Vitamin B1 or thiamine: what is it used for?

Thiamine is also called vitamin B1, it is essential to transform carbohydrates into energy in the body. It cannot be synthesized by the human body, so it is essential to provide it through food. This vitamin has interactions in the body with vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9.

  • Water-soluble vitamin essential for energy production and the nervous system
  • Essential vitamin that cannot be synthesized by humans
  • Transforms into thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) in the liver
  • Intervenes in the treatment of various diseases (alcoholism, fatigue, undernutrition, etc.)
  • Found in large quantities in food seeds and yeasts

Why eat foods rich in vitamin B1?


Maintenance of the nervous system

By intervening in the Krebs cycle, thiamine participates in the production of energy from carbohydrates, which are themselves mainly used by the brain and nervous system.

Participates in muscle function

Vitamin B1 is involved in the functioning of all the muscles of the body and will therefore facilitate digestion by stimulating the muscles of the digestive sphere.

Power generation

Vitamin B1 is transformed into TPP or thiamine pyrophosphate in the liver, its active form. Thiamine pyrophosphate is essential for the proper functioning of metabolism and certain enzymes. It allows, among other things, the production of energy from sugars.

Alcohol degradation

Thiamine is directly involved in the degradation of alcohol molecules. For this reason, supplementation is often recommended to help with withdrawal from chronic alcoholism.

Vitamin B1: in which foods is it found?

Foods rich in vitamin B1 can be of plant or animal origin. These are generally common foods that are easily accessible and widely consumed in developed countries.

Here is a list of 20 foods rich in vitamin B1 (or thiamine):

Foodstuffs Serving size Amount of thiamine (mg)
Brewer’s yeast in flakes 100g 30
Sunflower seed 100g 2,3
Wheat germ 100g 2,1
Soya beans 100g 1,3
Baker’s yeast 100g 1
Fish eggs 100g 1
Macadamia nuts 100g 1,2
Salami 100g 0,9
Poppy seed 100g 0,8
Pistachio 100g 0,8
Bacon 100g 0,7
Chipolata 100g 0,7
Ham 100g 0,7
Dried bean 100g 0,7
Pecan nuts 100g 0,6
Paprika 100g 0,6
Chorizo 100g 0,6
Cumin seed 100g 0,6
Brazil nuts 100g 0,6

How to use thiamine properly?

Use of vitamin B1

The recommendations are 1.3 to 1.5mg of thiamine per day for a healthy adult.

Where can I find vitamin B1 as a supplement to my diet?

Today, many thiamin-based food supplements are available in pharmacies and specialty stores. It is generally recommended to take 100 to 1000 mg daily to help meet the body’s needs for thiamine. Thiamin-based food supplements are particularly recommended in cases of severe fatigue or undernutrition. It is also recommended during the withdrawal from chronic alcoholism and after certain digestive surgeries, in case of malabsorption. However, under no circumstances should food supplements replace a varied and balanced diet. Ask your doctor for advice.

Side effects of thiamine

Consequence of thiamine deficiency

Vitamin B1 deficiency results in loss of appetite, intense fatigue and weight loss. In cases of severe undernutrition, deficiency can result in neurological and cardiac disorders.

Consequences of excessive thiamine

There is no toxicity for vitamin B1 since the body eliminates it by urination in case of excessive consumption.

Interactions with other nutrients

Certain foods and medications can affect the proper assimilation of vitamin B1 and its action in the body. This is the case for some cruciferous and raw fish. Excessive alcohol consumption also inhibits the action of thiamine. Finally, some drugs used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease have a deleterious effect on vitamin B1 metabolism.

Chemical properties

The raw formula of thiamine is C12H17N4OS, its molecular weight is 265.355 g/mol and its decomposition temperature is 248°C. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for humans, but is synthesized by plants and bacteria.

Thiamine is a precursor of thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), its activated form in the liver. TPP is also an essential coenzyme at the metabolic level. Indeed, in the Krebs cycle, it allows the transformation of carbohydrates into energy. It is also involved in the functioning of the nervous and muscular systems.

History of the event

History of the nutrient

Thiamine is the very first vitamin to have been isolated, in 1912. Its accidental discovery was made during an attempt to find a cure for a disease called ac. abérique.

It was in 1931 that its chemical formula was established by R. Williams. Five years later, in 1936, the synthesis of vitamin B1 was carried out by the scientist Andersag.

Today, thiamine is recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization) as one of the essential medicines for humans.