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Introduction

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, is an essential micronutrient that is found in many food sources including yeast, beans, nuts, grains, meat and cereals. People usually take Vitamin B in a supplement along with other B vitamins (B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12) or on its own to combat thiamine deficiency. It is also taken to help in the treatment of AIDS, poor immune systems, diabetic pain, heart disease and problems related to poor appetite. It also has mental benefits such as helping to prevent depression and forgetfulness as well as easing stress-related symptoms.

The Bottom Line – Vitamin B1 is an essential micronutrient that is often consumed along with other B vitamins within a complex supplement. It has numerous preventative and treatment health benefits.

Vitamin B1 Health Benefits

Vitamin B1 is vital in the role of brain function and can help maintain good mental health as well as being active in the treatment of conditions such as glaucoma, diarrhea and kidney disease.

Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:

Vitamin B1 Can Help With Treating Fatigue-Related Ulcerative Colitis

Vitamin B1 cannot cure ulcerative colitis but it is a key element in treating the condition to ease symptoms. Patients with ulcerative colitis related to fatigue who participated in a research study were given extra doses of vitamin B1, with the dosage depending on their body weight. Researchers found that ten out of twelve participants showed complete regression of the fatigue symptoms that caused ulcerative colitis, and also found that fatigue is related to a vitamin B1 deficiency. [1]

Vitamin B1 Can Help Improve Mental Health

Adequate vitamin B1 intake is essential for optimum mental health. A B-vitamin complex is often recommended to people suffering from minor depression or anxiety, and vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to serious mental health problems including forms of psychosis. A deficiency can also cause memory impairment, confusion and lack of coordination as the brain ceases to function well. [2]

Vitamin B1 Can Help With Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

It is common that people with a high alcohol intake, especially those with addiction, have a vitamin B1 deficiency due to nutrient-sparse alcohol making up the majority of their calorie intake. Vitamin B1 helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy and protects brain and nerve cells, so when going through a stressful process such as alcohol withdrawal it is important to balance nutrient intake. An oral supplement of vitamin B1 can prevent the onset of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome which is a serious form of alcohol-induced irreversible dementia caused by thiamine deficiency. [3]

Vitamin B1 Can Help With Reducing Cervical Cancer Risk

Studies have found that women with low levels of vitamin B1, B2, B12 and folic acid may be at increased risk of developing premalignant changes in the cervix. Increasing the intake of these micronutrients reduces this risk, so taking vitamin B1 supplements is important for women who may be prone to deficiencies (including those with appetite or eating disorders and those with alcoholism). One theory based on further study is that oral contraceptives may deplete the body of nutrients and add to the risk of cervical dysplasia and cancer. [4]

The Bottom Line – Vitamin B1 plays a vital role in mental health and the prevention of disorders such as alcohol-induced dementia, as well as being key in maintaining the health of the cervix.

How To Use Vitamin B1

The methods of using vitamin B1 vary from food to capsules.

The most common methods of consuming vitamin B1 are:

  • In food sources (especially yeast, grains and beans)
  • As a tablet or capsule (to treat various mental conditions or as a preventative health supplement) 

The optimal dosage amount for vitamin B1 is not yet agreed upon by health professionals. The recommended daily allowance for adult men is 1.2mg and 1.1mg for women; up to 500 mg/day has been used in the treatment of people with alcoholism.

Are There Any Foods That Contain Vitamin B1?

There are several food sources that contain vitamin B1. These include legumes, dried milk, oats, grains, yeast, beans, nuts and seeds. Foods that are often fortified with vitamin B1 include rice, pasta, bread, cereals and flour.

Vitamin B1 Side Effects List

There are always risks to taking any kind of drug or supplement even if they have been used safely by others so talk to your doctor before changing your diet to include more or less vitamin B1 than you are used to. Vitamin B1 is water soluble, meaning that usually any excess will be flushed from your body in urine, but caution is always recommended.

The side effects of taking vitamin B1 supplements could potentially be:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling warm and sweating
  • A mild rash or itching (in the case of vitamin B1 injections)
  • Feeling restless

Note: Contact your doctor before stopping or starting a supplement to discuss whether it is appropriate for your individual situation.

Is Vitamin B1 Safe?

Consumed at the daily recommended doses, vitamin B1 has been found to be safe. However when used at higher doses there are some risks. Some of the risks include a feeling of nausea and discomfort in temperature as well as sweating.

When Should I Not Take Vitamin B1?

People who should not take vitamin B1 supplements include the following demographics:

  • People who are allergic to cobalt, cobalamin and its derivatives
  • People with low amounts of potassium in their blood
  • People with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Atrophy
  • People with Atrophic Gastritis

Conclusion

Vitamin B1 is an essential micronutrient that is important for maintaining mental and physical health as well as treating various medical conditions. Sensible consumption within recommended dosage limits is considered safe for most people; contact your doctor if you have concerns about the effects of Vitamin B1 or its inclusion in your diet.

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.