Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Origin, Dosage, And Benefits For The Brain.

Vitamin B1 is often referred to as the “mood vitamin”. In fact, thiamine is an essential vitamin for our body. Not only does it play an important role in the nervous system, but it is also involved in energy metabolism and heart health.

We usually get enough vitamin B1 from food, but at certain times in our lives, such as with age, we may feel better by supplementing. 

Even if vitamins, in general, are nowadays commonly sold in pharmacies or health food stores, it is important to know their properties and dosage, to avoid the risk of overdosing.

In this article, we will present the properties of vitamin B1 and everything you need to know if you wish to supplement.

Presentation Of Vitamin B1 Or Thiamine.

Vitamin 1 – Definition.

Vitamin B1 or thiamine is one of the B-complex vitamins. It is present in unrefined cereals, beans, and liver. It is a sulfur derivative of thiazole and pyrimidine. Its deficiency causes beriberi. It is essential for normal metabolism, and in particular for energy production.

The Basics About Thiamine.

Vitamin B1 can be purchased without a prescription as a dietary supplement. It can be taken alone or in combination with other B-complex vitamins. You will find it either under the name of vitamin B1 or under the name of thiamine.

Thiamine is involved in about 25 enzymatic processes that are essential for energy and carbohydrate metabolism. A well-stocked person’s supply is about 25 to 30 mg. The highest concentrations of B1 are found in the heart and skeletal muscles, as well as in the liver, kidneys, and brain. 

If too little thiamine is ingested with food, these organs will experience functional impairment. However, this essential vital substance can be useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases.

Where Does Thiamine Deficiency Come From? 

The main deficiencies occur in people who suffer from a disease of the digestive system. Alcohol consumption also contributes to a decrease in the level of vitamin B1 in the body.

Other reasons for a possible B1 deficiency include:

  • Diets. 
  • Eating Disorders. 
  • Stress. 
  • Competitive Sports. 
  • Smoking. 
  • Various Medications (birth control pills, acid blockers, antibiotics, blood pressure medications, antivirals, and sulfonamides).

Coffee, black tea, and sulfites (sulfur-containing preservatives used in foods such as dried fruit or wine) are also antagonists of vitamin B1.

Vitamin B1: What Are The Indications?

The authorized indications for vitamin B1 are as follows:

  • It contributes to normal energy metabolism.
  • It contributes to normal mental functioning. 
  • It contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
  • It contributes to normal heart function.

These are the scientifically proven indications that can be used to promote food supplements containing at least 0.17 mg of thiamine per daily dose (15% of the reference value). 

In What Form Should I Take Vitamin B1?

Thiamine is available in isolated form, as a dietary supplement, generally in tablet or capsule form. It is also used in the composition of B-complex tablets or is offered in combination with other active ingredients in food supplements for nervous, cognitive, or cardiac functions.

Thiamine tablets are not reimbursed by the social security system, but some complementary health insurance companies may cover them as part of a contract for the reimbursement of complementary medicine. Social security reimburses the injectable form.

Symptoms Of Vitamin B1 Deficiency.

There are many symptoms that may indicate a vitamin B1 deficiency. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Heart problems.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Macular degeneration.
  • Hypotension.
  • Nervousness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Depression.
  • Memory problems.
  • Concentration problems.

It is possible to have a vitamin B1 dosage done in case of health problems. A blood test is necessary to determine the level. Only acute deficiencies require a medical injection of thiamine. Most people take thiamine as a dietary supplement, orally, in tablet form, with a glass of water.

How To Use Vitamin B1?

How To Consume Thiamine?

Depending on your age, if you have memory problems, you may want to supplement with vitamin B1. Food supplements are generally low in dosage and there is little risk of overdosing. Thiamine is not a drug, so it doesn’t matter if you forget to take your tablet. Just remember to take it the next day!

You can also opt for this health food supplement if you are going through an intense or difficult period, where you suffer from intense stress. You will be able to recover better and you will sleep better. Also, think about enriching your diet with dishes containing a lot of thiamine. 

It is considered that vitamin B1 intake should be 1.3 mg per day for a man and 1.2 mg per day for a woman. However, in the case of a proven deficiency, your doctor may prescribe much more, between 250 and 1000 mg per day. 

In particular cases, vitamin B1 has shown beneficial effects on the brain and cognitive abilities:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: a study showed improvement in memory for patients who received 300 mg per day for 6 months.
  • Depression: there is no research that has clearly established the dosage, but according to specialists, the dosage must be high, with medical follow-up, and progressive adaptation of the quantities administered. 

Precautions To Take.

Taking thiamine does not require any particular precautions. You can take it with any meal. You can obviously drive since this vitamin has no hypnotic effect and does not cause drowsiness. 

Concerning the conservation of the product, it is enough to keep it at room temperature and to respect the expiration date written on the packaging.

