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Food & Other Sources of Vitamin B1

Updated on April 26, 2013
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An experienced integrative healthcare professional & Member of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists

Functions or Uses of Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 or thiamine in significantly important in neuronal and cognitive functioning. It is also necessary for the synthesis of acetylcholine (or ACh) and possibly its release at the synaptic junstion in our brains. A deficiency of thiamine has a marked effect on our central nervous system and can result in conditions like poor memory, dementia, fatigue, depression and alcoholism. Lacking thiamine can also result in poor or impaired detoxification capability of our bodies.

Thiamine requirements also increase during times of increase energy demand.

Vitamin B1 can also prevent bites from mosquitoes and sand flies because if we have adequate intake of this vitamin, our bodies can emit a smell only detectable by insects that repel them from us. Other methods of preventing or minimising insect bits include avoiding wearing dark clothing and applying topical insect repellants.

Furthermore, Vitamin B1 is necessary for the assimilation of starches and sugars in our diet and are especially important if your diet consists of high sugar and starches intake.

Considerations and Causes of Thiamine deficiency

A diet high in fats and sugars will usually constitute a thiamine deficiency. The presence of sulfites from prepared foods and excessive cooking of foods can also antagonize this vitamin and lead to its deficiency. Other antagonists to thiamine absorption include blueberries, brussel sprouts, tea and red beet root.

Alcohol consumption especially if excessive can also result in severe thiamine deficiency.

Thiamine is also destroyed by the use of alkalis such as baking soda especially if the food is exposed to moist heat.

Food Sources of Vitamin B1

Thiamine can be found in wheatgerm, soybeans, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and peanuts. Some other food sources include the following:

  • Pecans
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Cereal
  • Split peas
  • Millet
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Lean Pork
  • Buckwheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Red and Pinto beans
  • Wheat bran
  • Navy beans
  • Cashews
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Vegemite
  • Rice polishings
  • Hazelnuts
  • Lamb heart
  • Whole grain Rye
  • Mung Beans
  • Corn meal
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Brown rice
  • Brains (all kinds)
  • Lentils
  • Red chilli
  • Peppers
  • Fresh lima beans
  • Garlic
  • Green peas

With our increased access to processed and preserved foods, there is never an increased need for this very vital vitamin. Therefore, attempt to ensure you have adequate intake of thiamine from the foods illustrated above or obtain a Vitamin B1 supplement from your health store.

Having adequate supplies of thiamine may also have a role in preventing dementia and chronic fatigue syndromes in today's modern stressful world.


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