ThiamineThiamine has been discovered before all the other B vitamins and is therefore called vitamin B. Its importance is often neglected, but it is a key member of that group. Even a slight thiamine deficiency has certain consequences on health. This vitamin can be obtained as a separate dietary supplement, but it is better to take it as part of the vitamin B complex because these vitamins often work together.

How does it work?

Thiamine is essential for the conversion of carbohydrates from food to energy. It’s important for nerve health, and it can also help prevent heart disease.

MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: thiamine can improve heart function in people who have problems with that vital organs. Its level is often lowered in people who take medicines for urination (prescribed to patients with heart disease to extract excess fluid from the body) for quite some time. In one study, patients with heart disease took furosemide along with either 200 mg of thiamine or placebo. After six weeks, the reduction of basic disease was achieved in 22% of cases of people in the first group.

Thiamine works well on the nerves, so it can help with weakened sensation and tremors in the hands and feet, common problems in diabetics and other people with damaged nerves.

ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: together with choline and pantothenic acid (which also belongs to vitamin B group), thiamine can improve digestion and ease the symptoms when it is poor. Some scientists believe that thiamine deficiency is associated with mental illnesses (including depression) and that large doses of this vitamin can help.

Thiamin may improve the memory of people with Alzheimer’s disease, but the results are not unambiguous. What is reliably known is the fact that taking large doses of this substance several weeks before the planned surgery can prevent confusing conditions that, especially in the elderly, occur after the operation. Doctors are using thiamine in the treatment of psychosis that occurs during alcohol suppression. Since antiepileptic drugs interfere with thiamine absorption, larger amounts of vitamin A are needed during their intake. In addition, vitamin B1 can reduce the feeling of confusion which is a side effect of antiepileptic drugs.

How much thiamine is required?

The recommended daily dose of 1 mg for men and 0.8 mg for women is sufficient for maintaining the health and preventing thiamine deficiency in the body. Larger doses are recommended for therapeutic use.

IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: a slight thiamine deficiency is difficult to recognize, and the symptoms of such state are nervousness, depression, muscle weakness and body mass reduction. A severe deficiency of this vitamin causes beriberi disease, the effects of which may be mental disturbances, decay of muscle tissue, paralysis, nerve damage, and even death. Bebiberi disease was common once, but today it is rare. It appears in some parts of Asia where the common food is white, peeled rice, because thiamin and many other valuable nutrients are lost in the processing. In the United Kingdom thiamine is added to white flour and many wheat flakes.

IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: high doses of thiamine do not have any detrimental effect because all excess is effectively excreted with urine.

How to take it?

DOSAGE: dietary supplements with thiamine can help with some disorders.
For heart disease: take 50 mg of thiamine per day.
if you have weak sensation and numbness in limbs: it is recommended to take 50 mg of thiamine per day within the B complex.
For depression: take 50 mg per day within the B complex.
In cases of bad digestion: take 50 mg of thiamine each morning.
In alcoholism: it is recommended to take 50 mg of thiamine per day within the B complex.

USE GUIDELINES: thiamine is best absorbed in acidic media, meaning the absorption is most effective if taken along with food, and stomach acid production is greatest. It is also useful to divide the daily dose into two parts because larger amounts are more easily excreted by urine.

Other sources

The best source of thiamine is pork, but it is also in grains and in beans, nuts and seeds. Enriched cereals also contain thiamine.

IMPORTANT: if you are ill, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.