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Vitamin B1, also called thiamin, was the first B vitamin discovered. Every cell in your body needs thiamin to make adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the body's main energy-carrying molecule. The heart, in particular, has considerable need for thiamin in order to keep up its constant work. Severe deficiency of thiamin results in beriberi, a disease common in the 19th century, but rare today. Many of the principal symptoms of beriberi involve impaired heart function.
Your need for vitamin B 1 varies with age. The official US and Canadian recommendations for daily intake are as follows:
- 0-6 months: 0.2 mg
- 7-12 months: 0.3 mg
- 1-3 years: 0.5 mg
- 4-8 years: 0.6 mg
- 9-13 years: 0.9 mg
- 14 years and older: 1.2 mg
- 14-18 years: 1.0 mg
- 19 years and older: 1.1 mg
- Pregnant or Nursing Women: 1.4 mg
Although vitamin B 1 deficiency is rare in the developed world, it may occur in certain medical conditions, such as alcoholism , anorexia , Crohn's disease , and folate deficiency. People undergoing kidney dialysis or taking loop diuretics may also become deficient in vitamin B 1 . Certain foods may impair your body's absorption of B 1 as well, including fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, and the herb horsetail .
Brewer's and nutritional yeast are the richest sources of B 1 . Peas, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains also provide fairly good amounts.
A typical dose of vitamin B1 for therapeutic purposes is 200 mg daily, although much higher dosages have also been tried.
Some nutritional experts recommend taking B 1 with other B vitamins in the form of a B-complex supplement. However, there is no meaningful evidence that this offers any advantage.