Vitamin B1 or thiamine is an essential component, that guarantee the proper functioning of our body. It is useful in particular for nervous, cardiovascular and digestive system, and it should be properly integrated through alimentation or supplements, because its deficiencies can lead to severe problems.
What is Vitamin B1?
Vitamin B1 is also known as thiamine, but its first name was aneurin. It is so called for the presence of a thiazole and a pyrimidinic rings, linked together by a methylic group. It is a vitamin belonging to the B complex, and it is essential for the human and animal nutrition. Vitamin B is synthesized only by vegetables, bacteria and fungi, so it can be found mostly in vegetables, but also in meat, in form of phosphate.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine in our body it is present in the free form, or esterified as TMP or thiamine monopshosphate, TPP or thiamine pyrophosphate, and TTP or thiamine ttiphosphate. Once ingested, vitamin B1 is present into the lumen of the digestive system in its free form, which can be easily absorbed by intestinal cells through active or passive transport, depending on the amount of the vitamin ingested. Enterocytes are provided of specific enzymes, that can link a phosphate group to thiamine, forming TMP.
Then it is released into the blood vessels bound to serum proteins and it is transported to tissues, in particular to brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles and kidneys. In tissues the vitamin is phosphorylated by specific enzymes, as thiamine pyrophosphatase and phosphatase. From this reaction is obtained thiamine pyrophosphate, the active form.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine benefits
Vitamin B1 or thiamine is very important for our body, in particular for nervous and cardiovascular systems. It is essential for many functions, for example:
- Provides energy to the body, using carbohydrates, proteins and fats
- Improves memory and concentration
- Helps to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Bell’s palsy
- Strengthens eye lens, preventing cataracts
- Reduces problems related to arrhythmias
- Stimulates digestion
- Counters free radicals effects, so it helps to prevent wrinkles
Vitamin B1 or thiamine and foods
Vitamin B1 or thiamine can be found in many vegetables in its pure form, but it is contained also in meat and fish, in particular its phosphate. Foods rich in thiamine are:
Vitamin B1 or thiamine properties
Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. It is essential for many functions of our body, for example:
Energy production: thiamine is a coenzyme, so it is necessary to other enzyme’s actions. In fact it stimulates metabolic reactions which lead to gain energy from carbohydrates. In particular it is a part of Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex, a group of enzymes that transforms pyruvate in acetyl-CoA, through decarboxylation. Acetyl-CoA then enters Krebs cycle, activating cellular respiration.
Nervous functions: vitamin B1 enhances the development of myelin coatings, essential for the transmission of impulses. Thiamine is also able to improve cerebral functions, in particular concentration and memory. Moreover it stimulates GABA and acetylcholine neurotransmitters synthesis
Cardiovascular functions: Vitamin B1 or thiamine is essential for the correct transmission of impulses through cardiac cells, so it helps to maintain a regular heartbeat
Digestive system: Vitamin B1 or thiamine enhances digestive acids production, so it promotes the digestion of foods
Antioxidant properties: vitamin B1 is also an antioxidant, so it is important to counter free radicals effects, from wrinkles to severe cellular damages.
Hemoglobin synthesis: thiamine has an important role in the production of hemoglobin, which is essential for the proper functioning of red blood cells
Eye health: vitamins are very helpful to maintain eye health. In particular it seems that thiamine is able to prevent cataracts
Lactic acid reduction into blood and tissues
Vitamin B1 or thiamine side
Vitamin B1 or thiamine can be properly integrated into the body through specific food supplements. They usually are safe, but they can lead to different side effects. These can include in particular difficult breathing, swelling, rash or hives, but the most common effects are nausea, sweating, itching and restless feeling. When it is administered at elevated doses, especially intravenous, it can cause allergic reaction or even anaphylactic shock.