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Vitamin B1
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Vitamin B1?

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.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the pumping ability of the heart declines, and fluid begins to accumulate in the lungs and legs. Standard treatment for CHF includes strong "water pills" called loop diuretics . These drugs, however, deplete the body of B 1 . 1 Since the heart depends on vitamin B 1 for its proper function, this is potentially quite worrisome. Preliminary evidence, including a small double-blind placebo-controlled trial , hints that supplementation with B 1 can improve symptoms. 2 One double-blind study suggests that thiamin taken at a dose of 50 mg daily might enhance mental function . 3 Other potential uses of thiamin have even less scientific support. Observational studies of people with HIV infection suggest (but definitely do...

Safety Issues

Vitamin B1 appears to be quite safe even when taken in very high doses.

Interactions You Should Know About

If you are taking loop diuretics (eg,furosemide (Lasix) ), you may need extra vitamin B1.