What is Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a water soluble vitamin, which means that the body does not store them. It was first named aneurin, for a deficiency of this vitamin caused some serious neurological effects. It is named B1 because it was the first B vitamin discovered. Thiamine is found in animals, as well as plants and it plays a vital role in some metabolic reactions. Vitamin B1 is essential for the health of the brain, nerves and cardiovascular system. Vitamin B1 is needed by the body to process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B1 is also required to form ATP.
Vitamin B1 benefits
Vitamin B1 is necessary for our body for many purposes; it performs a number of functions inside the body. The following are its benefits:
- It maintains our energy supply
- It is important for treating beriberi, which is a disease caused by not getting enough thiamine in your diet.
- Thiamine may also decrease the risk of developing cataracts.
- Thiamine can also improve muscle coordination, and can treat Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is a brain disorder caused by thiamine deficiency.
- It is also used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
- It changes carbohydrates to energy.
- Required for the functioning of heart, muscles and nervous systems.
- Vitamin B1 is required by the nerve cells in order to function normally.
- Thiamine can cure metabolic imbalances caused by alcohol consumption.
- Protects brain damages caused by HIV and anorexia.
Food products rich in Vitamin B1 (thiamine) are as follows:
- Organ meats
- Enriched cereals
- Brewer’s yeast
- Blackstrap molasses
Thiamine deficiency is caused by many factors, including crash dieting, alcohol abuse, liver dysfunction and kidney dialysis. People who consume a lot of sweets, soft drinks, and highly processed foods may also be at risk. This deficiency is very common amongst alcoholics, as alcohol consumption decreases the amount of Vitamin B1 absorbed by the body. Similarly, tea, coffee and the chewing of betelnuts or tea leaves reduce thiamine levels, as do some medications and cigarette smoke. Thiamine deficiency is observed in people who have low thiamin intake and a diet rich in polished rice.
This deficiency of thiamine in the diet can cause loss of appetite, poor digestion, and chronic constipation, loss of weight, mental depression, nervous exhaustion, and insomnia. It can lead to muscular weakness, leg cramps, slow heartbeat, and irritability, defective hydrochloric acid production in the stomach and consequent digestive disorders. In case of insufficient supply of thiamine in the body, the heart muscles become lazy and tired and the process becomes slow. This may lead to a condition known as hypertrophy of the heart. Prolonged gross deficiency can cause beriberi, neuritis, and oedema. Lack of vitamin B1 can also cause hair fall and new hair may grow very slowly. Deficiency of thiamine can be caused by excessive use of alcohol, dietary sugar, and processed and refined foods.