Vitamin B1, or thiamine is an essential vitamin for mental, muscular, and cardiovascular health. If you eat very healthily, you should already naturally have this nutrient. However, many things can throw it off balance. If you want to know more about how to maintain a healthy B1 level, keep reading.
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- 3 The Best Vitamin B1: Our Picks
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Vitamin B1
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Vitamin B1 is a hydrosoluble molecule that forms part of the vitamin B group.
- Vitamin B1 helps promote energy synthesis through carbohydrates and also helps maintain cellular stability. If you do not have enough of this vitamin you can be prone to a dangerous disease called beriberi.
- When buying vitamin B1 supplements, you need to consider the allergens included in the product, if it is suitable for a vegan diet, what you can combine with the supplement, how much it costs, its quality, and its expiration date.
The Best Vitamin B1: Our Picks
There are a lot of supplements on the market, and we know that this might make it a bit more difficult to make the best choice. We have provided a list of our favourite B1 supplements to help you with your purchase:
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Vitamin B1
What is vitamin B1 exactly?
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency?
- Off-balanced diet: You can get thiamine from a number of different types of foods and drinks (like red meat, milk, dry fruit, and vegetables.) However, people who avoid these foods like those that suffer from anorexia and bulimia and vegetarians risk the possibility of B1 deficiency.
- Alcohol abuse: Alcohol can inhibit the absorption of Vitamin B1 in the gastrointestinal tract. The lack of thiamine can cause brain injuries that can become irreversible after long periods.
- Excessive consumption of carbohydrates: Since thiamine is extremely important for glucose metabolism if you eat too many refined carbs (like rice, pasta, and processed foods), it can cause a deficiency.
The human body can only process 20 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B1. The symptoms caused by vitamin B1 deficit will appear very early on with a series of conditions. How serious these conditions are will depend on how intense the hypovitaminosis is and how long you have had the deficit.:
- Tachycardia (accelerated heartbeat)
- Loss of energy and feeling of fatigue
- Muscular weakness
- Loss of reflexes
- Loss of appetite
- Sadness and irritability
- Vision problems
- Peripheral neuropathy (a sensitivity that is difficult to describe, similar to when your fingers and toes fall asleep)
Nervous system involvement or "dry beriberi":
The word “beriberi” is a term from Singhalese, the language of Sri Lank that means "weakness." It was first named in Sri Lanka when it affected many people who were only eating rice which is low in thiamine. The first phase of this disease, "dry beriberi," affects the nervous system causing the following symptoms:
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Changes in walking and coordination
- Wernicke's Encephalopathy (a reversible brain injury that causes motor and sensitive abnormalities which cause vomiting, abnormal eye movement, fever, and intellectual alterations)
- Korsakoff syndrome (the next stage of Wernicke's Encephalopathy where the brain injuries become irreversible causing memory disorders, delusions, and amnesia)
Cardiovascular involvement or "wet beriberi":
This most advanced phase of beriberi weakens the heart, which prevents its ability to spread oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. This condition can be lethal. The following are the symptoms:
- Generalised edema (when your kidneys retain too much salt and water)
- Arterial hypertension
- Angina (pain and pressure in the chest)
- Myocardial infarction (direct damage to the heart, potentially deadly)
- Fulminating heart failure (inability to provide nutrients and blood to the body, potentially deadly)
If diagnosed ahead of time, B1 deficiency is easily treated. The initial symptoms can be cured through a healthy diet and/or supplements. However, beriberi needs to be treated immediately by a doctor. If you belong to one of the following groups, you should carefully watch your B1 levels:
- People who consume an excess of alcohol (more than one drink a day for women, and more than two drinks a day for men)
- People who suffer from intestinal malabsorption (people who suffer from Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease, etc.)
- People who suffer from eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, etc.)
- Vegans or vegetarians who have off-balanced diets (especially diets that are rich in refined carbohydrates)
- People who are on "miracle diets" (diets that promise to make you thin and lack nutrients)
- Fast food lovers (high in refined carbohydrates and low in micro and macronutrients)
What are the benefits of taking B1 supplements?
For those that decide to take this supplement orally, we advise you to take 50 mg every day. If you suffer from intestinal malabsorption (for example, those who suffer from Crohn's disease) this will not be enough and you should talk with your doctor.
