Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vitamin B1

Historically, vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency disease was first described in Chinese writings over 4000 years ago. In 1885, a physician of the Japanese naval medical services cured sailors of a disease called beriberi by adding meat and milk to their diets. Beriberi means “I can’t, I can’t”. Thiamin is essential for breaking down carbohydrate and having a good source of energy.

Thiamin is part of a coenzyme that breaks down carbohydrate and powers protein synthesis. It helps in the production of neurotransmitters. Heat destroys the vitamin. Adding baking soda to vegetables destroys thiamin. Thiamin likes an acidic environment.

Thiamin deficiency can occur in as little as ten days. Body systems with high energy needs deteriorate first. Your central nervous system is a major energy consumer. It also can cause pins and needles sensations in hands and feet. Be careful with self-diagnosis, because there are other diseases and conditions that can cause tingling in hands and feet.

Thiamin deficiency is rare in developed countries. We have fortified foods and a wide variety of food sources. It is not rare, however, among alcoholics. It is prevalent but often overlooked. Many physicians don’t like to ask how much alcohol you consume. If you have a significant thiamin deficiency there are actually two different types. Wet beriberi is cardiac affects the cardiovascular system and causes fluid accumulation. Dry beriberi damages the nervous system.

Approximately 25% of alcoholics show signs and symptoms of thiamin deficiency. When paramedics find an unconscious unknown on the side of the road automatically think about thiamin deficiency.

This is one of the vitamins that don’t have any known toxicity. It is truly a water-soluble vitamin, you excrete all the excess.

Foods High in Thiamin

1 orange0.11 milligrams
1 cup oatmeal0.26 milligrams
1 cup tomatoes0.11 milligrams
1 cup spinach0.17 milligrams

A good and common source also is fortified breakfast cereals. You’ll have to look at the specific cereal to know its thiamin content.

Recommended daily intake

Males: 1.2 mg.

Females: 1.1 mg.

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