Winter 2004 - Patient Newsletter

Nutrient Notes

B1 (Thiamin)

Main Functions
Thiamin is necessary for nervous system function, keeping the heart beating and fending off stress.  It improves learning capacity and mental alertness.  It also aids in digestion, helping to release energy from carbohydrates by creating glucose.  Thiamin comes in three forms, and it is alternately known as vitamin B1, thiamin hydrochloride and thiamin mononitrate.  Thiamin is integral to many of the activities of enzymes in the human body.  It is necessary for the manufacture and utilization of carbohydrates in the system.  Thiamin is essential to proper heart and other muscle function.  It is also essential for a healthy nervous system.

Natural Food Sources
Asparagus, brewer's yeast, brown rice, enriched breads and cereals, kidney, legumes, liver, nuts, oatmeal, oranges, oyster, pork, potato, raisins, seeds, soybeans, tahini, whole grains.  Thiamin is destroyed in cooking, and intake may be low if the diet is high in refined foods.  Do not add soda if you are boiling green vegetables since soda is alkaline and will destroy thiamin.

Deficiency Symptoms
Thiamin deficiency disease is known as beriberi.  It is rare, but can occur with excessive alcohol and tea drinking, both of which inhibit thiamin absorption.  Symptoms include mental illness, fatigue, depression, headaches, loss of appetite and numbness in arms and legs.  In gastric bypass patients, thiamin deficiency most often occurs with protracted vomiting and poor intake.

Toxicity Symptoms
Large doses may cause a reaction similar to anaphylactic shock.  Several hundred milligrams may cause drowsiness.


If you have specific questions regarding your intake of vitamin B1, it is recommended that you discuss this information with your physician or other trained health care practitioner to determine what’s best for your personal health.

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