Vitamin B1 is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates, the degradation of alcohol by the liver and the functioning of the nervous system.
Discover the role of this vitamin, its recommended nutritional intakes, the risks of deficiencies or overdoses as well as its medical applications.
Description of vitamin B1
It is one of the water-soluble (water-soluble) vitamins. Its discovery dates back to 1910.
Roles of vitamin B1 in the body
Once assimilated, thiamine is transformed into the liver into thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), which is the active form of vitamin B1.
TPP is essential to the activity of several enzymes. It notably allows the production of energy from carbohydrates (sugars).
It is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and the entire nervous system, which essentially uses carbohydrates as fuel.
The TPP is also used to develop thiamine triphosphate, which is a neuromediator.
Vitamin B1 interacts in the body with other vitamins in group B: B2, PP or B3, B5, B6, B9.
Food sources of vitamin B1
Almost all foods contain vitamin B1. Pigmeat, dry nuts (nuts, pistachios, etc.), offal, complete cereal foods (unlike refined cereal products) are particularly rich.
Many breakfast cereals are enriched with B vitamins, including vitamin B1.
It is sensitive to heat: to preserve it at best, it is important to cook food just as long as necessary. As it is water-soluble, it escapes into the cooking waters, hence the interest of steam cooking.
Medical indications for vitamin B1
CORRECTION OF VITAMIN DEFICIENCY B1
In case of proven deficiency, thiamine is prescribed in high doses, 250 to 1000 mg per day, so as to quickly correct the symptoms.
ALCOHOLIC WEANING OR PREVENTION OF DEFICIENCY IN THE CASE OF CHRONIC ALCOHOLISM
Vitamin B1 deficiency is a consequence of chronic alcoholism, associated with reduced intake and assimilation, increased need and reduced activation in the liver. It should be corrected as soon as possible to prevent neurological and psychiatric complications: Wernicke encephalopathy (which results in confusion, walking difficulties, memory problems) and Korsakoff (causing mental disorders). During hospital withdrawal, glucose perfusion (sugar) must be combined with an injection of vitamin B1.
SURGERY OF OBESITY
According to the technique used, bariatric surgery involves lower vitamin intake and / or decreased assimilation. This is why physicians prescribe a multivitamin supplement for life. Cases of vitamin B1 deficiency have been reported in people who did not take supplements, sometimes with irreversible neurological sequelae (walking disorders, memory problems, etc.).
TREATMENT OF NEURO-DEGENERATIVE DISEASES
Because of its role in the proper functioning of the brain, the prescription of thiamine is considered in the management of neurodegenerative diseases of the Alzheimer type. However, its effectiveness remains to be demonstrated.
It is sometimes prescribed against fatigue, in most cases associated with other vitamins B6, C … Nevertheless, the experts of EFSA, European food safety authority, do not allow manufacturers of food supplements To allege on this supposed property of thiamine.
RISKS OF DEFICIENCY IN VITAMIN B1
The body has no vitamin B1 reserve, so insufficient intake or poor assimilation (as is sometimes the case in the elderly) leads to a deficiency. The result is a loss of appetite (which aggravates the deficit), fatigue and weight loss.
Deficiency of vitamin B1 or beriberi is common in countries where malnutrition and undernutrition are common.
The dry form results in neurological symptoms: walking disorders, tingling, loss of balance.
Wet form affects the heart, with tachycardia (accelerated heart rate), edema, difficulty breathing.
In the industrialized countrie.
It mainly affects sick people who are undernourished, as well as subjects suffering from chronic alcoholism: in this case, it can manifest itself by psychic symptoms