Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is one the B vitamins family, which is responsible for converting food (carbohydrates) into energy (glucose) for our body to use. It is important for healthy skin, eyes and hair. It also affects the way in which our nervous system functions and is considered to be an “anti-stress” vitamin.
Sources of Vitamin B1
Many natural food sources contain thiamine.
- Brown rice
- Brussels sprouts
- Eggs (in the yolks)
- Leafy, green vegetables
- Poultry (general)
- Quorn (myco-protein)
- Rice bran
- Wheat germ
- Whole grains – bread, pasta
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamine for a woman is 1mg per day, whilst for a man it is 1.5mg. People who are deficient in thiamine may experience fatigue, irritability, depression and abdominal discomfort.
Deficiency in vitamin B1 can lead to a disease called Beriberi. This is when a substance called pyruvic acid builds up in the bloodstream, causing a loss of mental alertness, difficulty breathing, and heart damage1. Another disorder caused by vitamin B1 deficiency is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which affects the brain, characterized by memory impairment and nerve damage.
However, thiamine and other B vitamins can be easily destroyed by cooking. A tip for preserving this vitamin in cooking is to use as little water as possible for cooking vegetables and reserve the liquid for use in soups, sauces and gravy.
Persons under Risk of Thiamine B1 Vitamin Deficiency
Although deficiency is more common in third world countries, there are instances where additional thiamine is necessary. People whose diets contain a high proportion of refined carbohydrates may require additional sources of vitamin B1. You may also require more vitamin B1 during periods of illness, physical activity and stress.
Read more about the B Vitamin family