These thiamine supplements are great for those who drink alcohol often, who are on diets that are on a low-calorie diet, or who eat an excessive amount of carbohydrates. Keeping the correct level of B1 can cause the following benefits:
- Normal intellectual function
- Normal cardiovascular function
- Normal muscular function
- Normal metabolism
- Control of diabetes: A small amount of thiamine can help with type 2 diabetes. There is research with promising results that these supplements can help control this disease.
- Cardiovascular protection: There is debate over the possible cardioprotective effect of thiamine, as people with cardiac failure have less of this important vitamin in their system.
- Improves dementia symptoms: The important role of thiamine in maintaining neuronal function has led a few scientists to research its role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Helps with period pains: In some women, thiamine can help to decrease period pains.
- Prevents cataracts: A correct amount of thiamine has been related to a decrease of cataracts.
How do I take vitamin B1 supplements?
- How much should I take? A dosage of 2.5 - 5 mg per day is enough to keep your thiamine levels normal. The majority of these supplements have between 50 - 100 mg of thiamine per dosage. Since vitamin B1 is hydrosoluble, it will not hurt you to take this amount. However, always follow the directions of the product.
- When should I take the supplement? B vitamins are usually taken in the morning as some claim that this can help keep you energises throughout the day. However, you can take it at any time you want.
- Should I take the supplement with or without food? B vitamins dissolve in water. So it does not matter if you take them with or without food.
- How long should I take vitamin B1 supplements? This type of supplement is made to help with thiamine deficiency when you are not getting enough from your diet. Therefore, you should only take this supplement until you begin to adjust your eating habits. For more information, talk to your doctor.
The person who uses these tablets should be able to swallow without choking and their gastrointestinal tract should be healthy enough to allow the absorption of the vitamin. If you do not meet these standards, talk to your doctor.
What precautions should I take when taking vitamin B1 supplements?
There is only a risk when taking this supplement if you are allergic to thiamine or the excipients in the tablet. Hypersensitivity reactions to B1 vitamin mostly occur in people who are prone to other allergens. The following are the symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Excess sweating
- Itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- The sensation of throat obstruction
If you experience any of these side effects, stop taking thiamine and go straight to the emergency room. On the other hand, you should keep in mind the possible interaction between vitamin B1 and furosemide. This supplement can also affect chemotherapy.
Although thiamine is a supplement that is often used with pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children, we highly recommend seeking the advice of a professional first. This way you can rest assured that you are taking a safe supplement based on your personal needs.
If you are still reading this article you have probably decided to buy B2 supplements. Congratulations! If you want to make sure to pick the best supplements for you, keep reading. In the following section, we have put together the most important shopping criteria to help you make the best purchase.
Even if you are not allergic to thiamine, it is possible that the vitamin B1 supplements that you purchase contain other allergens like gluten, lactose, soy, nut extracts, or fish. Make sure to read the description and ingredients before making your purchase and do not buy anything that you are allergic to.
Although most thiamine supplements come in the form of capsules or tablets, there are also liquid formulas. This is a great option for people who do not wish to swallow a pill every day. Do not confuse this liquid option with the injectable form of thiamine, which should only be used by a doctor.
Combination with Other Nutrients
If you suffer from thiamine deficiency, chances are that you may need other nutrients as well. If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to consider a product that has other vitamins included in addition to vitamin B1. If you are vegan or are on a thinning diet, a multivitamin may be the best choice for you. The following is a table of the most recommended nutritional combinations:
|Group||Combination with B1|
|Vegans and vegetarians||Vitamin B12
|Recovering alcoholics||Vitamin B6
|People with off-balanced diets||Calcium
|People who suffer from fatigue||Coenzyme Q10
Vitamin B1 is a vital nutrient when it comes to our health. The correct amount of thiamine will keep your mind and body healthy. If you consume too many carbohydrates, you will need extra B1 to keep your diet balanced.
Vitamin B1 supplements are a great option to fight against thiamine deficiency. This nutritional complement is perfect if you are a recovering alcoholic or you want to just be healthier. We know that we have provided you with the right amount of information to make the best purchase possible.
We hope that you have enjoyed our article about vitamin B1 supplements. If you liked this shopping guide and review, don't forget to share it with your friends on social media. Have you tried vitamin B1? Tell us about your experience; we want to hear from you. Thank you so much.
(Source of featured image: morisfoto: 123609587/ 123rf.com)