Thiamin Sources and Functions

girls eating bread

Thiamin Sources and Functions

Vitamin B1

All of the B vitamins work together to keep you healthy and feeling good. Here is a summary of the role of thiamin, a water-soluble vitamin, in your good health.

What it does Functions as a coenzyme to help release energy from the food you eat
Daily needs [Infants*: .2-.3 mg][Children†: .5-.9 mg][Men: 1.2mg]
[Women: 1.1 mg][Pregnant: 1.4 mg][Lactating: 1.4 mg]
Not enough Muscle weakness, Lack of energy, Irritability
SEVERE- Beriberi
Too Much No known toxic effects
Foods Whole or enriched grain products, Meat-especially pork, Legumes, Winter squash, Nuts

*The lower value is for infants up to 6 mos., the higher value is for infants up to a year old.
† The first value is for children 1-3 with the amount increasing until age 18.

Alcoholics are at particular risk for thiamin deficiency, since alcohol inhibits the ability of the body to absorb thiamin. This means that even if an alcoholic is eating lots of thiamin-rich food, the body may not have access to enough thiamin to maintain good health. If alcohol is replacing food in the diet, there could also be a thiamin deficiency.

Destroyed by Heat

Thiamin is destroyed by excessive heat, so cooking methods, such as steaming should be used whenever possible.

In general, people who live in developed countries like the United States get enough thiamin. However, those suffering from eating disorders or living in poverty may not be eating enough food to get sufficient thiamin in their diet.

The sources of thiamin listed above are the best sources, but many foods contain small amounts of thiamin. If you eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups, you will more than likely get enough thiamin.

When you need more of this B vitamin

You should know that the need for thiamin is greater under certain conditions:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast-feeding
  • Adolescent growth
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Fever
  • Consuming large amounts of coffee
  • Frequent use of diuretics

Studies are ongoing regarding the role of thiamin in preventing disease.


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