What is Vitamin B1?
By: Robert J Banach | August 30, 2013
Thiamine, known as Vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin of the vitamin B complex, that is necessary for all living organisms. It is synthesized only in bacteria, fungi, and plants, so all animals must obtain it from their diet.
We can find the highest concentrations of edible Vitamin B1 in pork, yeast and yeast extracts. More sources of Vitamin B1 are oatmeal, flax, and sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver (beef, pork, and chicken), and eggs.
NOTE: We say ‘whole grain’ as processed grains decrease the availability of Vitamin B1 by roughly 90%, or basically to nothing.
Vitamin B1 Deficiency Can Be Deadly
A deficiency of Vitamin B1 causes Korsakoff’s syndrome, optic neuropathy, and a disease called beriberi that affects the peripheral nervous system (polyneuritis) and/or the cardiovascular system. Thiamine deficiency has a potentially fatal outcome if it remains untreated. In less severe cases, nonspecific signs include malaise, weight loss, irritability and confusion.
Best Way To Prepare Foods With Vitamin B1
Thiamine is unstable to heat, but stable during frozen storage (though under 6 months of cold storage is recommended). Thiamine can be lost or destroyed in foods when they are cooked, especially if they have long cooking times or are cooked in large amounts of water. Since many thiamine sources don’t need to be cooked, this is not a major concern.
Do I Need A Vitamin B1?
Most people are getting sufficient Vitamin B1 in their diets, and if they are taking most any type of multi-vitamin no additional supplementation of Vitamin B1 is necessary.
Additional Sources of Information
- Family, Youth & Community Services | Univ. of Florida
- EatRight.org | Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- US Government Nutrition Website