Vitamins are essential for your body’s growth and development, plus they also play a crucial role in biological functions like metabolism, immunity, digestion and so on. However, there are so many vitamins it becomes tough for us to get the daily recommended amount of vitamins through diet alone.
One of the most important vitamins is Vitamin B1. Trust me, you don’t want Vitamin B1 deficiency to ruin your life.
Vitamin B1 deficiency can affect muscle contraction and nerve conduction. It can also hamper your body’s ability to convert carbohydrates into energy. Let us try to understand why vitamin B1 is so important for your health.
Reasons for low levels of vitamin B1 in people
Thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency could be because of a variety of reasons.
- Undernourishment or malnutrition - Vitamin B1 is highly water soluble and it must be constantly replenished through a wholesome diet. An average human being has 30 mg of vitamin B1 in
- Chemical deterioration - The human body strives to maintain an ideal Ph balance (acid-base or acid-alkaline balance). When this balance is disrupted and/or body temperature is elevated, it leads to the breakdown of thiamine and ultimately results in vitamin B1 deficiency. Another reason for chemical deterioration is sulfites (chemical agents used as preservatives) in meat products, processed foods, etc. his body that depletes in roughly fifteen to twenty-one days. People whose diet is heavy on carbohydrates and deficient in protein suffer from vitamin B1 deficiency.
- Consumption of alcohol - Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol places undue stress on your metabolism and causes nutrient deficiencies. Not just vitamin B1, alcohol affects the absorption of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B15 B12 and folic acid.
Prolonged diarrhea - Prolonged diarrhea impairs the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B1. Severe liver disorders also have the same effect on the body’s ability to absorb thiamine.
Autoimmune diseases - Vitamin B1 is absorbed deep inside the small intestine, but the process of digestion starts in the stomach itself. Autoimmune disorders destroy the unique cells that assist in the absorption of vitamin B1. A simple visit to the doctor can reveal the cause and he will prescribe B1 vitamin supplements to solve the problem.
Small intestinal bacterial growth - Small intestinal bacterial growth is a condition wherein excessive bacteria are present in the small intestine. These bacteria use vitamin B1, B12 etc. for their own purposes, which disturb your digestive system and hinders its ability to absorb vitamins.
Inflammation - Inflammation in the far end of your intestine can contribute to vitamin B1 deficiency. There could be several reasons for it, like Crohn’s disease, pain-relieving medications etc. Pain in the lower abdomen and diarrhea are some signs of inflammation.
Tapeworms and complicated surgeries - Tapeworms and many complicated surgeries can play havoc with your digestive system leading to vitamin B deficiencies (of all kinds). People who undergo weight loss surgeries or have a part of their small intestine removed are vulnerable to vitamin deficiency issues. They should consume supplements regularly to prevent vitamin B deficiencies.
These are only some reasons for Vitamin B1 deficiency in adults and others. Other causes of Vitamin B1 deficiency include - anorexia, old age, nausea, vomiting and HIV/Aids.
Symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency
Lack of Vitamin B1 in your diet can lead to a host of health problems. Let us talk about the symptoms below.
- Chronic digestive disorders
- Nerve damage
- Loss of appetite
- Burning sensation in the feet
- Muscular weakness and cramping
- Memory loss
- Blurry vision
- Erratic heartbeats
- Dyspnea (short of breath)
Reasons Vitamin B1 is important for people
Essential for a healthy metabolism - Our bodies require vitamin B1 to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) cells that absorb chemical energy from the breakdown of food molecules and supply it to the rest of the body. Thiamine or vitamin B1 enables the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose and also the production of red blood cells. Doctors often prescribe Vitamin B1 supplements to patients suffering from genetic diseases to help them deal with metabolic disorders.
Averts nerve damage - It’s not just our muscles that need nutrients. Vital organs like the heart and brain need nutrients to function properly. Without a wholesome diet, the body won’t get the required energy plus it will adversely affect memory, motor movements and the ability to perform new tasks. Vitamin B1 assists in the development of myelin sheaths. These are vital for the protection against nerve damage.
Healthy heart - Vitamin B1 or thiamine is essential for the production of acetylcholine, which conveys messages between the muscles and the nerves. The heart depends heavily on these signals. Furthermore, vitamin B1 enables the heart to function properly, maintain regular heart beats, fight heart ailments and ensure brain/muscle coordination.
Immunity booster - Most of the immune system lies around the digestive tract area. Vitamin B1 makes sure that the muscle tone around the digestive tract is maintained properly. A healthy digestive system is essential to break down food molecules and supply nutrients to the rest of the body. It keeps you healthy and disease free, plus thiamine assists in the production of HCL (hydrochloric acid) which is responsibleor digestion of food.
Prevents brain disorders - Vitamin B1 helps the body function as an entire unit by syncing the brain and the body. It prevents a certain brain damage known as cerebellar syndrome. Doctors often administer high doses of thiamine to patients, including those who are battling alcoholism.
Boosts learning - Vitamin B1 is great for mental health. It boosts learning, sharpens focus, combats stress and is said to prevent memory loss. Several studies have proved that lack of vitamin B levels in patients causes the brain to work sluggishly with slow reaction times.
Stress reliever - Vitamin B1 also helps in fighting stress, helps people stay happy and protect against depression and anxiety. Studies have proved that thiamine can help inflammation and promote healthy functioning of the brain.
Shields against vision problems - Lack of vitamin B1 can lead to blurry eyesight. When your body gets enough vitamin B1, it can prevent eye ailments like glaucoma and cataract.
There is a lot about thiamine that we have to learn. Plenty of research is underway to know about this miraculous vitamin. Researchers say that vitamin B1 has a host of other benefits. It is being hailed as a new treatment for neuropathy, obesity, aging, motion sickness and Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies advocate the use of vitamin B1 to relieve neuropathic pain.
Foods to include in your diet to maintain normal vitamin B levels
- Cooked lentils
- Cooked black beans
- Macadamia nuts
- Pork loin
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried milk
Uses and dosages for Vitamin B1 supplements
The recommended dosage for thiamine or vitamin B1 is 1.2 mg a day for men and 1.1 mg a day for women. Experts recommend that we get our daily dosage of vitamin B1 from a balanced diet.
We might have heard about the side effects of overdosing on vitamins. However, with vitamin B1, there is no such risk because it is water soluble. Nevertheless, there are no benefits of consuming vitamin B1 in excess quantities. It won’t be helpful to the body.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a doctor before consuming any supplements.
Vitamin B1 deficiency is more common in third world countries. However, consumption of junk food has risen in developed countries too. Along with the ones mentioned above, there are various other facts that can cause thiamine deficiency like alcoholism, liver disorders, complicated surgeries, unhealthy lifestyle, etc.
The problem is that most people don’t pay attention to it, plus the symptoms are hard to spot. However, routine monthly checkups can prevent all of this. If you think you are suffering from loss of appetite, sleep and lack of energy, consult your doctor. He will prescribe vitamin B complex supplements