You have heard quite a bit about vitamins in today’s media. Amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and C are the most talked about vitamins.
It seems like every day we hear about a new vitamin touted to help us feel better.
However, there are B vitamins that are little known but just as beneficial. One B vitamin that you should take notice of is Thiamine Mononitrate or vitamin B1.
Here are a few important things you should know about the benefits of this vitamin.
What Is Thiamine mononitrate?
Thiamine mononitrate is in the B vitamin group and is water soluble. Because of this, thiamine is not stored by the body after consumption.
It is critical to cell growth in the body and is also responsible for helping the body metabolize energy.
Fat metabolism is another important function of this B vitamin.
Thiamine is found in some types of foods and can also be taken in supplement form.
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Where Does It Come From?
There are an abundance of foods we eat every day that contain thiamine.
Proteins such as pork, chicken, organ meat and beef have the highest amounts of thiamine mononitrate in food form. Other common food sources include legumes, nuts, whole grain cereal, rice, yeast, bran, and molasses.
You can also take a vitamin supplement to increase your intake of thiamine mononitrate. B complex supplements such as gel caplets, tables or in liquid form. You can find these supplements at health food or vitamin shops near you.(1)
Can You Get Too Much Of It?
Thiamine mononitrate is typically safe when consumed in moderate doses. Most Americans get sufficient amounts of thiamine in their average daily diet.
While it is considered safe, taking higher than recommended doses of thiamine can cause an upset stomach.
In addition, taking thiamine for extended periods of time can cause you to become deficient in other B vitamins.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough?
While it is uncommon to be deficient in thiamine, it can happen. Certain health conditions such as alcoholism, HIV and taking some medicines can cause thiamine deficiency.
The early symptoms of thiamine deficiency include confusion, weakness, memory loss and lack of appetite.
The most common condition caused by this deficiency is beriberi.
Symptoms associated with beriberi include impaired motor senses, reflex impairment and in some cases, heart problems.
In the United States, thiamine deficiency is most commonly manifested as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome is most common in those with chronic alcohol problem, drug dependency and AIDS.(2)(3)
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is very serious and can be fatal if left untreated. Chronic thiamine mononitrate deficiency causes symptoms such as severe disorientation, confusion, and short-term memory loss.
Can You Be Allergic To It?
In all the vitamin groups, thiamine is the most likely to cause allergic symptoms.
Mild negative symptoms include flushing of the skin, nausea, feeling of restlessness and sweating. These symptoms generally remain mild and diminish over time.
However, you can have a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction to thiamine mononitrate. It is important to realize the seriousness of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.(4)
The primary symptoms of this type of reaction include wheezing, hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath.
If you ever experience any of these symptoms after taking a thiamine supplement, see emergency medical treatment. With this condition, time is of the essence.(5)
Is Thiamine Good For You?
There are many health benefits of getting enough thiamine. It maintains heart health, supports mucous membranes, increases cell growth and increases energy.
The most beneficial thing about thiamine mononitrate is that it helps the body turn food into energy. Doctors sometimes use thiamine to treat medical conditions such as alcohol withdrawal.
Studies have shown that thiamine supplementation can ease the pain associated with alcohol withdrawal. It can also decrease the severity of withdrawal in some people. This is important information as withdrawing from alcohol can lead to many complications and in certain instances, death.
What Side Effects You Can Experience?
There are few serious side effects associated with thiamine mononitrate.(6)
Some of the least serious effects include sweating, warm skin, flushed skin, body rash and itchy skin. It can also cause some people to have throat tightness as well as a feeling of restlessness.
As previously discussed, a severe allergic reaction may include anaphylactic shock. This condition is life threatening and immediate medical attention is necessary if you experience its symptoms.
Severe symptoms include hives, tongue swelling, swelling of the lips, breathing problems and bluish lips.
What Precautions I Can Take?
Avoid using thiamine mononitrate supplements if you have a known history of allergic reactions to it.
While thiamine is thought to be safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, avoid taking excess amounts during this time.
If you have known medical conditions such as diabetes, avoid taking supplements without asking to a health care professional because it can cause a change in blood sugar.
Thiamine can also interact negatively with drugs that are used for Alzheimer’s disease, birth control, heart conditions and cancer.
It can also affect the performance of certain antibiotics, thyroid medicines, and nervous system medications. If you have any medical conditions of concern, always speak with your doctor before adding thiamine to your vitamin regimen.
Thiamine is safe for most people to consume. However, most people do get enough in their daily diet and do not need to use a vitamin supplement. Thiamine mononitrate is found in many of the foods we eat. This means that you are getting enough if you have a well-balanced daily diet.
Our bodies need thiamine mononitrate to maximize the energy we get from the food we eat. It also has a variety of important benefits.
If your doctor suspects you have a thiamine deficiency, you may be prescribed a supplement.
If so, be sure keep all your laboratory appointments and never take more than the prescribed dose.