Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is a sulfur-containing vitamin that helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need. Thiamin is important for the growth, development, and function of the cells in your body.
All living organisms use thiamine, but it is synthesized only in bacteria, fungi, and plants. Animals must obtain it from their diet, and thus, for humans, it is an essential nutrient.
Vitami B1 deficiency
In mammals, deficiency results in Korsakoff’s syndrome, optic neuropathy, and a disease called beriberi that affects the peripheral nervous system (polyneuritis) and/or the cardiovascular system. In less severe cases, nonspecific signs include malaise, weight loss, irritability and confusion.
You can develop thiamin deficiency if you don’t get enough thiamin in the foods you eat or if your body eliminates too much or absorbs too little thiamin.
Thiamin deficiency can cause loss of weight and appetite, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness, and heart problems. Severe thiamin deficiency leads to a disease called beriberi with the added symptoms of tingling and numbness in the feet and hands, loss of muscle, and poor reflexes. Thiamine deficiency has a potentially fatal outcome if it remains untreated.
Thiamin is found in a wide variety of foods at low concentrations.
Yeast, yeast extract, and pork are the most highly concentrated sources of thiamine. In general, cereal grains are the most important dietary sources of thiamine, and whole grains contain more thiamine than refined grains, as thiamine is found mostly in the outer layers of the grain and in the germ (which are removed during the refining process).
Other important source of thiamin is pork meat. Some other foods naturally rich in thiamine are oatmeal, flax, and sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes and eggs.
Can thiamine be harmful?
Thiamin has not been shown to cause any harm.