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4 Major Reasons Why Your Body NEEDS Vitamin B1

Did you used to be a proud foodie but just don’t feel like eating anymore? Do you have frequent palpitations? Has the idea of a peaceful nap become a thing of the past? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you might be vitamin B1 deficient.

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Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) is an essential water-soluble micronutrient stored in small amounts in the liver that the body cannot produce on its own. This makes it necessary to keep your vitamin B1 dietary intake in check.

How exactly do you do that, though? How does it affect your energy? Or your cardiovascular health?  And what are the early symptoms of insufficiency? Today’s post will cover all that and much more.

Let’s understand what this vitamin does. Your body needs the energy to function correctly; glucose is the primary metabolic fuel that keeps your body going. When you eat food,  your body breaks down the complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into simpler glucose molecules.  Then it converts them into ATP or adenosine triphosphate, an energy-carrying molecule. Studies have shown that thiamine plays an essential role in the synthesis of ATP, which makes it an important factor in metabolism. So, why do we need vitamin B1?

#1. Do you have a hard time dealing with infections?

Here’s thiamine to the rescue. Did you know that your body has its own fighters to ward off harmful pathogens and infections?  That’s true. Your body regulates a robust system of wiping harmful microorganisms that might enter it meticulously. This is known as the immune system. Who are these fighters? The answer is your immune cells, like leukocytes, macrophages, B cells, and T cells. Vitamin B1 strengthens your immune system by supporting these immune cells and enhances your body’s natural responses. Studies have shown that thiamine can help manage sepsis, a severe condition that arises from an extreme response to a virus by the body. Infections that lead to sepsis often start in the lungs, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. Without timely treatment,  it can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. It is a  devastating medical emergency that can take an enormous toll on our lives. Vitamin C and B1,  when taken together, reduce organ failure and mortality in those with sepsis. When a harmful pathogen enters your body, it causes an infection. If you cannot stop this infection quickly, it spreads and causes sepsis. Bacterial infections cause most cases of sepsis.

Must Read: 7 Signs Your Body Is Desperate For Vitamin A

Look back and try to remember the injection your doctor used to stun you after an injury. It turns out that it was to prevent outside bacteria that might use the open wound as an opportunity to cause infection. Now that you know the reason, maybe you can forgive your doctor for that injection. Sepsis is not only limited to bacteria;  viral infections can also cause it. One of the best examples of that is COVID-19.

Must Read: EARLY WARNING SIGNS Your Body Is In Need Of Vitamin A

#2. It protects you from brain damage.

Thiamine enhances the function of your nerves and shields them from damage. Studies have shown that thiamine deficiency can cause neurological disorders like Wernicke–Korsakoff, a prominent memory disorder. This disease often reduces the brain's glucose metabolism by almost 30%. Since glucose, aka fuel, is no longer available to your body,  things start getting messy. You tend to forget basic details of your everyday life;  everything seems to be a burden, and don’t even get me started with irritability issues. However,  you can prevent this cognitive decline by including vitamin B1 in your diet.

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Vitamin B1 is also beneficial in treating Alzheimer's, a neurological disorder that severely alters your brain function, causes brain atrophy (the size of your brain shrinks),  and causes brain cells to die. This triggers cognitive decline that manifests as forgetfulness, problems with speaking, walking, coordination, behavioral changes,  and utter confusion. Alzheimer’s develops due to free radical damage. But thiamine, an antioxidant, scavenges these free radicals and prevents any harm to the brain.

Must Read: 11 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Passion Fruit

#3. It keeps your heart going!

Did you know that acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) establishes an essential link between brain-muscle communication? But you may ask, what does it have to do with my heart’s health? Well, it turns out that your heart, the most important muscle in your body,  can’t function without being told what to do by the brain. Low levels of acetylcholine impair communication links. Since your heart can no longer receive timely instructions,  it won’t perform its duties well, and you will face difficulties. Studies show that thiamine is key to the production of acetylcholine. Its absence can cause deteriorated cardiac functions, such as irregular heartbeats and palpitations. Researchers have found that sometimes a prolonged vitamin B1 insufficiency can lead to heart failure. So now you get why your entire cardiovascular system relies heavily on vitamin B1 to run efficiently.

Must Read: 15 Early Warning Signs Of Heart Disease You Should Lookout For

Evidence suggests that replenishing your thiamine stores can positively impact your heart’s health and restore its regular functions by ensuring better communication between the two most important organs of your body: your brain and heart. And guess what? Studies have found that thiamine plays a positive role in preventing diabetes. Since diabetes is a common risk factor for heart problems, it's better to prevent it at any cost if you do not want to fall prey to heart disorders.

