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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Found in:

Green peas, spinach, liver, beef, pork, beans (navy, pinto, soy, blackeye, lima, kidney) nuts, wheat germ, bran flakes, flour (enriched all-purpose, whole wheat), bread (wheat, rye, shredded), milk (whole, skim), cheddar cheese, dry yeast, and chicken egg.

What is known to be good for:

It helps the body to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy. It is essential for normal growth and development and helps maintain the proper functioning of the heart and the nervous and digestive systems.

Other functions of Vitamin B1:

Involved in nerve impulse transmission. The thiamine requirement is thus roughly proportional to the caloric content of the diet and is increased as the amount of carbohydrate metabolized increases.

Lack of Vitamin B1 can:

Symptoms may include poor appetite, irritability, fatigue, and weight loss. As the deficiency becomes more advanced, weakness, nerve damage that may affect the hands and feet, headache, and a rapid heart rate may also develop. It is very rare in the North America because almost all grain products are fortified with this vitamin. The deficiency occurs more on people that abuse alcohol. Several disorders of the central nervous system seen in chronic alcoholics may be attributed to lack of thiamine. The disorders include (a) polyneuropathy (factors other than thiamine deficiency may also be involved), (b) Wernicke's disease (signs are opthalmoplegia, nystagmus and ataxia), (c) Korsakoff's psychosis (signs are memory defect and confabulation) and (d) amblyopsia (dim vision).

Excess of Vitamin B1 can:

Is nontoxic as excessive amounts are readily excreted.

Do you know where you find Vitamin B1 in your body?

It cannot be stored in the body, but it can be found in muscle tissue.

Storage and manipulation of suppliers of Vitamin K:

Loss of thiamine during cooking occurs through extraction of the water-soluble vitamin by the cooking water and through oxidation, especially in an alkaline pH. Such potential losses are held down to some extent by the nature of many vitamin B1 containing foods, which are consumed without excessive cooking (enriched bread, breakfast cereals).

Absorption, Storage and Excretion

The main site of thiamine absorption is the jejunum. Vitamin B1 is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body; however, once absorbed, the vitamin is concentrated in the muscles tissue. Being readily soluble in water, thiamine and its metabolites are excreted in the urine.


Nutrition for Life, The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and reaching your healthy weight, LisaHark, PhD, RD and Darwin Deen, MD

HEINZ HANDBOOK Of Nutrition, 9th EDITION, Edited by David L. Yeung, Ph.D. and Idamarie Laquatra, Ph.D., R.D.

Adapted by Editorial Department, March 2007
Last update, August 2008


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