Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Understand vitamin B1 and vitamin B1 targets in the Nutrient Explorer

What it is

Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin

What it does

Vitamin B1 is a necessary cofactor for certain chemical reactions that take place during energy metabolism.

Recommended intake

The recommended intake for vitamin B1 is 1.2mg per day for men, and 1.1mg per day for women who aren’t pregnant or lactating. Pregnancy and lactation can increase intake requirements for vitamin B1.

Likelihood of tracking completeness: Very low

Vitamin B1 is not a nutrient that food manufacturers are required to disclose on nutrition labels. The vast majority of food and beverage manufacturers do not voluntarily list vitamin B1 content on nutrition labels, so most branded products in the MacroFactor database lack information on vitamin B1. So, if you’d like to accurately track your vitamin B1 intake, you’ll need to make a point of mostly tracking “common foods,” which come from research-grade databases that have full nutrient reporting.

For more on when you can track using branded foods versus common foods when you’re trying to accurately monitor your intake of particular nutrients, you should check out this article.

Likelihood of insufficient intake: Very low

Adults in most developed countries consume adequate amounts of vitamin B1. In the US, average vitamin B1 intake is almost 5mg per day.

For more on nutrients with a greater likelihood of insufficient or excessive intake, you should check out this article.

Signs of deficiency 

Early signs of a vitamin B1 deficiency include a lack of desire to eat, muscle weakness, short-term memory loss, weight loss, and feelings of confusion.

Advanced vitamin B1 deficiency causes a disease called beriberi, which is characterized by muscle wasting and peripheral nerve damage.

While insufficient intake of vitamin B1 is rare, certain conditions and diseases can deplete vitamin B1 levels, leading to vitamin B1 deficiencies. These conditions include alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes.

Good sources

Pork products are particularly high in vitamin B1. Fish and dairy products are also great sources of vitamin B1. Great vegan sources of vitamin B1 include yeasts and yeast extracts (like nutritional yeast and vegemite), tomatoes, soy products, watercress, asparagus, and okra.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about micronutrients generally, there’s a five-part series on the MacroFactor website you might enjoy.

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