Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine or thiamin, is a water-soluble part of the vitamin B complex. It is produced by various plants, bacteria, and types of fungus. A deficiency in the diet can lead to a condition known as beriberi, which is discussed in more detail later on this site. Lesser levels of deficiency can also produce various symptoms.
B1 was the first that was described amongst water-soluble vitamins. Originally, it was named anuerin, referring to the negative neurological effects that were seen when insufficient amounts were consumed.
Vitamin B1 has a form called thiamine pyrophosphate, or ThDP for short. This is used in yeast in the initial stage of the fermenting process for alcohol.
Vitamin B1 is found in a variety of natural sources. Several of these are mentioned below:
Eggs (in the yolks)
Leafy, green vegetables
In particular, brewer's yeast is a natural source high in thiamine. It also contains other vitamins from the B complex (riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, and biotin), as well as minerals such as selenium and chromium.
Vitamin B1 deficiency
Beriberi is a cardiovascular and neurological disease, caused by particularly low levels of vitamin B1 intake. There are three main forms of the condition: dry, wet, and infantile. The dry version is largely characterized by peripheral neuropathy and accompanying symptoms. The wet kind involves issues such as muscle wasting and mental confusion, along with peripheral neuropathy. The infantile version occurs in infants who are nursed by mothers who are deficient in vitamin B1.
Another potential problem is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is also sometimes called Wernicke's encephalopathy. It is a neurological disorder, and is often linked to abuse of alcohol. Gastrointestinal disease, HIV/AIDS, and other causes that lead to impaired nutrition intake also have the potential to lead to this condition.
In deficiencies which are not as severe, general symptoms such as weight loss, malaise, and others can take place.