Must Read: 10 Foods That Decrease Your Risk Of A Heart Attack

Here’s another surprise,

#4. Thiamine also supports your eye health

We often take our natural gifts for granted, just like our eyesight. Not having a nutrient-rich diet, watching late-night movies,  and excessive screen time can strain your eyes, hampering your vision. Thiamine is an essential nutrient for your eyes. Research shows that vitamin B1 helps your brain comprehend optical stimuli with increased clarity, enhances vision,  and prevents glaucoma. On the contrary, there is a theory that thiamine deficiency leads to degeneration of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve ganglion cells.

Must Read: 10 Fast and Easy Eye Exercises to Improve Your Eyesight

Evidence suggests that patients with glaucoma are often diagnosed with low thiamine levels. Glaucoma is a medical condition where your optic nerve is damaged, and you can no longer process the signals. The optic nerve is vital for sending signals back and forth between the brain and the eye. This can often result in blurred vision and a slight redness in your eyes. Studies have also shown that Vitamin B1 when complemented with other nutrients, can help prevent this disease and might even be beneficial in reversing it.

Must Read: The 16 Best Vitamin K - Rich Foods You Must Include in Your Diet

What are some signs of vitamin B1 deficiency?

Symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency are usually nonspecific and can sometimes mimic other disorders, which makes it difficult to identify them. However, there are a few symptoms to be watchful for:

01. You no longer feel hungry like you used to.

Loss of appetite can be one of the earliest signs of thiamine insufficiency. You end up eating fewer portions of food or nothing at all, which is why it is often accompanied by unintentional weight loss. Studies have shown that vitamin B1 is responsible for managing hunger and the fullness cues of your brain. Because of this, inadequate stores of this micronutrient can often meddle with your senses and tell you that you are already full even when you are not.

02. You feel worked up most of the time

Feeling fatigued all day can be a hallmark sign of thiamine deficiency. Even a simple walk in the park can drain you to the core, and you’re just left yawning all the time. Some studies suggest that fatigue can appear even in the early stages of deficiency.

03. Get ready for some random mood fluctuations 

Making a fuss about minor things and increased irritability can indicate that you are running low on thiamine reserves. Did your friends forget to tell you new gossip,  and you feel betrayed? Well, that upset mood can indicate your vitamin B1 deficiency.

04. It may manifest as tingling of the arms and legs

The feeling of “Pins and needles” in your limbs, called paresthesia, is quite common in Beri-Beri,  a medical condition synonymous with thiamine deficiency. This happens because vitamin B1 plays a vital role in the nerve functions that reach your arms and legs. A shortage of this micronutrient can trigger nerve damage and can no longer carry out transmission roles as before.

#5. The world has seemingly become blurry

Has your vision become blurred recently? Or are you just blaming the scratches on your glasses? If you cannot see clearly and everything seems a little foggy,  there’s a fair chance that your thiamine stores have depleted. Studies have shown that vitamin B1 insufficiency can cause optic nerve damage and trigger vision loss.

#6. You feel mental strain and are often confused

Evidence suggests that nerve damage due to thiamine deficiency can also lead to delirium, a medical condition characterized by severe changes in mental abilities. Random hallucinations, lack of awareness of surroundings, and a confused mind can be some of the manifestations of delirium.

#7. Sudden palpitations and chest pain

As mentioned earlier, thiamine deficiency results in irregular heartbeats and mild chest pain. So if you feel that your heart is beating faster than usual, you should get it checked, as ignoring it can only worsen your situation and lead you one step closer to heart failure.

What are some sources of Vitamin B1?

Lying on a hospital bed and regretting your past actions isn’t a good idea. It’s always better to have a proactive approach to diseases and deficiencies. After all, your health is your real wealth.

Foods like fortified breakfast cereals, pork, fish, beans, lentils, green peas, enriched bread, noodles and rice, black beans, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and yogurt can be good sources of thiamine. So, make some healthy amendments to your diet and add these foods to your grocery list. 

Are you looking to learn more about vitamins and minerals? Read 14 Great Fruits That Can Double As Medicine Or Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms That Should Never Be Ignored Go ahead! Click one, or better yet, watch both. What symptoms of vitamin  B1 deficiency did you notice? Let us know in the comments below!

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

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