Vitamin B1 / Thiamine

Vitamin B1 / Thiamine
0 21 April 2013

Thiamine is a B-vitamin that is extremely important for the functioning of the Central Nervous system. The CNS is responsible for integrative and interpretive function of the body. It is essentially comprised of the brain and the spinal cord. These two structures are responsible for receiving all the inputs from your senses, interpreting them, and then acting on them. Without a properly functioning CNS, your body cannot send the right signals to the rest of the body for proper functiioning.

When people have insufficient levels of thiamine, they can experience fatigue, memory loss, depression, headache, confusion and muscle weakness. In severe forms of thiamine deficiency, such as in the starvation disease Beri Beri, people can experience anorexia, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, enlarged heart, and nerve pain.

In medical school, we always thought of thiamine deficiency as something that happened to starving kids in Africa or in alcoholics. But it turns out that diets that are high in bad fat and sugar can lead to a low level of thiamine. In addition, sulfites (a common food additive) destroys thiamine. So does moist heat, especially when combined with alkalis such as baking soda. Makes you think differently about that muffin at Starbucks, doesn’t it? Even that Power Bagel at Einstein’s isn’t safe. Because thiamine is vital for energy production, you need more where there are increased energy demands. And because the brain needs it to make acetycholine, a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to memory issues. Think about that next time you’re burning the midnight oil and you’re having trouble remembering things.

Worse yet, there are some common foods that antagonize thiamine, such as blueberries, red beet root, brussel sprouts and tea. And of course alcohol.

So where can you get B1 from? Some of the top sources are Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pork, pine nuts, soybeans, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, and split peas. Since I don’t think all the above foods are right for everyone, and also because there is no toxicity with high doses, I recommend a multivitamin that contains thiamine. The body needs 50mg – 200mg  per day. Up to 8 grams have been used in dementia.

Read about the rest of the B-Vitamins

Posted in Blog, Vitamins by admin

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