Thiamine is vitamin B1, a member of the B complex group of vitamins. It’s especially important in the body for nervous system and muscle function. Thiamine acts as a coenzyme for carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. Your body needs this B vitamin to produce hydrochloric acid so you can digest your food properly. Vitamin B1 is closely tied to energy, cholesterol and neurotransmitter production in the body.
A vitamin B1 blood test tests for deficiencies or excesses of the vitamin.
Normal Ranges for Vitamin B1 in ug/dL:
Adults: 2.5-7.5 ug/dL
Critical Range: outside the normal range
Vitamin B1 deficiency can start out with fatigue, depression, irritability, sleep disturbances, GI disturbances from carbohydrates, and neuropathy (burning feet sensation). Deficiency is called beriberi. It can lead to rapid heart rate and heart enlargement. This could then cause breathing difficulties and congestive heart failure.
Beriberi can also cause mental and cognitive impairments when related to alcohol abuse. Some of these symptoms of vitamin deficiency include dementia, amnesia, confusion, abnormal eye movements, seizures and difficulty walking,
The needs for vitamin B1 increase during pregnancy, breast feeding, strenuous activity, growth spurts and during a fever.
Some specific causes of low vitamin B1 might be:
- Poor dietary intake
- Chronic alcohol consumption
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Consuming African silkworms or ferns (These foods contain an enzyme called thiaminase that destroys thiamine.)
- Consuming tea and coffee (decaffeinated or caffeinated) in large amounts (contains thiaminase)
- Consuming raw, fresh-water fish or raw shellfish (These foods contain thiaminase.)
- The use of diuretics
- Digestive disorders (Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, absorption of nutrient problems)
- Kidney dialysis
High levels of thiamine are rare but may occur if excessive amounts of the vitamin are consumed, either in supplements or from foods.
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