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How does thiamine (vitamin B1) help athletes recover after exercise?

Thiamin is needed to process lactic acid buildup after exercise. In a small Dutch study, athletes deprived of thiamin, among other B vitamins, experienced diminished exercise performance in a matter of weeks compared with those with normal levels of thiamin. They also experienced faster blood lactate buildup, meaning that their muscles could no longer deal with the lactic acid being produced. In another study, from Japan, researchers found that athletes supplemented with 100 times the thiamin RDA had fewer fatigue complaints immediately after exercise.
Research shows that exercise may increase the body's need for thiamine (vitamin B1) and other B vitamins. This is possibly because B vitamins are involved in energy production and tissue repair and might be necessary for the normal recovery of the body after exercise.

Studies have suggested that people in physically demanding jobs or who train hard in sports may need additional thiamine, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin B6. However, the additional amount needed is small and easily gotten through foods. In one study, Dutch researchers found that when thiamine intake was restricted in healthy men, athletic performance diminished over an 11-week period.

It's possible that exercise might increase your need for thiamine and other B vitamins by accelerating the metabolism of these nutrients or decreasing the absorption of them by your body. More study is needed to know for sure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.