Risks And Dangers Of Vitamin B1.

Precautions For Use.

Only a part of thiamine can be assimilated by the body and the rest is eliminated by the kidneys, in the urine. This is why there is no risk of overdosing on this health product. There is no maximum dose.

The absorption of thiamine may be limited by chronic digestive problems, alcoholism, digestive surgery, or kidney dialysis. The consumption of certain otherwise healthy foods such as cruciferous vegetables reduces the absorption of B1. This is especially true when eaten raw since the enzyme responsible is inactivated during cooking.


It is recommended that pregnant women take no more than 3 mg of thiamine per day.

Side Effects.

There are few side effects, but it is better to know them, in case you are more sensitive than other people to vitamin B1. You can then reduce the dose.

  • Sweating.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea.
  • Skin depigmentation.
  • Severe allergy.

Interaction With Medications.

You should always tell your doctor if you are taking any dietary supplements. This allows him to judge their compatibility with the treatment he prescribes. 

Vitamin B1 interacts with antacids, which are widely prescribed nowadays for stomach acid and reflux. Similarly, diuretics contribute to a B1 deficiency, as do certain chemotherapy products (e.g. Fluorouracil).

Opinions On Vitamin B1.

Health Professionals’ Opinion On The Drug.

In general, vitamin B1 is little used by allopathic medicine. It is mainly found in a pharmaceutical preparation from Bayer Laboratories, associated with vitamin B6.

One of the undisputed experts on the subject is Dr. Constantini, who has studied its benefits in patients with Parkinson’s disease. According to him, “thiamine is fundamental for our body to burn sugar; it acts as a spark in the engine, as a lubricant and as a carburetor. It plays a vital role for our body in the production of energy”.

Vitamin B1 supplementation is used more in natural medicine and naturopathy. The naturopath Yves Cassard underlines the interest in this vitamin: 

  • In the management of stress. 
  • Against anxieties. 
  • For the protection of the cardiovascular system.
  • Against skin problems such as dermatitis.

User Reviews And Testimonials.

Buying Guide: Thiamine.

Remember that if you choose to supplement with vitamin B1, it is for health reasons and to boost your metabolism. It is therefore important to choose a quality product. Many synthetic vitamins are poorly dosed or poorly assimilated. 

Avoid unreliable products and buy your products from trusted partners.

Buying Vitamin B1 In A Pharmacy.

Several laboratories offer vitamin B1 and you can obtain it from your pharmacist, who will also be able to advise you on the dosage and duration of the treatment.

The best known medical specialty is Bevitine, available as an injectable solution or in tablets. You may also be offered the B1/B6 combination from Bayer Laboratories or vitamin B1 from Arrow Conseil Laboratories.

Finally, many pharmacies sell a range of food supplements: for example, Juvamine thiamine, combined with magnesium and other B vitamins, Solgar vitamin B1, or Nuthera.

If you can’t find the specialty or the dosage you are looking for, don’t hesitate to turn to an online pharmacy, which will also allow you to have the product delivered directly to your home. 

Buy Vitamin B1 Online.

You will find more choices in online health food stores since it is a food supplement. Here are a few preparations that we found interesting.

One of the only brands to market isolated vitamin B1 is Solgar (see above). You can, however, combine thiamine with other B-complex vitamins; they tend to reinforce each other. For example, if thiamine is involved in energy metabolism, so is vitamin B12.

You could therefore opt for a B complex:

  • For example the one from Be Life Laboratories, at 10.90 euros.
  • Or the B complex from Vitall + (28,90 euros).


Why Do We Need Thiamine?

Thiamine is one of the B-complex vitamins. It is also called vitamin B1. We need thiamine to use the carbohydrates we eat. Thiamine helps turn carbohydrates into energy. The body also needs thiamine to metabolize some of the amino acids that make up protein.

How Should Foods Be Prepared To Provide Maximum Thiamine?

Thiamine can be lost or destroyed in foods when they are cooked, especially if they have a long cooking time or are cooked in large amounts of water. However, since there are many sources of vitamin B1 in the diet, this is not a problem to worry about.

Is It Necessary To Take Vitamin B1 Supplements? 

Most people get plenty of thiamine in their diet, so supplements are generally not necessary. However, absorption can be insufficient with age and deficiencies can occur. Thiamine is present in most multivitamin supplements. Research has not yet found any problems associated with consuming large doses of thiamine.

Why The Name Vitamin B1 For Thiamine?

It was the first of the B-complex vitamins to be isolated in the 1930s.

Why Does Thiamine Benefit The Brain?

Thiamine’s benefits are not limited to the brain and cognitive functions. It also contributes to energy, metabolism and supports the action of the heart. Nevertheless, it has a beneficial effect on the nerves, like most of the B vitamins. 

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