Thiamine and its functions

Thiamine and its functions
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The vitamin B group comprises eight different compounds. One of them is thiamine. Most people know it as vitamin B1. The substance is responsible for metabolic processes, growth, development and normal functioning of the digestive organs, the heart muscle and the nervous system. Its deficiency is dangerous to the body. Without a sufficient amount of thiamine, the work of systems and organs is disrupted, and a person becomes prone to severe nervous disorders.

Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the body that not everyone is aware of. To evaluate the full benefits of this compound, it is necessary to take into account all of its properties, the consequences of periodic and systematic defects, as well as the products that contain the most thiamine.

Functions of vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is an organic compound. It does not dissolve in alcohol, but breaks down in water. The substance can come in four different forms. Thiamine diphosphate is one of the most abundant in the human body. About 30 grams of this compound can build up in body tissues (mainly muscle tissue).

Thiamine fulfills the following functions in the human body:

  • it is directly involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats;
  • participates in the synthesis of ATP energy, which is necessary for the performance of intracellular processes;
  • promotes the transition from carbohydrates to glucose, which the body needs for active activity;
  • promotes the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats that are ingested with food;
    helps to produce functional blood cells;
  • promotes the full growth and development of systems and organs;
  • responsible for the normal functioning of the digestive system;
  • normalizes heart function;
  • protects the nervous system from stressors, as it is involved in the formation of nerve endings of the myelin sheath, which protects cells from destruction;
  • increases the protective functions of the body;
  • improves nutrient absorption by maintaining smooth muscle tone in the digestive system;
    it has a positive effect on the central nervous system, and the lack of this connection leads to negative consequences for cognitive abilities;
  • responsible for the normal condition of the organs of vision.

Thiamine is also often referred to as an anti-stress vitamin, which fully reflects its important role in the human body. Apathy against the background of a lack of this substance develops due to a general decrease in strength and weakness, which leads to a depressed state.

The value of thiamine for athletes

Thiamine is one of the key substances for bodybuilders and athletes in other disciplines. This vitamin takes part directly in protein synthesis from food, and normal growth of muscle tissue is impossible without protein. Athletes looking to build good muscle need both to consume foods rich in protein and to control the amount of vitamin B1 that enters the body with food. Thiamine deficiency leads to a violation of the oxygen transport process to muscle tissue.

This leads to a decrease in strength and endurance, which negatively affects physical activity. In order to avoid side effects, athletes must take additional intake of thiamine bromide and other types of this vitamin. Because of this, when performing exercises, the performance increases many times. Such supplements have no side effects on the body.

Daily need

The norm depends on age, lifestyle and gender:

  1. Infants need 0.2-0.9 mg in different years of life;
  2. Women-1.1, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding – feeding-1.5 mg;
  3. Men – from 1.2 to 2.5 mg;
  4. Athletes and adults who work hard physically (gender does not matter) – 2.5-3 mg.

Deficiency in this vitamin is necessary to see a doctor. The specialist determines the dosage and form of the drug to be taken.

Consequences of thiamine deficiency

A large number of foods consumed by humans contain thiamine, but a deficiency is quite common. Deficits can be both temporary and systematic. In the latter case, severe disorders develop, especially nervous ones.

Beri-Beri disease, characteristic of many regions with unfavorable living conditions and frequent lack of food, is characterized by weakness and atrophy of muscle tissue, weight loss and intellectual disorders, the development of diseases of the digestive system and heart, as well as paralysis.

Another form of this disease is Korsakov syndrome, but it is more common in alcoholics to develop, which contributes to a decrease in thiamine in the body. The progression of the disease causes irreversible damage to brain disorders of mental activity and memory. Only the timely detection of the problem and treatment can save the patient when various medicinal forms of thiamine, including hydrochloride, are introduced into the body until the endowment appears.

Periodic deficits in adults are less dangerous, but they also have negative consequences and can become systematic. The main symptoms of a deficiency are disorders of the cardiovascular and digestive systems and atrophy of muscle tissue. In childhood, a deficiency in thiamine leads to a delay in physical development.

People who live under favorable conditions can eat a varied and balanced diet. Even so, a lack of thiamine is not uncommon. In the early stages, the deficiency is very rarely diagnosed, but even if the periodic deficiency is observed for several years, the situation can be corrected.

The following symptoms indicate a deficiency:

  • Insomnia;
  • frequent shortness of breath;
  • constant feeling of tiredness and depressed feeling of hunger;
  • Loss of concentration and frequent forgetfulness;
  • Constipation and nausea;
  • Tingling in the extremities;
  • depressed state, apathy, which is replaced by irritability.

Constant lack of substance leads to a deterioration in the condition and more dangerous consequences. Experts advise not to take it that far, but to check your diet, including in the menu products, which have a lot of vitamin B1 in their composition. If the condition is severe, then it is better to resort to thiamine chloride and other drugs.

Thiamine does not always get into the body in the amount available in raw or fresh foods. Part of the substance is lost during long-term heat treatment and when a large amount of salt is added. In the digestive system, the vitamin is destroyed by alcohol, tea and coffee. Therefore, if there is a deficit, it is better to completely avoid these drinks.


Excess vitamin is also bad for the body. Overdose most often occurs after taking drugs without following dosages and prescriptions. If the amount of thiamine supplied exceeds the daily norm, the person suffers from insomnia, an unreasonable feeling of anxiety, an allergic reaction that includes both mild urticaria and anaphylactic shock.

Which foods contain vitamin B1

Thiamine is found in many foods, but most commonly in:

  • Barley and oatmeal;
  • Hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios;
  • Sunflower seeds;
  • green vegetables, vegetables;
  • Carrot;
  • Pumpkin;
  • Tomatoes;
  • Bulgarian pepper;
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, peas);
  • Pork meat;
  • Liver;
  • Brewing yeast.

These products must be included in the menu of the day. This is especially true for those who play sports. And if you notice the first signs of thiamine deficiency, you should consult a doctor immediately.