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Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Supplement Benefits and Dosage

Find out the benefits of thiamine (also known as vitamin B1), and why it’s important for braincare.

ingredients 08 thiamine-B1 illustration
Sophie Medlin
Sophie Medlin
Head of Nutritional Research
April 14, 2020
6 min read

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1 is an essential vitamin, which everyone needs. It helps with processing food into energy and is used by every tissue in the body. In this article, we’ll go through what thiamine is,  vitamin B1 functions in our bodies, what the benefits are, and what the symptoms of a deficiency are.

Article breakdown

What is thiamine?

Thiamine is a water-soluble nutrient. It plays a vital role in metabolism, helping the body break down and release energy from food. It’s also important in maintaining the health of the nervous system.

It can’t be stored in the body, and therefore we need to get thiamine from an outside source, every day. Vitamin B1 is present in several common foodstuffs, such as whole grains, peas, nuts and lean pork.

Typically, it hasn’t been considered a nutrient that we are often deficient in. However, we conducted a vitamin deficiency study to establish levels of 5 different B vitamins, and found that 71% of participants were deficient or borderline deficient in B1.

Thiamine (vitamin B1) dosage

The nutrient reference value (NRV) is around 1.2mg per day. In every dose of the Heights Smart Supplement there is 30mg (equal to 20 bowls of fortified cereal or 100 mussels), this is 2727% of the NRV. The NRV is really the minimum amount and higher doses have been shown to be beneficial.

This is why we choose to include a higher dose in the Smart Supplement, to make sure you are getting all the benefits from thiamine.

The best foods for thiamine (vitamin B1)

You can get thiamine from a variety of food sources, both animal-based and vegan. Some of the best examples are:

  • Rice

  • Wholegrain breads

  • Fortified cereals

  • Mussels

  • Pork

  • Liver

  • Peas

  • Nuts

How thiamine interacts with other B vitamins

While thiamine is available through diet, many people can benefit from supplementation. To optimise the release of energy, it’s best to consume thiamine with other B vitamins. You can read more about each of these vitamins here:

The benefits of thiamine

As we mentioned above, thiamine is one of the essential vitamins that we all need. So what is thiamine used for? It’s used by every cell in the body. Among its most important benefits, vitamin B1 function is:

  • Essential for energy release.

  • Important in the growth, development, and function of cells.

  • Key to maintaining the health of the nervous system.

There have also been studies that suggest high thiamine levels are beneficial to mental health. In a study that supplemented thiamine alongside antidepressants, symptoms were alleviated faster.

What are thiamine deficiency symptoms?

In its early stages, a thiamine deficiency can lead to weight loss, confusion, and short-term memory loss. If left untreated over a long period of time, it could result in cardiovascular symptoms, such as an enlarged heart, and higher risks of depression.

A thiamine deficiency can also lead to a condition known as beriberi, which can be very serious. Early on, it can manifest in fatigue and drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and even anorexia, while if left, patients can develop neuropathy, paraesthesia, and congestive heart failure. Luckily, though, beriberi is rare. Not getting enough thiamine is likely going to result in nothing more than a lack of energy.

Thiamine and alcohol addiction

Misuse of alcohol can damage the body and mind in complex ways, including the depletion of essential vitamins and nutrients. Thiamine (vitamin B1) functions include processing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to be used as energy by the heart and brain, so not getting enough B1 can severely affect the body. 

A thiamine deficiency can be caused by excess drinking in two ways:

  • A lack of vital nutrition from a poor diet. 

  • By damaging the stomach lining. 

Alcohol can cause various digestive issues, including inflammation and erosion in the stomach and digestive tract. The inflammation of the stomach lining prevents nutrients, including thiamine, to be adequately absorbed into the body. 

Essential for brain function, one of the first signs of a vitamin B1 deficiency is confusion, delirium, and memory loss. Ongoing research also suggests that heavy drinking can also lead to alcohol-induced dementia.

Treatment for a deficiency can be administered through a thiamine tablet which is given daily. In severe cases, medical specialists can inject vitamin B1. However, if the underlying cause of the body’s inability to absorb thiamine is alcohol addiction, the most crucial step in reversing the damage is finding a way to quit drinking. 

Are there any side effects to thiamine?

There aren’t any known side effects to thiamine, in any quantity. That means that there’s no established safe upper limit (SUL), and we can pack a lot of it into the Smart Supplement.

How we use thiamine in the Smart Supplement

At Heights, we've formulated the Smart Supplement with vitamin B1 from thiamine hydrochloride in tablet form for a slow-release.. You can be sure that:

  • Each dose contains 2727% of the NRV for thiamine.

  • Our thiamine is pure and quality-tested.

  • Everything is manufactured in small batches.

  • It meets many common dietary and lifestyle practices: it's gluten-free, 100% plant-based, allergen-free and contains absolutely zero GMOs, contaminants, fillers or colourants.

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Heights Smart Supplement with blueberries and a snap pea
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Here’s a handful of relevant scientific studies on vitamin B1 (thiamine).

We also used these sources when writing this article:

  • Smart Supplement
  • Braincare Journal
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