Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Thiamin

< Fundamentals of Human Nutrition

8.1 ThiaminEdit

Thiamin is also known as thiamine, aneurine or vitamin B1 because it was the very first B vitamin discovered. It is one of the several B vitamins that come together to form coenzymes that help in releasing energy. Thiamin is part of the B vitamins that help the body use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The B vitamins also support the nervous system, and ensure that it functions correctly. They are water-soluble, so the body does not accumulate them. Occasionally, thiamin is considered an “anti-stress” vitamin because it can enhance the immune system and aid the body’s ability to endure stressful conditions. (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015).

8.1.1 SourcesEdit

Thiamin is found in miniscule amounts in a various amount of nutritious foods. It is found in plants and animals, but meats in the pork family are notably rich in thiamin. Grains, whole or enriched, are also a dependable source of thiamin. Beneficial and sometimes unusual sources of thiamin are soymilk, acorn squash, and tomato juice. Other different sources are cereals, peas, beans, nuts, and watermelon. Fortified foods are often filled with thiamin that is why common products rich in thiamin include grains, milks, breads, and cereals (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2015).

Supplements are also a source of Vitamin B1. It can be found in a wide array of multivitamins, including children’s chewable vitamins, or in B complex vitamins, or it may be sold by itself. With today’s advancement in medicine, this vitamin is accessible in a wide assortment of forms including pills that you swallow, chewable tables, soft gels, and lozenges. Thiamin may also be identified as “thiamine hydrochloride” or “thiamine mononitrate.” As with all vitamin supplements, one should first check with his or her doctor before taking this supplement regularly or when distributing it to children (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015).

8.1.2 FunctionsEdit

Thiamin is the vitamin that is a part of the coenzyme thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) which assists in energy metabolism. This coenzyme engages in the reconstruction of pyruvate to acetyl CoA. This step is vital in allowing carbohydrate energy to go into the TCA cycle and generate more ATP than glycolysis. Thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP) has a critical role in energy metabolism, but it also occupies a very specific site on nerve cell membranes. Therefore, nerve activity and muscle activity both depend on the very important vitamin thiamin.

8.1.3 RequirementsEdit

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for thiamin that was edited in 1998 is based on the prevention of deficiency in normal, healthy, human beings. The RDA increases as an infant grows, but once adulthood is reached, it remains constant at 1.2 mg/day for males and 1.1 mg/day for women (Oregon State Institute, 2015).

8.1.4 DeficiencyEdit

Thiamine deficiency can lead to many different health complications. Your body is incapable of storing large quantities of thiamine, so it is vital to take in thiamine through your diet (The Natural Standard Research Collaboration, 2013).

People can be predisposed to thiamine deficiencies. Some predisposing factors include, eating disorders, malnutrition, gastrointestinal surgical procedures and most commonly alcoholism (Osiezagha et al., 2013). Alcoholism is the most common cause for thiamine deficiency in the United States due to the poor diet associated with that particular lifestyle (Evert A, 2013; Osiezagha et al., 2013). Alcohol is also known to compromise thiamine absorption from the gastrointestinal tract which also can impair thiamine storage (Osiezagha et al., 2013).

Some common symptoms of thiamine deficiency include headache, nausea, fatigue, irritability, depression, weakness, psychosis, nerve damage, and abdominal discomfort (Ehrlich S, 2013; Evert A, 2013). There are also many health problems associated with this deficiency, as mentioned before. Some common diseases associated with thiamine deficiency are Wernicke’s disease, Korsakoff syndrome, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, beriberi, cancer, severe obesity, delirium, and systemic diseases (Ehrlich S, 2013; Evert A, 2013; Osiezagha et al., 2013).

Severe thiamine deficiency can lead to brain damage. Wernicke’s disease causes damage to nerves in the central nervous system as well as the peripheral nervous system (Ehrlich S, 2013; Evert A, 2013) This disease is often caused through malnutrition and alcoholism which then lead to thiamine deficiency (Ehrlich S, 2013). The Korsakoff syndrome can cause memory problems and nerve damage (Ehrlich, 2013). Beriberi is also a common disease with those with severe thiamine deficiency (Ehrlich S, 2013).

There are not many treatments to thiamine deficiency except to get medical attention immediately. Thiamine should be immediately supplied to the body through either intravenous or intramuscular ways to ensure an abundant amount of thiamine is being absorbed (Osiezagha et al., 2013). Treating thiamine deficiency with thiamine can help cure or lighten the severity of the disease. Although, this is not true for all diseases associated with thiamine deficiency. Some diseases have no improvement with thiamine being added to the body (World Health Organization, 1999). Another form of treatment is through thiamine or vitamin B-complex supplements (WHO, 1999). One downside to these supplements is that it is difficult to organize, expensive, and can be ineffective in the long term, as these are needed to be taken daily (WHO, 1999). The use of these tablets to treat thiamine deficiency should be only for outbreaks of thiamine deficiency diseases or to pregnant and lactating women (WHO, 1999).

There are also numerous ways to prevent your body from a thiamine deficiency disease. If your body is predisposed to thiamine deficiency it is possible to get preventative therapy (WHO, 1999). It is recommended that the therapy should continue for more than two weeks (WHO, 1999). Whether your body is predisposed or not, diversifying your diet can help to make sure you are eating more foods that have thiamine in them (WHO, 1999). Reducing the intake of anti-thiamine factors in your diet can also aid in preventing thiamine deficiency (WHO, 1999).

Works Cited

Ehrlich S. (2013). “Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)”. Retrieved from

Evert A. (2013). “Thiamine”. Retrieved from

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Ed.). (2015). Thiamine. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

The Natural Standard Research Collaboration. (2013). “Thiamine (Vitamin B1)”. Retrieved from

Oregon State Institute (Ed.). (2015). Thiamin. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Osiezagha et al. (2013). “Thiamine deficiency and delirium”. Retrieved from

University of Maryland Medical Center (Ed.). (2015). Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

World Health Organization (WHO). (1999). “Thiamine deficiency and its prevention and control in major emergencies”. Retrieved from

8.1.5 ToxicityEdit