You might have noticed that unlike other vitamins, there are actually many distinct characters within the B-vitamin family, each with their own characteristics. Originally it was believed that there was only one vitamin B, however as time and research developed, we now understand them to be a group of distinct compounds.
In supplemental form, you can still find the b-vitamins working together in a complex or available on their own for their individual benefits.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is a water soluble vitamin essential for many functions within the body. Thiamine functions as part of an enzyme, thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) which is required for energy production, nerve cell function, carbohydrate, fat and alcohol metabolism. Vitamin B1 enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, whilst supporting muscle tone of the intestines, stomach and heart. It is also essential for hydrochloric acid production, which is necessary for proper digestion, and plays an important role in cognitive activity and brain function, with low levels shown to impair mental function, and affect memory.
Vitamin B1 is also commonly used as a natural insect repellent, as once fully saturated, the skin produces an odor which is undetectable to humans, but disagreeable to pregnant mosquitoes.
Benfotiamine is the fat soluble form of B1, and can be found in roasted, crushed garlic, onions and leeks. Benfotiamine is thought to last longer in the body, potentially yielding therapeutic benefits which would be more appropriate for specific conditions such as diabetes. This is due to the better activation of transketolase, the enzyme which assists in keeping glucose derived compounds out of healthy blood and nerve cells.
Common Signs of Vitamin B1 Deficiency
Fatigue, forgetfulness, gastrointestinal disturbances, nervousness, numbness of the hands and feet, general malaise and weakness.
Food Sources of Vitamin B1
Brown rice, egg yolks, fish, legumes, peas, whole grains, liver, and poultry, with smaller quantities found in asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kelp, most nuts, plums, prunes, spirulina and wheatgrass.
Vitamin B1 is also found in the following herbs: alfalfa, burdock root, chamomile, chickweed, fennel, nettle, fenugreek, peppermint, red clover and parsley.
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