Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, as are all vitamins of the B complex.
Vitamins are classified according to the materials they dissolve in. Some dissolve in water, and others dissolve in fat. Water-soluble vitamins are carried through the bloodstream. Whatever the body does not use is eliminated in urine.
Meat, fish, and grains are a good source of Vitamin B1
There are high concentrations of Vitamin B1 in the outer layers and germ of cereals, as well as in yeast, beef, pork, nuts, whole grains, and pulses.
Fruit and vegetables that contain it include cauliflower, liver, oranges, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, and kale.
Other sources include brewer's yeast and blackstrap molasses.
Breakfast cereals and products made with white flour or white rice may be enriched with vitamin B.
In the United States, people consume around half of their vitamin B1 intake in foods that naturally contain thiamin, while the rest comes from foods that are fortified with the vitamin.
Heating, cooking, and processing foods, and boiling them in water, destroy thiamin. As vitamin B1 is water-soluble, it dissolves into cooking water. White rice that is not enriched will contain only one tenth of the thiamin available in brown rice.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) note that one serving of fortified breakfast cereal provides 1.5 milligrams (mg) of thiamin, which is more than 100 percent of the daily recommended amount.
One slice of whole wheat bread contains 0.1 mg, or 7 percent of the daily requirement. Cheese, chicken, and apples contain no thiamin.
Humans need a continuous supply of vitamin B1, because it is not stored in the body. It should be part of the daily diet.
Vitamin B1, or thiamin, helps prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines. It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells.
It helps prevent diseases such as beriberi, which involves disorders of the heart, nerves, and digestive system.
Uses in medicine
Patients who may receive thiamin to treat low levels of vitamin B1 include those with peripheral neuritis, which is an inflammation of the nerves outside the brain, or pellagra.
Some athletes take thiamin supplements to boost their performance.
People with ulcerative colitis, persistent diarrhea, and poor appetite may also receive thiamin. Those who are in a coma may be given thiamin injections.
Some athletes use thiamin to help improve their performance. It is not a prohibited substances for athletes in the U.S.
Other conditions in which thiamin supplements may help include:
Not all of these uses have been definitively confirmed by research.
A deficiency of vitamin B1 commonly leads to beriberi, a condition that features problems with the peripheral nerves and wasting.
Weight loss and anorexia can develop.
There may be mental problems, including confusion and short-term memory loss.
Muscles may become weak, and cardiovascular symptoms can occur, for example, an enlarged heart.
How much vitamin B1 do we need?
In the U.S., the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamin taken by mouth is 1.2 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females over the age of 18 years. Pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age should consume 1.4 mg each day.
Who is at risk of B1 deficiency?
People with poor diet, cancer, "morning sickness" during pregnancy, bariatric surgery, and hemodialysis are at risk of thiamin deficiency.
People who regularly drink alcohol to excess may have a deficiency, as they may not absorb thiamin from their food.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a disorder that affects people with chronic alcoholism. It is linked to a lack of thiamin, and it can be fatal if not treated.
People with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and those who are withdrawing from alcohol may receive thiamin injections to help them recover.
Other diseases, such as HIV, can reduce the absorption of nutrients, and this can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B1.
All B vitamins are water-soluble. They help to convert carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy, or glucose.
B vitamins are necessary for keeping the liver, skin, hair, and eyes healthy. They also play a role in the nervous system, and they are needed for good brain function.
The B vitamins are sometimes called anti-stress vitamins, because they boost the body's immune system in times of stress.
Evidence does not confirm any harm from too much vitamin B1, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns on the use of supplements.
They urge people to check with their health care provider before using supplements with or as a substitute for foods, and they call on the public to seek a physician's advice on how to improve their health, rather than self-diagnosing.
Tea and coffee contain tannins, chemicals that may interact with thiamin, making it harder to absorb.
Some of the chemicals in raw shellfish and fish can destroy thiamin, potentially leading to a deficiency if eaten in large quantities. Cooking destroys these chemicals, but it destroys thiamin too.
Vitamins are essential in promoting and regulating processes in the body such as growth, reproduction, and maintaining health. Deficiency symptoms can occur if the body does not receive the proper amount of vitamins through a diet, however once the diet changes and vitamin intake goes back to the recommended amounts, these deficiency symptoms will go away. Most of the foods that we eat contain some vitamins, all the food groups contain vitamins, however incorporating all the food groups into your diet is important because not all vitamins are found in each food group. Some food groups are lacking B vitamins while others are lacking vitamin C. There are many different kinds of vitamins and each vitamin is categorized by how they are absorbed into the body. Vitamins are labeled by letters in the order in which they were discovered. Vitamins like B6 and B12 have numbers because scientists discovered that there were many different types of B vitamins where they originally thought there was one. How vitamins are absorbed, the different classifications of vitamins, the benefits, functions, and deficiency risks is important information to know for your own health.
