Vitamin B1, otherwise called thiamin, is a water-soluble vitamin, as are all the vitamins of the B complex family. Vitamin B1 has many important roles in the body.
Vitamin B1 is a constituent of coenzymes necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates and certain amino acids, like most of the B vitamins. This vitamin has an important participation in energy, carbohydrate and alcohol metabolism.
Thiamine would also promote nerve transmission, brain system, muscle contraction, and heart function. Studies have shown that the body needs vitamin B1 in order to function properly, including for growth, development and cell function. Most people get enough thiamin from food however, certain medical conditions and dietary practices can decrease the body’s usage of it and can lead to deficiency. It must be noted that alcohol, coffee and raw fish consumption decreases or cancels the absorption of vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause many physical and mental side effects. In extreme cases but it is rare, it can cause a disease called beriberi. Beriberi is manifested by muscle atrophy, edema, neuromuscular coordination disorders, heart problems and mental confusion Less extreme vitamin B1 deficiency can also lead to weight loss, fatigue, irritability, poor memory, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances and abdominal discomfort.
In sports, a deficiency of vitamin B1 can lead to a decrease in glucose metabolism thus indirectly to a decrease in athletic performance. This is a crucial process for athletes as they need energy to fuel and recover from workouts.
There are numerous ways to increase our vitamin B1 levels naturally. High concentrations of vitamin B1 can be found in products of plant origin such as rice bran, wheat germ, seeds (e.g. hemp seeds, flaxseed), nuts (e.g. macadamia, pine nuts, legumes (e.g. navy beans, black beans, soybeans), fortified foods (e.g. bread, cereals, pasta and rice) but also in animal products such as meat (especially pork and ham products), fish (e.g. trout, salmon) and organ meat (e.g. liver).
In conclusion, our B1 levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your B1 levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind.