Thiamin (B1)

Thiamin is one of the B vitamins, a group of water-soluble vitamins that are part of many of the chemical reactions in the body. Function Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps the body’s cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system. Food Sources Thiamin is found in: Dried milk Egg Enriched bread and flour Lean meats Legumes Nuts and seeds Organ meats Peas Whole grains Dairy products, fruits, and vegetables are not very high in thiamin, but when eaten in large amounts, they become a significant source. Side Effects A lack or deficiency of thiamin can cause weakness, fatigue, psychosis, and nerve damage. Thiamin deficiency in the United States is most often seen in people who abuse alcohol (alcoholism). A lot of alcohol makes it hard for the body to absorb thiamin from foods. Unless those with alcoholism receive higher-than-normal amounts of thiamin to make up for the difference, the body will not get enough of the substance. This can lead to a disease called beriberi. In severe thiamin deficiency, brain damage can occur. One type is called Korsakoff syndrome. The other is Wernicke’s disease. Either or both of these conditions can occur in the same person. There is no known poisoning linked to thiamin.

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