Vitamin B1 also known as Thiamine / Thiamin is essential for metabolism of Carbohydrates, also plays a part in the function of our Nervous system and proper cardiac support.It was first named Aneurin.
When we look at the group which needs B1 in larger doses,the first one that catches our attention are the ones whose diet is comprised Carbohydrates especially refined sugars.Thiamine is usually found on the outer layer and the germ portion of the grains and in the refining process these two are removed and hence this vitamin is lost.
The next group are the ones who are recovering from illness,people in stressful situation,increased physical activity.
Foods rich in Vitamin B1
This Vitamin in found in low concentrations in a wide range of foodstuffs.
These days many food stuffs are enriched with Vitamin B1.
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Navy beans and kidney beans
- Wheat germ
- Brown rice
- Whole grain Rye
- Romaine Lettuce
- Brussel sprouts
- Brewer's yeast
- Liver from beef,chicken,pork
Deficiency-Symptoms and Causes:
The heart and nervous system are the first to 'feel' the deficiency of Thiamine in the body .When the nervous system is affected symptoms like
Beri-Beri and Wernicke-Koraskoff syndrome are two well known syndromes associated with Thiamine Deficiency.
- Feeling of 'pins and needles'
- It also affects the digestive system causing stomach upsets,lack of appetite and constipation.
- Muscle wasting
- Death can be seen
Beri-Beri is a disorder of Newrvous and Cardiovascular system.It literally means 'weakness' and it can be classified into 3 categories...
A] Wet beri-beri - Symptoms like
- Muscle wasting,
- Edema[abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin],
- Cardiomegaly[Enlarged heart],
- Tachycardia[accelerated heart rate],
- Heart failure are seen in addition to peripheral neuropathy.
B] Dry Beri-Beri - Here peripheral neuropathy is seen where there is impairment of sensory,motor and reflux functions and calf muscle tenderness.
C] Infantile Beri-Beri is seen in infants that are breast-fed by mothers with a thiamine deficiency.The infants show Cardiac,aphonic or pseudomeningitic disorders.The infants cry with a piercing voice.Tachycaria and persistent vomiting is seen.Convulsions occur.Death may occur if the deficiency is not treated.
The next deficiency is the Wernicke's enchephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and Korsakoff's psychosis.These syndromes are also seen in alcoholics
Thiamine like the other B Vitamins is soluble in water and is destroyed on cooking.To preserve the Vitamin it is essential to
- Cook the food in minimal water
- Cover the vessel in which the food is being cooked
- Use the excess water used in cooking in other dishes like soups,gravies etc.
Long term refrigeration of foods also leads to the disintegration of B1.
Storing the food stuffs away from direct sunlight minimizes the loss of the nutrient
Thiamine also depends on its 'brother' vitamins for effective absorption and utilization.Hence the other B vitamins must also be adequate in the diet.
Some drugs like certain diuretic,birth control pills/ oral contraceptives , antibiotics and sulfa drugs also hinder absorption.
Also there are some antagonists that affect the absorption of Thiamine from the diet like
- Sulfites that are present as preservatives in food stuffs
- Caffeic acid
- Chlorogenic acid
- Tannic acid
When a diet is high in the following foods also leads to Thiamine deficiency.
- Raw fresh water fish,raw shell fish,ferns which are all 'Thiaminase rich foods',
- betel nuts
Moreover when a person is affected by chronic diseases,gastrointestinal diorders,HIV,AIDS,persistent vomiting combined with malnutrition the nutritional status is affected.
Alcoholism also impairs absorption of Thiamine.
Vitamin B supplementation is required in following conditions
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Crohn's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Korsakoff's psychosis
- Wernicke's encephalopathy
This article is NOT a medical advise.DO NOT take supplements without consulting your Physician.
Eat healthy ,Live happy...
Labels: Nutrients demystified