Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, which plays a crucial role in the body especially for the function of the nervous system. If too little vitamin B1 is taken, a vitamin B1 deficiency occurs, which can lead to severe disorders in the body. In order to prevent a vitamin B1 deficiency, the consumption of foods such as cereal products, pork, certain fish species and legumes is particularly recommended.
Effect of vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 has a decisive influence on the central and the peripheral nervous system in the body. Here it is particularly important for the excitation transmission between nerve and muscle: Vitamin B1 affects the neurotransmitters GABA and serotonin and acts as an antagonist of acetylcholine. Vitamin B1 is also involved in the metabolism of some neurotransmitters. In addition, it plays an important role in the regeneration of the nervous system after illness or trauma.
In addition, vitamin B1 as coenzyme is involved in the production of energy from food. Therefore, a vitamin B1 deficiency, especially in the carbohydrate metabolism can cause serious disorders.
Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6
Vitamins B1 and B6 are used together to treat diseases of the nervous system. They influence various metabolic reactions and thus support the body's own function of the nervous system. Both vitamins are given together for the same condition, as they work better in combination than when taken separately.
Vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 are particularly important for the regeneration of the nervous system: they support the body's own repair measures by promoting the growth of nerve fibers. In addition, they are involved in the regeneration of damaged nerves and have an analgesic effect.
Vitamin B1 in food
The daily requirement of an adult human for vitamin B1 is between 1.0 and 1.3 milligrams. Stress, intake of the birth control pill, alcoholism as well as during pregnancy and lactation may easily increase the need. The daily dose of vitamin B1 can be covered, for example, by the intake of the following foods:
- 50 grams of sunflower seeds
- 100 grams of pork
- 200 grams of oatmeal
- 200 grams of wild rice
- 200 grams of soybeans
- 300 grams of plaice or tuna
Also larger amounts of vitamin B1 are contained in foods such as wholemeal flour, beef and salmon, legumes, dairy products and potatoes. A healthy, balanced diet usually helps to prevent vitamin B1 deficiency.
When preparing the food, keep in mind that vitamin B1 is water-soluble, which causes some of the vitamin to go into the cooking water during cooking. Since vitamin B1 is also extremely sensitive to heat, foods containing vitamin B1 should be prepared as gently as possible.
Vitamin B1 deficiency: causes and prevention
If the body is not supplied with vitamin B1 over a period of two weeks, the reserves stored in the body are already 50% emptied. After 40 days at the latest, the vitamin B1 reserves are completely used up - so humans depend on a regular intake of vitamin B1.
The most common cause of vitamin B1 deficiency is malnutrition and / or alcohol abuse. But also due to stress, smoking, competitive sports, the intake of the birth control pill and pregnancy, the risk of vitamin B1 deficiency increases significantly.
To prevent vitamin B1 deficiency, you should consider the following aspects in addition to a healthy diet:
- The intake of refined sugar increases the need for vitamin B1. Therefore, especially children should not eat too many sweets.
- Acid-binding drugs, sulfur as a preservative, black tea and alcohol reduce the absorption of vitamin B1.
- Alcohol also promotes the breakdown of vitamin B1 in the body.
Vitamin B1 Deficiency: Typical Symptoms
A slight vitamin B1 deficiency may be more common. He is characterized by symptoms such as indigestion and lack of appetite and by central nervous disorders noticeable. These include, for example, tiredness, depressive moods and memory weakness. It can also cause shortness of breath, rapid pulse and water retention (edema).
If there is severe vitamin B1 deficiency, severe central nervous system disorders such as paralysis, sensory and brain dysfunction may occur. In addition, there may be a drop in the pH in the blood (metabolic acidosis), which can cause a failure of the heart.
Disease Beri Beri
If there is severe vitamin B1 deficiency over an extended period of time, this can lead to the condition known as Beri Beri. This episode of a vitamin B1 deficiency occurs today, especially in developing countries. In Beri Beri it comes in addition to the symptoms already mentioned above in addition to symptoms such as heart failure or depression.
A characteristic symptom of the vitamin deficiency disease, however, is a skeletal muscle wasting, which leads to a significant functional impairment, especially on the legs. Muscular atrophy makes it much harder for those affected to walk.
Basically Beri Beri distinguishes between two different forms:
- Dry Beri Beri describes the neurologically stressed form of vitamin B1 deficiency, in which mainly neuritic disorders occur. These include, for example, muscle weakness, reflex disorders and sensory disorders.
- Wet Beri Beri describes the edematous form of vitamin deficiency, which often causes edema and heart failure.
Overdose of vitamin B1
An overdose of vitamin B1 is not possible via the intake of food, as superfluous vitamin B1 is excreted through the kidneys. In addition, the body can absorb only small amounts of vitamin B1 via the digestive tract. Thus, an overdose can be caused only by the injection of a high dose - about a hundred times the daily dose.
An overdose may cause an allergic reaction as well as headache, cramping, feeling hot, nausea and arrhythmia. To prevent overdose, vitamin B1 should only be given orally and not via an infusion or a syringe.