Vitamin B1 Requirement

Vitamin B1 Requirement: Overview

Alternative names: Thiamine, Thiamin, Aneurin, Betaxin, Thiadoxine

Vitamin B1 is needed for release of energy from carbohydrates; aids in functioning of nervous system; helps maintain stomach acidity and normal appetite.  Thiamine enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and the production of hydrochloric acid which is important for proper digestion.  Thiamine also optimizes cognitive activity and brain function.

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Contributing Risk Factors

Deficiency symptoms are still seen in parts of the world where white rice makes up a major part of the daily diet.  Those at greatest risk of deficiency include some young children and teenagers, stressed adults, those who exercise very heavily, alcoholics, pregnant women, those on restrictive diets and people suffering from malabsorption diseases, who are not supplemented with any B1.  Marginal deficiencies, without clinical symptoms, can be common among these groups.

Signs and Symptoms

Elderly people are at risk of thiamin deficiency and this may lead to reduced mental functioning, depression, weakness, suppressed immunity and gastrointestinal problems.  Early thiamin deficiency may be easily overlooked as the symptoms are generalized and can include fatigue, depression and stress-induced headaches.

Deficiency symptoms include:

  • poor circulation with cold hands and feet
  • edema (fluid retention)
  • furrowed tongue
  • underactive thyroid
  • fatigue
  • depression, apathy
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • over-sensitivity to pain and noise
  • nausea
  • poor memory
  • weight loss
  • weak and painful muscles, especially the legs, starting with numb, burning feet, later affecting calves and thighs, may result in paralysis
  • severe gastrointestinal disturbances
  • tachycardia (fast pulse)
  • brachycardia (slow pulse) at rest
  • enlarged and weak heart
  • dyspnea (breathlessness) on exertion
  • mental illness
  • multiple sclerosis
  • diabetes
  • hypoglycemia
  • allergies
  • addictions – drugs, alcohol

Severe thiamin deficiency causes beriberi.  Beriberi can affect the cardiovascular system (wet beriberi) and the nervous system (dry beriberi).  One of the earliest signs of thiamin deficiency is reduced stamina.  Depression, irritability and reduced ability to concentrate are later followed by fatigue, muscle cramps and various pains.  Dry beriberi symptoms include numbness and tingling in the toes and feet, stiffness of the ankles, cramping pains in the legs, difficulty walking, and finally, paralysis of the legs with wasting of the muscles.  Permanent damage to the nervous system can occur if the deficiency is not corrected in time.

Conditions that suggest Vitamin B1 Requirement:


Susceptibility To Hangovers

A deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1) makes it harder for your body to break down alcohol.  Interestingly, beer contains a good amount of thiamine, but as vitamin B1 oxidizes the alcohol out of the blood in the liver, thiamine is used up and must be replaced.

Risk factors for Vitamin B1 Requirement:


Alcohol-related Problems

Alcoholics are at significantly increased risk of developing a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) and may develop a form of thiamine deficiency called wet beri beri.

Supplements, Medications, Drugs

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Vitamin B1 Requirement suggests the following may be present:


Vitamin B1 Requirement can lead to:



See the link between Depression and B-complex Need.

Recommendations for Vitamin B1 Requirement:


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decreases risk of
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