Thiamin Sources and Functions

Thiamin Sources and Functions

girls eating bread

Vitamin B1

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 below 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.

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.

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

Those who drink alcohol in excess 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.

When you need more of this B vitamin

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



-Adolescent growth

-Strenuous exercise


-Consuming large amounts of coffee

-Frequent use of diuretics

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

From the time you were a child and your parents gave you those cute vitamins shaped like cartoon favorites, you probably figured out that you need vitamins to be healthy. In fact, when the subject of vitamins comes up, many people think of supplements, not real food.

It is generally agreed that the best way to get the vitamins you need is from the foods you eat. Even if you take a vitamin pill, the idea is to supplement the foods in your diet, not replace them.

The vitamins in food seem to be more accessible to your body, than vitamins from pills because they are not isolated, but surrounded by bioflavinoids and other chemicals that work with them to keep you healthy and feeling well.

This is not to say you should not take a vitamin supplement; many healthy eating experts recommend that you do. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that a pill can be as effective as nutritious whole foods in your diet.

Click here to go from Healthy Eating Vitamins 2 page to Whole Wheat Bread Recipe page.