Why vitamin B1 (thiamine) is so important: effect and daily requirement

Vitamin B1 is mainly required for energy metabolism and therefore plays a vital role in the body. You can learn more about the effect and daily requirements here.

vitamin B1 belongs, as is easily clear from the name, to the group of B vitamins. They are soluble in water and generally the body cannot store them. Therefore, they must be consumed through food.

Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine. It functions in the body as a so-called coenzyme and, therefore, is part of a series of vital processes. Here you can read information about its effects on the body.

What is vitamin B1?

According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), vitamin B1 is part of enzymes. It is necessary for energy production and plays an important role in the nervous system and also in heart health. Chemically, vitamin B1 is also called thiamine. It is sensitive to heat and oxygen.

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Effect: Why does the body need vitamin B1?

The Society for Applied Vitamin Research (GVF) states the following functions in a fact sheet on vitamin B1:

  • Energy gain from food.
  • Synthesis of nucleic acids (including DNA)
  • Conduction of nerve impulses.

A thiamine deficiency can have serious consequences on the body. In addition to symptoms such as lack of appetite or digestive disorders, according to the GVF, a deficiency can also be manifested by depressive moods or poor memory.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) maintains a table or list on the effects of vitamin B1 in which health-related claims about minerals, etc. are recorded. The following claims about thiamine have been scientifically confirmed:

  • thiamine contributes to normality Energy metabolism in
  • thiamine Contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
  • thiamine Contributes to normal psychological function.
  • thiamine Contributes to the normal functioning of the heart.

According to the consumer advice center, it is important to keep in mind that it is about “maintaining normal bodily functions.” Anyone who already has a sufficient supply of vitamin B1 should not necessarily expect an increase in performance or other health improvements.

How much vitamin B1 does the body need per day?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B1 depends on age and living conditions. According to the DGE, the need increases to 1.4 milligrams per day during puberty for men and 1.1 milligrams per day for women. Starting at age 19, women should consistently consume 1 milligram of thiamine per day, unless they are pregnant. Then the need increases slightly to 1.2 or 1.3 milligrams. Men between 19 and 25 years old should consume 1.3 milligrams, up to 51 years old it is 1.2 and from 65 years old the requirement drops slightly to 1.1 milligrams per day. There are foods that contain a lot of thiamine and help meet daily needs, such as pork, but also sunflower seeds and soybeans.

When are vitamin B1 tablets useful?

It is often said that tablets are unnecessary with a balanced diet. This is true to a large extent, but it does not apply to everyone. For example, anyone following a vegan diet is at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. People suffering from chronic gastrointestinal disorders may also want to help with nutritional supplements.

Therefore, there is no one answer that is suitable for everyone. In a 2022 press release, the German Food Association writes that dietary supplements can help provide the body with sufficient vitamins and minerals and are considered safe foods. According to the DGE, there are currently no known harmful side effects of vitamin B1 preparations, which does not mean that an excessive amount cannot harm the body. This information only reflects the current state of science.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also writes that vitamin B1 has a “very low toxicity.” Therefore, maximum quantities have not yet been set.

Vitamin B1: How is the supply of thiamine in Germany?

According to the German Nutrition Society, Germany is “on average (…) well supplied with thiamine.” However, they refer to data from the National Consumption Study II, published in 2006. At that time it was shown that men consumed an average of 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B1 and women 1 milligram. According to the Fisa information portal, the III National Consumer Study is currently underway. It is expected to be published in the coming years. It is not clear when exactly. The following dates are given as the deadline: January 1, 2015 to February 28, 2025.

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