Menu

Health Benefits of Vitamin B1

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 23, 2021

Your body needs a variety of vitamins to work the way it should. One of them is vitamin B1. Also known as thiamine, B1 helps your body turn food into energy.

How Does Vitamin B1 Promote Good Health?

Boosts energy production. When sugar mixes with vitamin B1, it becomes energy for your body to use. B1 helps make this process faster while supporting the other enzymes.

Reduces the effects of sepsis. Sepsis, a severe response to an infection, can become fatal if your vitamin B1 levels are low. Alon with vitamin C, thiamine can reduce the effects of sepsis. It can also lower the risk of kidney failure that often results from the infection.

Helps fight depression. Taking vitamin B1 supplements along with an antidepressant is good for depression. Vitamin B1 helps ease symptoms faster while stabilizing your mood. Lack of vitamin B1 has also been linked to low moods.

Good for diabetes. If you have diabetes, think about getting more thiamine. Studies show that high blood sugar and insulin levels improve after taking vitamin B1 for 6 weeks. B1 also helps reduce high blood pressure and heart complications in people with diabetes.

Prevents kidney and circulation problems. A dose of vitamins B1 and B12 can help improve nerve pain in people with diabetes and may reduce the need for painkillers.

Minimizes the risk of heart disease. Thiamine is key to the production of acetylcholine. This is the element that helps your body pass messages between its nerves and muscles. Without this communication, your heart wouldn’t work the way it should. Lack of vitamin B1 is one reason for uneven cardiac function.

Improves memory. Getting enough thiamine can help improve concentration and memory. Because of its positive effect on attitude and brain function, it is also known as a "morale vitamin".

Sources of Vitamin B1

Some of the most common places to find B1 include:

  • Wheat germ
  • Legumes (like beans)
  • Beef
  • Organ meats
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Nuts
  • Bran
  • Potatoes
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Rice

Symptoms of Vitamin B1 Deficiency

A lack of vitamin B1 can lead to serious health consequences. Early symptoms include: 

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Abdominal discomfort

Very low thiamine levels may lead to:

  • Beriberi, a condition that causes a loss of appetite, muscle weakness, and a pricking feeling in the toes and burning in the feet
  • Fast heartbeat, low blood pressure (hypotension), and fluid retention
  • Brain problems

Don’t overlook the role of vitamin B1 in your body. Eat a balanced diet rich in thiamine, and try not to overcook or over-refrigerate food in order to keep as many nutrients as possible.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Annals for the New York Academy of Sciences: “Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and dementia.”

Clinical Trials: “Thiamine Supplementation to Improve Cardiac Functions in Patients With Congestive Heart Failure.”

The Conversation: “Are you getting enough vitamin B1 to help fend off Alzheimer’s?”

Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome: “The impact of thiamine supplementation on blood pressure, serum lipids and C-reactive protein in individuals with hyperglycemia: a randomized, double-blind cross-over trial.”

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience: “Adjuvant thiamine improved standard treatment in patients with major depressive disorder: results from a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled clinical trial.”

Intensive Care Medicine: “Vitamin C and thiamine for sepsis: time to go back to fundamental principles.”

Journal of Diabetes Research: “Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Gabapentin Plus B Complex (B1/B12) versus Pregabalin for Treating Painful Diabetic Neuropathy.”

Mayo Clinic: “Thiamine (Oral Route, Injection Route.”

Mount Sinai: "Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)." 

Neuroscience: “Thiamine Deficiency Induces Anorexia by Inhibiting Hypothalamic AMPK.”

Organic Facts: “11 Impressive Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Benefits.”

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.