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August 8, 2021

Nutrient Profile - Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1

Always consult your primary physician when starting a nutrition program with Vitamin B1.

Extended Food Lists: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) & Thyroid Hormone

Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, is a B complex vitamin. It is found in many foods and is vitally important to keeping a body operating properly. 

"Thiamine is involved in many body functions including the nervous system, heart and muscles," said Dr. Sherry Ross, gynecologist and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. "It is also important in the flow of electrolytes in and out of nerve and muscle cells, enzymatic processes and carbohydrate metabolism."

There are many natural ways to add thiamine-rich foods to an everyday diet. Food sources of thiamine include beef, liver, dried milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast.  Foods are also fortified with thiamine. Some foods that are often fortified with B1 are rice, pasta, breads, cereals and flour. 

Health Benefits of Thiamine

Thiamine is used to treat people who have heart disease, metabolic disorders, aging, canker sores, cataracts, glaucoma and motion sickness. There are many studies that seem to back up some of these uses. For example, research published by the Vietnamese American Medical Research Foundation found thiamine might improve the cognitive function of patients with Alzheimer's disease. This vitamin is important for a wide range of brain functions and ailments in others, as well.

According to the UMM, thiamine is sometimes called an "anti-stress" vitamin. Research has found that B1 may strengthen the immune system and improve the body's ability to control mood and physiological impairments due to stress.

"Thiamine is also used for maintaining a positive mental attitude, preventing memory loss, enhancing learning abilities, fighting stress and increasing energy," Ross told Live Science. Thiamine injections are also given to patients who have a memory disorder called Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Ross added. 

B1 may also be good for treating other impairments. According to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, many studies have also concluded that B1, along with other vitamins, may prevent cataracts. A study by the Laboratory of Pharmacotherapy at the Osaka University of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Takatsuki, Japan found that thiamine has a potential to prevent obesity and metabolic disorders in rats. Other researchers believe that vitamin B plays a part in the body's metabolism and may be interregnal to the treatment of metabolic disorders.

Among thiamine's many benefits are metabolic regulation, stomach acid release, and improved fat and protein digestion. The brain and nervous system, especially, rely heavily on the energy stimulated by thiamine.

Good sources of Thiamine include:

  • Beef liver
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Lentils, cooked
  • Macadamia nuts, raw
  • Edamame, cooked
  • Pork loin, cooked
  • Asparagus
  • Fortified breakfast cereal
  • Enriched, fortified, and whole grain products such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and flour
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds

Top 15 Thiamine Foods

What foods contain thiamine? Here is a list of the top thiamine-rich foods to include in your diet, with some general serving/portion size recommendations:

  1. Nutritional Yeast — 2 tablespoons: 9.6 milligrams (640 percent DV)
  2. Seaweed (Such as Spirulina) — 1 cup seaweed: 2.66 milligrams (216 percent DV)
  3. Sunflower Seeds — 1 cup: 2 milligrams (164 percent DV)
  4. Macadamia Nuts— 1 cup: 1.6 milligrams (132 percent DV)
  5. Black Beans — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.58 milligram (48 percent DV)
  6. Lentils — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.53 milligram (44 percent DV)
  7. Organic Edamame/Soybeans — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.53 milligram (44 percent DV)
  8. Navy Beans — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.53 milligram (44 percent DV)
  9. White Beans —1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.53 milligram (44 percent DV)
  10. Green Split Peas — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.48 milligram (40 percent DV)
  11. Pinto beans — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.46 mg (39 percent DV)
  12. Mung Beans — 1/3 cup dried, or about 1 cup cooked: 0.42 milligram (36 percent DV)
  13. Beef Liver — 1 3 oz. piece cooked: 0.32 milligram (26 percent DV)
  14. Asparagus — 1 cup cooked: 0.3 milligram (25 percent DV)
  15. Brussels Sprouts — 1 cup cooked: 0.16 milligram (13 percent DV)

Other thiamine foods include spinach, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, potatoes, sesame seeds, rice bran, wheat germ, oats, barley, dairy products like yogurt or cheese, oranges, and organ meats.

Are high-protein foods like meat, fish and pork a good source of thiamine? Most foods high in protein do provide some thiamine — plus they are good sources of other B vitamins, like B12 and B6. Fish and pork are especially high in thiamine. I don’t recommend eating much or any pork products, considering pork is usually found in processed meats and can contain additives, lots of sodium and contaminants. A better option is to get thiamine from wild-caught fish, especially types like herring and salmon.

Thiamine is a vitamin, also called vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is found in many foods including yeast, cereal grains, beans, nuts, and meat. It is often used in combination with other B vitamins, and found in many vitamin B complex products. Vitamin B complexes generally include vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin/niacinamide), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), and folic acid. However, some products do not contain all of these ingredients and some may include others, such as biotin, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), choline bitartrate, and inositol.

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