Thiamine: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Interactions and Supplements

Thiamine Ingredient
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine is a water-soluble compound that occurs in different types of foods. Although all organisms use thiamine, it can only be synthesized in plants, bacteria and fungus. You must obtain this essential nutrient from your diet because it cannot be stored in your body. Its supplementation has been used in the treatment of heart disease, brain damage due to aging, eyesight problems and kidney disease among others. Deficiency in vitamin B1 has been linked to health problems including beriberi and Korsakoff’s syndrome. If untreated, depletion of thiamine in the body can be fatal and symptoms may include weight loss*, malaise, confusion and irritability.

Where does it Come From?

Thiamine comes in trace amounts from a variety of foods including cereal grains, oatmeal, potatoes, flax, rye, kale, cauliflower, eggs, oranges and brown rice. You can also get thiamine from pasta, peas, watermelon, dried milk, seeds, nuts and some legumes. In meat, thiamine can be found in the liver of pork, beef and chicken. Most dietary supplements also contain vitamin B1 along with other essential minerals and nutrients.

What are its Possible Health Benefits?

Thiamine has several possible health benefits to the body, some of which include:

Health Benefits of Thiamine
  • Boosts* memory: Vitamin B1 has the potential to improve* your power of concentration and memory retention. I addition, it’s used in management of nervous disorders like multiple sclerosis. It also enhances* mood.
  • Promote digestion and energy production: Thiamine facilitates the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy production.
  • Helps in the maintenance of a healthy heart: Vitamin B1 stimulate production of acetylcholine, a chemical that ensures proper communication between nerves and muscles which is essential in cardiac function.
  • Stimulates production of red blood cells.
  • Fights and prevents cataract.
  • Lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It has anti-aging properties.

What are The Potential Side Effects of Thiamine?

Vitamin B1 is considered safe when appropriate amounts are taken orally. However, allergic reactions and skin irritation may occur in some people when thiamine is taken in large quantities. It is also considered safe when injected intravenously by a doctor. Possible side effects that have been reported with thiamine overdose include sweating, restlessness, itching, mild rash, nausea, and swelling where it was administered intravenously. Other people have reported coughing, swollen face, breathing difficulties, difficulty in swallowing and hives among others

Recommended Doses and Timing for Thiamine?

Dosage and timing of thiamine depend on a number of factors including age, gender, mode of administration and health condition. If you are an adult experiencing thiamine deficiency in your body, take 5-30 milligrams per day for one month. If the deficiency is severe, consume up to 300 milligrams of vitamin B1 per day. You can prevent cataract by ensuring* that you consume 10 milligrams of thiamine every day.

The recommended dietary allowances of vitamin B1 in supplements are as follows:

  • Children aged below 6 months: 0.2 milligrams
  • Children aged 7-12 months: 0.3 milligrams
  • 1-3 years: 0.5 milligrams
  • 4-8 years: 0.6 milligrams
  • 9-13 years: 0.9 milligrams
  • Women aged 14-18 years: 1 milligram
  • Women above 18 years: 1.1 milligrams
  • Pregnant women: 1.4 milligrams
  • Breastfeeding women: 1.5 milligrams.

Thiamine injection can only be administered by a qualified health care provider in treating and preventing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Use of Thiamine in Supplements

The use of thiamine in many dietary supplements is increasingly becoming popular due to the many health benefits associated with this ingredient. It can be difficult to some people to get the recommended doses of thiamine from regular foods. Luckily, supplement manufacturers have come up with special formulations containing Thiamine as a key ingredient to help users fight conditions that may arise due to deficiencies. It’s worth noting that thiamine supplements should not be used to replace prescribed medications or without your doctor’s consent.

Thiamine Interactions

No thiamine interactions have been reported at this moment. However, it is important to consult with your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner if it will be safe to use thiamine along with other medications. Some medication may affect your body’s ability to absorb and utilize thiamine. Additionally, avoid excessive use of thiamine or any other supplement if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or using prescribed or over-the-counter drugs.

Conclusion

Thiamine is an important nutrient required by the body for optimized cellular functions. It can be obtained in trace amounts from regular meals although supplementation can be necessary to some people. Due to its remarkable roles in disease prevention and treatment, Thiamine should be an essential ingredient to look for in any supplement. In addition, vitamin B1 has no known adverse side effects when administered in appropriate dosages. Remember to check supplements containing Thiamine and follow manufacturer’s specification in timing and doses. Report any adverse interactions or side effects you may experience to your doctor for further advice.

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Author

Expert Author : Ella James (Consumer Health Digest)

Ella James is a freelance journalist who specializes in fitness, health, nutrition and travel. Currently, she is a contributing editor for Consumer Health Digest as well as regularly writes for publications including All You, Shape, Self, Weight Watchers, Women’s Health, Real Simple, Prevention and Fitness.