What are the health benefits of thiamine (vitamin B1)? What are thiamine natural sources? Could thiamine deficiency cause health symptoms and complications?
In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of thiamin (vitamin B1). We will also discuss its sources and deficiency symptoms.
Thiamine is a member of the B group of vitamins, so let’s get to know it next.
What is thiamine?
Thiamin, or vitamin B1, is a type of water-soluble vitamin.
The body eliminates thiamine more quickly than the other fat-soluble vitamins. Therefore, the body stores only small amounts of it in the liver, and for a relatively short time, up to 18 days. So, you must obtain thiamine from its natural sources regularly.
Thiamine plays a crucial role in the metabolism processes in the body. It helps the body to convert carbohydrates into energy and use this energy in various ways. The body also needs thiamine to maintain the health of the liver, eyes, and nails. (1, 2, 3)
You should note that the body’s need for thiamine may increase. And the recommended daily intake increases in some cases, such as exercise, having some diseases, pregnancy, and feeling stressed.
Benefits of thiamine and its functions in the body
Vitamin B1, or thiamine plays a crucial role in the body. Here is a list of vitamin B1 health benefits and functions:
1. Improves brain and nerve health
Getting an adequate dose of the vitamin thiamine in moderation helps maintain a healthy nervous system and reduce the chances of developing certain neurological diseases. Here are the most potential thiamine health benefits in this regard:
It enhances memory and concentration levels.
2. Supports metabolism
Thiamine plays a crucial role in supporting and improving metabolism in the body, as:
Thiamine is involved in the processes of digesting and breaking down fats and proteins in food.
3. Protect the heart and arteries
Vitamin thiamine helps produce an essential type of neurotransmitter called (Acetylcholine). This neurotransmitter works to ensure the regularity of muscular-nervous coordination in the circulatory system. Thus maintain regular work of the heart muscles. (12, 13, 14)
Getting an adequate intake of thiamine may also help support overall circulatory system health due to thiamine’s potential ability to:
Stimulate the formation of healthy red blood cells.
Reduce the chances of developing some diseases of the circulatory system, such as an enlarged heart.
Some studies have shown that taking extra doses of thiamine under medical supervision helps relieve heart failure symptoms.
4. Other benefits
The health benefits of the thiamine are not limited to what we mentioned above, but vitamin B1 may have many other health benefits, such as it can:
Reduce the chances of developing cataracts. (17)
Reduce the severity of the menstrual cycle pain.
Strengthen the muscles, and reduce the time the muscles need to recover after exercising.
Open the appetite.
Natural sources of thiamine
These are some of the most important natural sources of thiamine: (18)
Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, soybeans, white beans, mung beans, and peas.
Vegetables, such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Fruits, such as oranges and melon.
Whole grain food products, such as pasta, rice, and bread.
Symptoms of thiamine deficiency
A deficiency of thiamine in the body causes a disease called Beriberi disease. Here is a list of the most important symptoms that may appear on a person with a thiamine deficiency or afflicted with Beriberi Disease: (19)
Damage or inflammation of the nerves.
Exhaustion and fatigue.
Low energy levels.
Digestive disorders such as diarrhea.
Rapid weight loss.
Muscle weakness and muscle cramps, especially in the area of the feet.
Circulatory problems and disorders, such as an enlarged heart.
Neurological and psychological disorders, such as depression, memory impairment, baffled, and confusion.
Feeling of burning in the feet, especially at night.