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Vitamin B1 Or Thiamine - What Role Does This Play In The Body?

Dec 12, 2007
Vitamin B1 is also commonly referred to as Thiamine. Being a water soluble vitamin it is an important part of the family of B-Complex vitamins. It plays a pivotal role in the conversion of blood sugars into glucose and also helps the body in breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Optimal functioning of the nervous system, cardiovascular system and muscular functioning all depend on sufficient amounts of Vitamin B1. The heart also depends on this Vitamin to circulate blood throughout the body and ensure that oxygen is supplied to the blood cells in the body. Even the production of Adenosine Triphosphate(ATP) molecules would not be possible without this essential vitamin.

Individuals suffering from congestive heart failure can be benefited by Vitamin B1 because of its role in helping the heart pump blood. It is also used to ease the numbness and tingling feeling associated with nerve damage. This vitamin has been known to boost mood, energy levels and alertness because of the way in which it helps in the conversion of energy and circulation of blood throughout the body.

Most water soluble vitamins including B1 need to be constantly replenished because the body eliminates what it does not require via the urine. Inadequate amounts can lead to a Vitamin deficiency. However it is rare for people to suffer from a deficiency of B1 because it is found in so many foods.

Some well known sources of Vitamin B1 include whole grain cereals, pork products,wheat germ,navy beans, kidney and garbanzo beans, peas, peanuts, fish, whole wheat and rye flour, oranges and raisins. The foods rich in B1 are beef liver and kidneys and brewer's yeast.

According to experts, the daily requirements for both men and women should be around 1. 5 mg of Vitamin B1. However since this is a water soluble and non-toxic vitamin there is no real fear of consuming too much as the body will eliminate the excess through the urine.

Although Vitamin B1 deficiencies are rare nowadays, they still do exist. As people grow older naturally the levels of B1 will start to decline. Those who consume excess alcohol are likely to suffer from a B1 deficiency because alcohol reduces the body's ability to absorb this vitamin. Even infants who are given formula that lacks this vitamin can be affected.

Deficiency of Vitamin B1 can cause a condition known as Beriberi. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, nerve trouble and the muscles of the body start to waste away gradually. Insufficient amounts of this vitamin can also cause headaches, nausea, depression, reduced appetite, tingling nerves and fatigue because it plays an important role in transmitting nerve signals between the spinal cord and the brain.
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