Thiamin is also known as vitamin B1. It is among the first compounds known as a water-soluble vitamin. Another names for this water-soluble vitamin is Thiamine. For children and teenagers (until 13-years old), the recommended daily intake of Thiamin is at a maximum of 0.9 mg. For people who are 19-years old and above, the recommended daily intake on Thiamin is 1.1 mg. Since Thiamin is not stored in the body, any excess of this vitamin is excreted through urine.

Thiamin’s Function In the Body

Thiamin plays a role in extracting energy from sources like carbohydrates. It helps in the proper function of the heart, the nervous system and the muscular system. Thiamin also helps regulate one’s appetite.

Sources of Thiamin

In food, sources of Thiamin include pork, pinto beans, whole grains, tomato juice, oranges, seafood, wheat germ, enriched grains, potatoes, watermelon, dried milk, legumes, organ meats, nuts, peas and seeds.

Thiamin is present in food only in small amounts. However, eating a lot of these Thiamin-containing foods can meet the daily recommended amount for Thiamin in the body.

Although there are supplements that contain Thiamin, it is still recommended to get it from natural sources like food.

Thiamin Deficiency

A body that is lacking in Thiamin may experience symptoms like weakness, psychosis, nerve damage, visual disturbances, staggering gait and fatigue.

In the United States, a deficiency in Thiamine is often observed in people who drink a lot of alcoholic beverages and those who abuse it. There are a lot of alcoholic products that make it difficult for the body to absorb Thiamin sourced from foods. For alcoholics, the only way to still maintain enough Thiamin in the body is to receive an even higher amount of Thiamin. Most likely, an alcoholic who has a Thiamin-deficient body will develop a disease known as Beriberi (a disease affecting the body’s cardiovascular system). Although Beriberi generally affects the cardiovascular system, it can also affect other systems in the body, like the gastrointestinal system and the nervous system.

It has also been said that a deficiency in Thiamin can lead to digestive system problems, as well as heart problems. In worst cases, a person that is severely deficient in Thiamin could develop Korsakoff Syndrome. This is a type of brain damage resulting from a lack of Thiamin. Another medical condition that can be caused by Thiamin deficiency is Wernicke’s Disease. Take note that both, that is it possible for a person to have both diseases.