vitamin B1 is thought to prevent the development of cataracts. Also, people with Alzheimer’s disease have reportedly benefited from supplements of 100 mg per day of a vitamin B1 derivative, though no placebo-controlled studies exist to support this claim.
It is known, however, that vitamin B1 deficiency can result in a form of dementia that may be related to Alzheimer’s disease. Also, since vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to cardiovascular disease, including congestive heart failure, intravenous vitamin B1 therapy has been used to improve certain measures of heart function with apparent success.
In one study, people with congestive heart failure who were given 200 mg of vitamin B1 intravenously for one week showed improvements on their echocardiograms, suggesting that vitamin B1 might be useful for people with heart disease.
As a nutritional supplement, vitamin B1 can be found as part of a B-complex or multivitamin or as a single vitamin supplement. Doses of up to 200 mg per day have reportedly been taken without any toxic effects, though the amount found in multivitamin supplements is usually much lower (around 20-25 mg).
Since vitamin B1 works in concert with other members of the B complex, a multivitamin supplement that contains all of the B vitamins is usually recommended, unless a specific B1 deficiency is being treated. Because vitamin B1 is water-soluble, the body excretes excess amounts of the nutrient, so there is little danger of overdose.
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