B-complex vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that participate in various chemical reactions in the body. Vitamin B1 is part of this group, which is also known as thiamine.
Among the benefits of vitamin B1 and its functions in the body, it is responsible for helping cells transform carbohydrates into energy. It is noteworthy that the main function of carbohydrates is precisely the supply of energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system.
Vitamin B1, which is also classified as a coenzyme, participates in muscle contraction and the conduction of nerve signals and is used to maintain proper function of nerves and heart.
The nutrient is used in virtually every cell in the body and is considered especially important to support the body’s energy levels and metabolism health.
Alongside the other B-complex vitamins, vitamin B1 works on regulating important functions of the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system and the digestive system.
Nutritional yeast and foods such as seaweed, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, black beans, lentils, organic soybeans, white beans, fresh ed peas, sprouted beans, mung beans (china beans), liver steak, asparagus and Brussels sprouts stand out as sources of nutrient in the diet.
The lack of vitamin B1
Thiamine deficiency or lack of vitamin B1 is not very common to be found in Western and developed countries. However, this does not mean that it does not exist.
For example, it can be developed when a person fails to provide the amount of vitamin B1 that their body needs.
The following list, based on data from the Office of Dietary Supplements of The National Institutes of Health of the United States, presents the recommended daily amount of the nutrient for different groups of people:
Boys and girls from birth to six months of age: 0.2 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Boys and girls from seven to 12 months of age: 0.3 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Boys and girls from one to three years of age: 0.5 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Boys and girls from four to eight years of age: 0.6 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Boys and girls from 9 to 13 years of age: 0.9 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Male adolescents from 14 to 19 years of age: 1.2 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Female adolescents from 14 to 19 years of age: 1 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Female adolescents aged 14 to 19 years who are pregnant or nursing: 1.4 mg vitamin B1 per day;
Men from 19 to 50 years of age: 1.2 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Women from 19 to 50 years of age: 1.1 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Women 19 to 50 years of age who are pregnant or nursing: 1.4 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Men from 51 years of age: 1.2 mg of vitamin B1 per day;
Women from 51 years of age: 1.1 mg of vitamin B1 per day.
There is also a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is also known as the lack of vitamin B1 in alcoholics.
Most alcoholic drinks with the disease report not consuming many foods, while drinking too much alcohol, which is a factor that contributes greatly to the lack of vitamin B1.
It is believed that the nutrient may not be absorbed properly by people who drink too many alcoholic beverages and by those suffering from liver problems.
In addition, the tannins present in coffee and teas can react with vitamin B1, causing it to gain a form that is difficult to be properly absorbed by the body, causing the risk of developing digestive problems and thiamine deficiency.
However, most researchers believe this should not be a cause for concern unless the diet is low in vitamin B1 and vitamin C. Vitamin C appears to prevent interaction between thiamine and tannins in coffee and teas.
Research has also pointed out that freshwater raw fish and shellfish may contain chemicals that destroy vitamin B1. This has been observed in people who consume a lot of raw fish, however, cooked fish and seafood do not cause the same problem.
There are also studies that have indicated that so-called areca nuts can chemically modify vitamin B1, making it not work as it should.
Lack of vitamin B1 can cause weakness, chronic fatigue, cardiac complications, psychosis, nerve damage and a disorder known as beriberi, in which muscle wear and severe cardiovascular problems such as dilated heart (cardiomegaly) occur.
Symptoms of lack of vitamin B1
The list of symptoms of lack of vitamin B1 includes:
- Rapid weight loss;
- Colitis (inflammatory reaction in the colon);
- Continuous digestive problems such as diarrhea;
- Nerve damage;
- Inflammation of the nerves (neuritis);
- Decrease in short-term memory;
- Muscle weakness;
- Mental changes such as apathy or depression;
- Cardiovascular problems.
What to do if I think I suffer from the lack of vitamin B1
If you have experienced or have experienced some of the symptoms mentioned above, it is critical to check whether you suffer from vitamin deficiency or not. And there is no other way: to make sure that is the case, you need to consult with the doctor, who will examine you, hear the symptoms you present and make the diagnosis.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will indicate the appropriate treatment, specifying whether the problem can be reversed only with increased intake of foods with vitamin B1 or if there is a need to use supplements.
But it is not just for these reasons that it is necessary to go to the doctor – the consultation is also important so that the origin of the lack of vitamin B1 is investigated, discovered and treated and to verify that the deficiency of the nutrient has not caused some other type of problem. health.
As with all nutrients, it’s best to try to provide them with food rather than supplements whenever possible.
Do not start taking a vitamin B1 supplement without consulting your doctor and getting your doctor’s permission. If you think you have a nutrient deficiency, before the day of your appointment, what you can try is to eat more foods that serves as a source of thiamine in your meals.
It is essential to start using the supplement only after talking to the doctor so that the professional can check if the product is really suitable for you, if it cannot harm you or if it cannot interact with any medication, supplement or medicinal plant that you use.
In addition, the dosage of a supplement must be defined by the physician according to the characteristics and needs of each patient. This is necessary in order not to end up with excessive doses of thiamine in the body or use a dose that is ineffective to treat the lack of vitamin B1.
According to doctor of molecular biology Matthew Busse, vitamin B1 overdose is rare, but excessive intake of thiamine can cause stomach upset.
According to Busse, ingesting too much of just one B-complex vitamin, such as thiamine, can cause an imbalance in the levels of B-complex vitamins, which in severe cases can lead to a deficiency of other B-complex vitamins.
“In rare cases, vitamin B1 supplements can trigger an allergic reaction. The most common symptom is skin irritation, resulting in dryness, itchy skin or rash,” added the doctor of molecular biology.
According to Busse, a more severe reaction with nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing and swelling of the hands, face, mouth or throat can also occur, although this is rare.
“If you or someone you know experiences severe swelling of the face and has difficulty breathing, contact the emergency medical service immediately,” advised the doctor of molecular biology.
In view of any side effects resulting from the use of a vitamin B1 supplement, we recommend that you seek medical help to check the seriousness of the problem and verify that it does not require treatment.
This article is for information only and can never replace a physician’s diagnosis and advice. To diagnose and treat vitamin B1 deficiency, you need to see your doctor.