Thiamine is a B vitamin. Since it was first to be obtained among B group vitamins in a pure form, it is also called vitamin B1. It is a water soluble vitamin. Thiamine is also known as aneurine and was originally isolated as anti beriberi factor. Its deficiency affects central and peripheral nervous system as well as the heart. Beriberi was first observed among Japanese soldiers, who were mainly consuming polished rice.
Studies show that nearly everyone gets enough thiamine if they eat their normal balanced diet. However, during the time of physical stress, such as pregnancy, illness or surgery, its requirement increases. Alcoholism is also one of the causes for thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is absorbed from the intestine.
Natural Food Sources Of Vitamin B1
- Cereals: Rice bran, wheat germ, finger millet, bajra, barley, wheat flour and maize.
- Pulses and legumes: Soya beans, split Bengal gram, peas, lentil, moth beans, red gram and black gram.
- Vegetables: Lotus stem, capsicum, turnip greens, beet root, radish and potatoes.
- Nuts and oil seeds: Groundnuts, mustard seeds, walnuts, almonds and pistachios.
- Fruits: Musk melon, pineapples and apricots.
- Meat and poultry: beef, liver, mutton and eggs.
- Milk: Skim milk and whole milk.
Functions And Benefits Of Thiamine
Like most of the B vitamins, thiamine is needed for energy production from the food that we eat. It acts as a catalyst in conversion of carbohydrate into energy production, through complex chemical reaction which also requires oxygen. Without thiamine the carbohydrates cannot be completely metabolized. There is a rise of toxic compounds which are thought to lead to deficiency symptoms such as nerve problems and muscle wasting seen in Beri Beri.
- Thiamine is essential for nearly every cell reaction in the body. It is required for normal growth, reproduction and physical fitness. It is required for normal brain function, skin and hair health, blood production and defense against infections.
- Thiamine is useful for symptoms associated in alcohol abuse. These patients have mental confusion, and staggering gait.
- It is an important vitamin for heart health. It improves the rhythm of heart, shortness of breath, swelling of extremities, chest pains which are common in heart ailments.
- Thiamine is useful for several neurological problems such as generalized muscle weakness and paralysis, especially when the muscles of eyes are paralyzed. Thus it is beneficial in Bell’s palsy.
- Thiamine improves depression, irritability, concentration, muscle cramps and leg pains.
- Since thiamine has action on intestinal muscles, it improves peristaltic movements and thus prevents constipation.
- Thiamine is known to be a mild diuretic. Thus it is beneficial in heart patients who have swelling of feet, retention of fluid.
- Thiamine prevents premature aging. It prevents premature grey hair and helps to maintain healthy skin.
The benefits of thiamine get a boost if it is accompanied with other B group vitamins.