A lot is going on in the world today, and stress levels are maxed out for millions of people. Right now is not a good time to be lacking in this essential vitamin that plays a vital role not only in converting what you eat into energy but also in keeping your central nervous system functioning smoothly. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is one of the eight essential vitamins that your body can’t make on its own but is highly necessary for health and wellbeing. Is your body giving you subtle signs that you need more of this vitamin? Read on to find out.
Thiamine is found in generous amounts in the skeletal muscles, but it is also present in the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart. Researchers have noted, on numerous occasions, that vitamin B1 is the primary “B” needed on a daily basis.
Thiamine is useful for maintaining an upbeat mood, boosting cognitive function, increasing energy, derailing stress, and preventing memory loss, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The signs of deficiency are subtle and sometimes hard to connect, but if you listen to your body it might just be telling you that your B1 reservoirs are running low. Here are some symptoms of thiamine deficiency to be on the lookout for.
Loss of appetite
Do you feel full and satisfied even when you have not eaten anything? This could be one sign that you lack in vitamin B1. Researchers have found that thiamine controls the satisfaction center of the brain. This means that a deficiency could lead to a reduced appetite. Studies in rats found that rats fed a diet lacking in B1 ate considerably less after day 16 of the study. On day 22, it was found that rats had a 69-74% decrease in food intake.
Thiamine plays a primary role in converting food to energy, so it is no surprise that a deficiency can result in a lack of get up and go. Depending on the severity of the deficiency, you might feel a little energy zapped or be completely exhausted. Because fatigue can be an indicator of many health-related conditions, it is easy to overlook. Numerous studies have found a link between thiamine deficiency and fatigue.
Are you feeling agitated and frustrated? Perhaps you are easily upset and just downright irritable. This can be caused by several physical, psychological, and medical conditions. It can also be the first sign of a thiamine deficiency showing up within days or weeks.
Tingling in arms and legs
The condition known as paresthesia causes a tingling or burning sensation in the upper and lower extremities and is a telltale sign of vitamin B1 deficiency. The peripheral nerves that run down to the arms and legs are heavily dependent on thiamine. A serious deficiency can cause peripheral nerve damage.
A severe thiamine deficiency can cause swelling of the optic nerve, which results in blurred vision. In research studies, it has been found that supplementation of thiamine resulted in vision improvement in patients showing a deficiency.
Shortness of breath
A deficiency in vitamin B1 impacts heart function, which can cause shortness of breath, especially upon exertion. A lack of thiamine can cause heart failure when the heart is not as efficient at pumping blood. Fluid can build up in the lungs, which makes it hard to breathe. Keep in mind that shortness of breath can be a symptom of many other medical conditions for which a physician should be consulted.
Changes in heart rate
A lack of thiamine can result in a reduced heart rate. In studies of thiamine-deficient rats, researchers have found that their heart rates were lower than average. A lower than normal heart rate can result in dizziness, increased fatigue, and even fainting.
Many studies have linked thiamin deficiency to confusion and thick brain fog. A strong connection has been found between older adults who experience confusion and a lack of vitamin B1.
Foods that contain vitamin B1
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B1 is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. Many foods contain small amounts of thiamine, including fish, meat, nuts, and seeds. Here is a breakdown of some rich sources of vitamin B1.
- Macadamia nuts raw ( 80% RDA)
- Pork loin, cooked ( 37% RDA)
- Black beans, cooked ( 16% RDA)
- Beef liver ( 13% RDA)
- Asparagus (10% RDA)
You can also find many kinds of cereal, types of bread, and grains that are fortified with thiamine. Taking a B complex supplement can help you get the required amount of vitamin B1 if you are deficient and not able to get enough from your diet.
-The UpWellness Team