Vitamin B1

Last updated: January 13, 2017


When your mother said “eat your vegetables”, she was trying to ensure you an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. The B-vitamins are a complex of structurally similar essential vitamins that are heavily involved with producing energy (via glucose) [1].

Like other B-vitamins, vitamin B1 (thiamine) can bolster the immune system and reduce feelings of physical or mental stress. Most people in the west consume adequate quantities of vitamin B1 and, in some cases, up to three times the daily recommended dosage [2].

Because vitamin B1 is so imperative to all functions of life, there is speculation that thiamine might be beneficial for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and even Parkinson’s disease in aging adults. Many of these studies are inconclusive, but there is evidence to suggest vitamin B1 can enhance aspects of cognition (reaction time and “clear-headedness”) in some healthy adults [3].

Also Known As


Editors’ Thoughts on Vitamin B1

Most of the literature points towards deficiency of vitamin B1 as the real problem. I suspect most people in the western world do not need thiamine in their diet as all wheat products have this nutrient.

I’ve never taken thiamine by itself, but I have taken sulbutiamine to some effect (as it is a version of thiamine that passes the blood brain barrier more easily).

If the vitamin B1 is part of a B-complex or another nootropic like Qualia, it could be useful “just in case” and especially if you are diabetic. Otherwise, I’m skeptical that people need to supplement with thiamine alone.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor

vitamin B1

Benefits of Vitamin B1

As an essential nutrient, vitamin B1 has many benefits if one consumes the right quantity. Statistics show that most Americans consume above the recommended daily allowance. The main benefits of vitamin B1 are for those with glucose impairment. Those with pre-diabetes or diabetes suffer from 75 – 76% reduced thiamine levels [4]. The same is true for alcoholism, where thiamine absorption is impaired [5].

Although the benefits of vitamin B1 are more apparent for these “diseased” individuals, given that the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes 33% of the population is prediabetic [6], it is a benefit for a larger percentage of the population than we might initially believe!

Some people (either deficient or healthy) experience energy benefits when supplementing with vitamin B1. This is most likely due to the nutrient’s role in energy metabolism. A thiamine deficiency obviously creates focus and learning problems, but even healthy adults improve cognition when taking vitamin B1 supplements [7].

Who Needs to Supplement Vitamin B1?

Most people consume enough vitamin B1 in their daily diet. Foods that are high in thiamine include most wheat products, many nuts, and seeds. The only healthy adults who may want to supplement with vitamin B1 are those with restrictive diets that do not include any of these foods (such as adherents to a Paleo diet).

The other two cohorts of people who need to supplement vitamin B1 are those with poor glucose metabolism (either prediabetic or diabetic) and those struggling with alcoholism.

Side Effects of Vitamin B1

There are few side effects of vitamin B1, but there are upper limits for this nutrient for toxicology reasons. Most people will never supplement near the upper limits with vitamin B1. Another issue to keep in mind is that vitamin B1 does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier.

If the objective is to utilize thiamine for cognitive enhancement, either a higher dose may be necessary or a different compound.

Vitamin B1 Dosage

Many of the vitamin B1 dosage recommendations are well above the RDA as they are specifically for those considered deficient. These recommendations are around 100 – 300 mg for people with either high blood sugar or alcohol intake.

How and Where to Buy Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient and is thus found in a wide variety of products at your local grocery store and health food shop. You can buy vitamin B1 online, but ensure that you are finding the best version of this nutrient.

One recommendations we have when you purchase vitamin B1 online is to utilize benfotiamine. This is a specific type of vitamin B1 that can be used most effectively by the body. You can find it here.

References (Click to Expand)
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