Vitamin B1 is also called Thiamine, and it is found in both foods and supplements. This article describes the numerous uses of vitamin B1 supplements. It discusses the way that vitamin B1 can help improve health and treat certain medical conditions. The results of scientific studies are cited to support the claims made in this article.
WebMD has reported that vitamin B1, also called thiamine, occurs naturally in foods such as cereals and grains, as well as in beans, nuts, and meats. Vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient, and it is also available as a supplement. People consume vitamin B1 for a number of health-related reasons. The research has shown that vitamin B1 provides health benefits and can even be used to treat the symptoms of certain medical conditions.
Vitamin B1 and Athletic Performance
Some research suggests that vitamin B1 could help improve athletic performance. Researchers affiliated with the University of Colima in Mexico conducted a study for publication in a 2008 edition of the Journal of International Medical Research and found that vitamin B1 had a beneficial effect on athletes. Men in the study completed aerobic exercise after consuming either a placebo or vitamin B1. Study results showed that when the men consumed the vitamin B1, they had less lactic acid build up in response to exercise, and their heart rates were lower following the exercise. Supplementation with vitamin B1 also resulted in increased oxygen consumption during exercise, suggesting that this vitamin can improve the body’s performance during intense aerobic activities.
Cardiovascular Benefits of Vitamin B1 for Diabetics
The research has shown that vitamin B1 can help improve heart health among individuals with elevated blood sugar or diabetes. A 2006 study in the Annals of Vascular Surgery assessed the impact of vitamin B1 supplementation on individuals with diabetes or elevated blood sugar. Researchers from the George Washington University Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC, conducted the study, and they discovered that vitamin B1 administration resulted in improved blood vessel functioning. The researchers concluded that vitamin B1 could prevent plaque buildup in the arteries of individuals with high blood sugar.
Vitamin B1 for Osteoarthritis
Vitamin B1 could help enhance the effects of other supplements taken to treat osteoarthritis. A 2005 study in Inflammation Research assessed the impact of vitamin B1 on rabbits with osteoarthritis. The study’s researchers, who were affiliated with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited in Japan, divided rabbits into three groups. One group took a placebo pill; another group took a supplement containing a combination of chondroitin and glucosamine, and the third group took a derivative of vitamin B1 along with the chondroitin/glucosamine supplement. Study results showed that there was a significant decrease in cartilage legions only among the rabbits taking the vitamin B1 along with the chondroitin and glucosamine. This suggests that vitamin B1 could play a critical role in treating osteoarthritis.
Dementia Risk Reduced with Vitamin B1
Among individuals who abuse alcohol, vitamin B1 could help lower the risk of developing dementia. A 2018 study in Clinical Nutrition assessed the benefits of vitamin B1 for individuals who were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. One group of study participants was treated with vitamin B1, whereas another was not. Study results found that the patients treated with vitamin B1 were significantly less likely to experience dementia. Researchers from Taiwan conducted this study.
Vitamin B1 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Vitamin B1 can be useful for patients suffering from the side effects of inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers from the Department of Neurological Rehabilitation at the Villa Immacolata in Italy conducted a study with vitamin B1 for publication in a 2013 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. They found that high doses of vitamin B1 helped eliminate fatigue among patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Vitamin B1 can help reduce fatigue and improve quality of life for individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases, in addition to treating other medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Patients being treated for diabetes or alcoholism should consider taking a vitamin B1 supplement, as it can help reduce the risk of disease-related health complications. Athletes would also be wise to supplement with vitamin B1, as their performance could improve with this vitamin. Even those without specific medical conditions can benefit from a vitamin B1 supplement. As reported by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, people use vitamin B1 for a range of purposes, including elevating energy levels, improving learning, coping with stress, boosting appetite, treating canker sores, and fighting against aging. Most people can derive benefits from this essential nutrient.
Protects Bone Health by Lowering Homocysteine Levels
Vitamin B1 helps lower levels of homocysteine, which is an amino acid that requires various B vitamins to be metabolized and converted into methionine–another amino acid. Elevated homocysteine levels are linked to lower bone density and increased rate of osteoporosis and bone fracture. In a German study on older women, vitamin B1 status was assessed, along with homocysteine levels. It showed that women with lower vitamin B1 levels also had higher amounts of homocysteine in the blood, indicating a higher risk of bone health problems. Researchers suggested that vitamin B1 supplementation could help prevent these issues, especially in older women, who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis and may have difficulty absorbing B vitamins from food.
A survey on orthopedic patients found that people with neck fractures were more likely to have a low vitamin B1 status, suggesting it could play a role in the risk of bone fracture.
Helps Reduces Joint Pain and Inflammation
Vitamin B1 is shown to help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. In a study on rats with arthritis, vitamin B1 supplementation reduced inflammatory markers and symptoms, including edema and pain. This suggested that vitamin B1 could potentially play a role in treating arthritis regardless of one’s vitamin B1 status .
Helps Improve Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal disease involving widespread pain, fatigue, and tenderness in specific areas. The cause of it is unknown, though it hasn’t been linked to vitamin B1 deficiency. Interestingly, however, a study found that high doses of vitamin B1 can improve symptoms of this disease, including widespread chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. The doses were given at 600 to 1800 mg per day and produced improvements within just one month’s time.
Supports Cellular Energy Production
Vitamin B1 can be useful for increasing energy production in the body. In 2006, a researcher from Preventive Medicine Group in Westlake, Ohio, reviewed studies that assessed the benefits of vitamin B1 and published his work in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This researcher advised that vitamin B1 plays a role in glucose metabolism and is necessary for helping the body to process carbohydrates. He further indicated that vitamin B1 has demonstrated that it is involved in multiple processes associated with energy metabolism. In particular, Thiamine diphosphate, a derivative of vitamin B1, plays a role in starting the citric acid cycle, which involves the release of energy from the macronutrients within foods. The science suggests that vitamin B1 is necessary for providing the body with the energy it needs to function optimally.