Question

Vitamins

What is vitamin B1's (thiamine) function in the body?

A Answers (7)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Thiamine (vitamin B1) helps change carbohydrates into fuel for your body, especially your brain. Your body also uses thiamine to make the chemical that all your cells use for energy, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Thiamine, along with the other B vitamins, helps the nervous system and brain work well, and helps keep skin, hair, eyes and liver healthy. It might also strengthen the immune system.
  • ACollin Lee, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    Thiamine helps your cells use carbohydrates for fuel. Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine helps cells convert carbohydrates such as sugar and other starches into energy that the cells use for energy.  Thiamine promotes the proper functioning and normal growth of the nervous system, muscles and heart.
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  • AMichael T. Murray, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Thiamine, or vitamin B1, was the first B vitamin discovered. Thiamine functions as part of the enzyme thiamine pyrophosphate, or TPP, which is essential for energy production, carbohydrate metabolism, and nerve cell function.

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  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered
    In addition to being important for energy production, vitamin B1 is essential for proper brain functioning--it’s especially helpful for those sugar addicts who experience “brain fog.” Research shows that supplementation with vitamin B1 can even decrease the risk of developing complications of diabetes. For example, researchers at the University of Warwick who published their findings online in the journal Diabetologia in 2008 discovered high doses of thiamine can reverse the onset of early diabetic kidney disease. It also makes you more clearheaded, composed, and energetic. Recommended daily dose: 75 mg.
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  • Also known as vitamin B1, thiamin supports metabolism and regulates the flow of electrolytes in and out of muscle and nerve cells. We need increased thiamin during strenuous exertion, fever, pregnancy, breast-feeding and adolescent growth.

    While most Americans get more than enough thiamin, a deficiency of it sometimes occurs in third world countries, among alcoholics and gastric bypass patients. Severe thiamin deficiency causes the disease beriberi, a condition that eventually leads to nerve damage.

    Thiamin may help support emotional health and mental acuity. In a Welsh study researchers reported increased cognitive function among 127 young adults who took in 10 times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). And, in a study at the University of California, Davis, 80 elderly women who ingested seven times the RDA of thiamin experienced improved sleep patterns, increased energy levels and feelings of general well-being.
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  • Metabolic disorders (subacute necrotizing encephalopathy, maple syrup urine disease, pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, hyperalaninemia)

    Taking thiamine by mouth helps to temporarily correct some complications of metabolic disorders associated with genetic diseases, including subacute necrotizing encephalopathy (SNE, Leigh's disease), maple syrup urine disease (branched-chain aminoacidopathy) and lactic acidosis associated with pyruvate carboxylase deficiency and hyperalaninemia. Long-term management should be under strict medical supervision.

    Thiamin deficiency (beriberi, Wernicke's encephalopathy, Korsakoff's psychosis, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome)

    Humans are dependent on dietary intake to fulfill their thiamine requirements. Because there is very little thiamine stored in the body, depletion can occur quickly, within 14 days. Severe chronic thiamine deficiency can result in potentially serious complications involving the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart and gastrointestinal system. Patients with thiamine deficiency or related conditions should receive supplemental thiamine under medical supervision.

    Alcoholism

    Patients with chronic alcoholism or those experiencing alcohol withdrawal are at risk of thiamine deficiency and its associated complications and should be administered thiamine.

    Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)

    It has been suggested that thiamine should be added to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) formulations for patients who are unable to receive thiamine through other sources (such as an oral multivitamin) for more than seven days. The use of thiamine in parenteral nutrition has been mentioned in several reviews.

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  • AElizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered

    Thiamin, vitamin B1, works in the form of a co-enzyme (enzyme helper) in reactions that produce energy in our bodies. It helps break down glucose (a simple sugar) for energy in 2 steps of metabolism; helps make DNA and RNA and produce energy-rich molecules that power protein synthesis. It is also present in the membranes of nerve cells to aid with neurotransmitter synthesis. This is why once someone develops a deficiency (called Beriberi); it is characterized by peripheral neuropathy (tingling in the extremities). 

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What is thiamine (vitamin B1)?