Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

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General Description:

  • thiamin is a water-soluble vitamin that has several different roles in the body
  • however, the fat-soluble forms, called allithiamins, are superior to the water soluble forms


Actions:helps your body release energy from food – specifically carbohydrates.

  • required for the oxidative decarboxylation of alpha-keto acids and for the transketolase activity in the pentose phosphate pathway (ie carbohydrate burning)
  • keeps appetite, digestive tract, and the nervous system healthy
  • anti-beriberi, anti-neuritic, and anti-aging vitamin
  • essential for proper protein metabolism
  • promotes growth
  • protects the heart muscle
  • stimulates brain action
  • improves peristalsis and helps prevent constipation
  • helps maintain normal RBC count
  • protects against the damaging effects of lead poisoning
  • prevents edema, or fluid retention, in connection with heart condition
  • improves circulation
  • prevents fatigue and increases stamina


  • the body can only absorb and retain so much thiamin at a time and thus it must be consumed everyday
  • except those afflicted with alcoholism, genetic disease, or metabolic disorders thiamin intake is usually adequate.
  • symptoms of thiamin deficiency: tired and lacking energy, irritability, depression, anger, loss of appetite and weight, headaches, indigestion (defective HCl production), diabetes, neuritis, edema, and constipation.
  • hallmark of deficiency is nerve damage of the legs.
  • final stage of thiamin deficiency is beri-beri which is very painful and can lead to death if left untreated.
  • there are two types of beri-beri – ”dry” and ”wet”
  • in ”wet” the body retains too much fluid and there is abnormal heart functioning
  • in ”dry” there are nerve and muscle problems
  • heart and digestive malfunctioning can usually be reversed, however, nerve malfunctioning may be more difficult to correct.
  • antacids can inactivate thiamin
  • diuretics or ”water pills” are known to increase thiamin excretion
  • barbiturates can decrease absorption of thiamin

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • high doses of thiamin may enhance drugs known as neuromuscular blocking agents.


  • whole grains are the best source
  • brewer’s yeast, wheat germ and bran, rice polishings, all seeds and nuts, beans especially soybeans, milk and milk products, beets, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables

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