How vitamins are classified depends on how they are absorbed, transported, excreted, and stored in the body. There are water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins and each are absorbed, transported, excreted, and stored in the body in different ways. Water- soluble vitamins include B vitamins and vitamin C, and fat- soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. The process in which vitamins are absorbed starts in the mouth where chewing helps to release vitamins. The food then travels to the stomach where the digestion process releases more vitamins. The gallbladder then releases bile which turns into fat and helps fat- soluble vitamins absorb into the body. The pancreas also helps get vitamins out of food by secreting digestive enzymes. Fat- soluble vitamins are then “incorporated into micelles and then absorbed by simple diffusion. Once they are inside the mucosal cells, fat- soluble vitamins are packaged in chylomicrons, which enter the lymph before passing into the blood” (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2012, P. 205). Water- soluble vitamins are absorbed into the blood through the small intestine where they bind with blood proteins that transport them throughout the body.
Functions of Vitamins
Water- soluble vitamins and fat- soluble vitamins have important functions in the body. Vitamin C and vitamin E help to stop oxidative damaging molecules, and vitamins A and D help to maintain normal growth and development. Vitamins A, B6, C, and D help to keep our immune system healthy, and B vitamins “are needed to produce ATP from carbohydrate, fat, and protein” (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2012, P. 206). Vitamins have many different functions and some vitamins have more than one. Vitamin A not only helps with keeping the immune system healthy, but is also needed for bone health. Vitamin B6 also help with keeping our immune system healthy, but it also helps with blood health. According to the text, “often more than one vitamin is needed to ensure the health of a particular organ or system” Grosvenor & Smolin, 2012, P. 207). Vitamins work together to keep our bodies healthy, and that is why it is important that vitamins are part of the bodies daily nutrient intake.
Vitamins and Sources
Water Soluble Vitamins
Water Soluble Vitamin Sources
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat Soluble Vitamin source
B6 and B12
Dark Green Vegetables
Fortified Milk and Margarine
Whole and Enriched Grains
Water Soluble Vitamins
Thiamin, Riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic, folate, choline, Vitamin C, and vitamins B6 and B12 are all water- soluble vitamins. Some high nutrient sources of these vitamins include: pork, whole and enriched grains, seeds, nuts, dark green vegetables, dairy products, some fruits, beef, chicken, fish, liver, egg yolks, and legumes. Some symptoms that are brought on by deficiency in these vitamins are: weakness, apathy, irritability, verve tingling, paralysis, cracks at corners of the mouth, diarrhea, dementia, nausea, depression, hallucinations, fatigue, and rashes. Alcoholism puts people at a greater risk for deficiency in these essential vitamins.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K are all fat- soluble vitamins. Some high nutrient sources for these essential vitamins include: liver, fish, fortified milk and margarine, eggs, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, oils, tuna, sunlight, leafy greens, nuts, and apricots. Deficiency in these vitamins can bring on symptoms such as: night blindness, eye infections, poor growth, dry skin, impaired immune function, rickets, misshapen bones, weak and soft bones, nerve damage, hemorrhage, broken red blood cells, and muscle pain. Children, pregnant women, elderly people, newborns, people with kidney disease, and people with low-fat or low-protein diets are at a greater risk for deficiencies in these vitamins.
Fat Soluble Deficiency
Impaired immune function
Weak and soft bones
Broken red blood cells
Vitamins are Important
vitamins are essential in promoting and regulating processes in the body such as growth, reproduction, and maintaining health. There are different classifications of vitamins, water- soluble vitamins and fat- soluble vitamins. The difference in these vitamins is how they are absorbed, transported, excreted, and stored in the body. The functions of these vitamins vary from helping to maintain normal growth and development to keeping the immune system functioning normally. We can attain these vitamins through a wide variety of sources like different meats, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products. Without these essential vitamins our bodies would suffer the consequences. There are a wide variety of symptoms that our bodies would experience, none of which are pleasant. To maintain the recommended amount of each of these vitamins can be difficult but is not impossible. a well balanced diet is necessary to reach your recommended daily intake of each vitamin. This will also help you avoid the nasty effects of being vitamin deficient. Make sure to contact your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in the vitamin deficiency table above.
Grosvenor, M. B., & Smolin, L. A. (2012). Visualizing Nutrition: Everyday choices (2th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
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