Holistic Health – Nutrients A to Z: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is also referred to as thiamine.  It is found in many foods including yeast, grains, beans, nuts, and meat. Vitamin B1 is often used in combination with other B vitamins and is required by our bodies to properly use carbohydrates. 

Vitamin B complexes generally include vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobolamine), and folic acid. Various products contain all the B vitamins, and some may include biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.

Thiamine is used for digestive problems including poor appetite, ulcerative colitis, and ongoing diarrhea.  It is also used for boosting the immune system, diabetic pain, heart disease, alcoholism, aging, a type of brain damage called cerebellar syndrome, canker sores, vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, motion sickness, and improving athletic performance.

People may be prescribed thiamine for conditions related to low levels of thiamine (thiamine deficiency syndromes), including beriberi and inflammation of the nerves (neuritis) associated with pellagra or pregnancy.

Some people use thiamine for maintaining a positive mental attitude, enhancing learning abilities, increasing energy, fighting stress, and preventing memory loss including Alzheimer’s disease.

Other uses of thiamine include boosting the immune system for AIDS patients and for preventing cervical cancer and progression of kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

Healthcare providers give thiamine shots to help decrease the risk and symptoms of a specific brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). This brain disorder is related to low levels of thiamine (thiamine deficiency) and is often seen in alcoholics. Between 30% and 80% of alcoholics are believed to have thiamine deficiency. Giving thiamine shots seems to help decrease the risk of developing WKS and decrease symptoms of WKS during alcohol withdrawal.

Symptoms of a B1 deficiency include:

  • Heart palpitations or gallop rhythm
  • Slow heartbeat or rapid heartbeat
  • Vague chest pains, shortness of breath
  • Enlarged heart
  • Diastolic blood pressure over 90
  • Forgetfulness, poor memory, short attention span
  • Muscular tenderness, weakness or wasting
  • Irritability
  • Feel depressed
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight
  • Numbness, prickling or tingling in hands or feet
  • Loss of ankle or knee jerk reflexes
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Stiffness or swelling in ankles, feet or legs
  • Cramping pains in legs, especially after exercising
  • Tenderness in calf muscle under pressure
  • Constipation
  • Vulnerability to insect bites, exp. mosquitoes or fleas

The recommended supplementary range for Vitamin B1 is 50 – 100 mg daily, but you should consult a professional to see what the correct dose would be for your specific condition.

Thiamine can be taken by mouth in appropriate amounts or given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider. Thiamine shots are an FDA-approved prescription product.

I hope that this information was helpful and remember a healthier you is a more productive you.

by Janice Buckler

Janice Buckler, BSc, RHN is the owner of Natural Legends Nutritional Consulting and a Registered Holistic Nutritional Consultant™ professional using BioScan MSA (meridian stress assessment) Technology which can help detect many illnesses and so natural remedies can be set up that works for “you”.

To learn more about Holistic Heath and BioScan MSA Technology for to my website at natural-legends.com or follow me on Twitter @JaniceBuckler