Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is essential for your body to process carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The vitamin really should be called the “energy maker,” as it is crucial for energy metabolism. The food you eat needs to be broken down into energy that your body uses immediately or stores for later use. Thiamine converts blood sugar into energy. Each of your cells needs thiamine in order to create “adenosine triphosphate” — a molecule that carries energy.
Knowing this link between thiamine and energy production, it is not surprising that researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. have discovered that deficiency of thiamine may be key to a range of problems for people with diabetes. This is an entirely new health breakthrough, as thiamine deficiency in diabetes has remained hidden until now. After conducting a review of current studies, they reported that thiamine supplementation may prevent and reverse early-stage diabetic nephropathy (disease or damage to the kidney due to diabetes). They speculated that thiamine likely helps counter the adverse effects of high glucose concentration when they observed that the vitamin prevented the development of early-stage nephropathy in diabetic rats.
If you are diabetic, you might want to have your thiamine levels checked. Even if you don’t suffer from diabetes, it’s still a good idea to know how your B1 levels are, as the vitamin sort of acts like an alternative cure for a whole host of medical problems. If you have a mild deficiency of this vitamin, you are prone to mood swings, and feelings of fear, uneasiness, depression, and confusion. Other symptoms can include loss of appetite, sleep problems, muscle weakness, weight loss, and abdominal pain. Your memory may also be impaired.
You can find thiamine hydrochloride or thiamine nitrate in supplement form. Here’s some health advice, though, before you start supplementing: your body’s need for thiamine changes depending on age and gender. The recommended daily intake, which does not refer to any therapeutic use, is 1.5 mg a day for men and 1.1 mg a day for women. In multivitamins or B-complex vitamins, you’ll find doses of about three mg a day. There is no maximum dose established, because it is not known to cause any toxicity, whether you get substantial amounts through your food or through supplements. Ask for your doctor’s advice when determining the amount of thiamine you need.