The name "thiamin/thiamine" resulted from its structure, which contains both a sulfur and an amino group. About half of the body stores of thiamin are found in skeletal muscles, with the remainder dispersed throughout the heart, liver, kidneys, and nervous tissues, including the brain. Thiamine and B12 are the only vitamins whose deficiencies have proven causes of neurologic disease. It takes only three weeks of a total dietary lack of thiamin to see the first signs of deficiency.
Thiamin's enzyme helper is "thiamin pyrophosphate," (TPP) needed to break down glucose, fats and carbohydrates vital for energy production. Thiamin promotes a normal appetite; aids in digestion; helps fight off motion sickness; keeps the nervous system, muscles and heart functioning normally; improves mental attitude; and has proven effective in the treatment of lead toxicity. Studies show that increased thiamin dosage stimulates neutrophil chemotaxis, an attraction of cells into an area of inflammation, thereby speeding the healing process.
Thiamin deficiency occurs as a result of many factors, including crash dieting, alcohol abuse, liver disfunction, kidney dialysis, and sustained periods of IV nutrients. Also at risk are those who consume a lot of sweets, soft drinks, and highly processed foods. Alcohol not only blocks thiamin assimilation but injures the small intestine, making nutrient absorption in general very difficult. Similarily, tea, coffee (both caffeinate and decaffeinated), and the chewing of betelnuts or tea leaves deplete thiamine, as do some medications and cigarette smoke. The heating of food and processing can destroy this fragile vitamin. However, microwave cooking does not seem to increase vitamin loss, despite claims to the contrary. In addition, thiamin is poorly absorbed when there is a folacin or protein deficiency.
ATF (antithiamin factors) are substances in the diet that block the availability of thiamin. There are two main types: thermolabile, which are destroyed by heat, and thermostabile, which are able to withstand heat. Foods that can block thiamin absorption include raw fish, live yeast, tea, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, bracken fern, baking soda, some fruits and vegetables, and fermented fish.
Severe thiamin deficiency, known as beriberi (see Glossary), is common among those who rely on staples of white flour and white rice. Milling removes husks which contain most of this vitamin, but boiling before husking disperses it throughout the grain -- a process known as "converted rice." Commercially, thiamin might be listed as "thiamine hydrochloride" or "thiamin mononitrate."
Clinically similar to thiamin deficiency is a form of polyneuropathy, a disease involving several nerves, which does not respond to thiamin thereapy. It usually occurs in uncontrolled or long-continued forms of diabetes. A deficiency can also masquerade as senility, but supplementation does not affect mental processes if thiamin deficiency is not the cause. A thiamin deficiency also produces Warnicke-Korsakoff syndrome, sometimes called "cerebral beriberi," a disorder of the central nervous system.
Deficiencies can be classified within three reasons: 1) the body requires more than normal as in cases of hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, lactation, and fever; 2) there is impaired absorption caused by prolonged diarrhea or lack of necessary enzymes, for example; and 3) there is impaired utilization brought on by severe liver impairment or other disorders.
Other names for thiamin include: Vitamin B1, formerly Vitamin F, aneurin, polyneuramin, oryzamin, antineuritio factor/vitamin, antuberiberi factor/vitamin.
Its forms are: thiamine/B1 disulfide, thiamine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, thiamine phosphoric acid ester chloride, thiamine phosphoric acid ester phosphate salt, thiamine 1, 5-salt, Vitamin B1 propyl disulfide, thiamine triphosphoric acid ester, thiamine triphosphoric acid salt, thiamine/Vitamin B1 O, S diacetate, thiamin pyrophosphate.
Inhibitors are: cooking, fevers, hyperthyroidism, liver and digestion deterioration, tannins or tannic acid, chlorogenic acid in coffee, baking soda, estrogen, antacids and barbiturates, and a decreased availability of Vitamin B6 and B12.
Helpers are: B Complex vitamins, Vitamins B2, B3, Bc, C, E, manganese, and sulfur.
Deficiency symptoms include: brain deterioration, decreased memory, depression, emotional agitation and deterioration, decreased vision, inflammation of the optic nerve, CNS and reflex deterioration, increased pyruvic acid in the blood, tingling or burning of feet, decreased sense of touch, fatigue, decreased appetite and digestion, constipation, decreased immunity, decreased protein synthesis, abdominal and chest pains, cardiac deterioration, decreased blood pressure, varicose veins, bluish SKIN color, labored breathing, tender leg muscles, decreased resistance to cancers.
Early signs include fatigue, irritability, sensitivity to noise, memory loss, inability to concentrate, fatigue, sleep disturbances, precordial pain (area above the heart), appetite loss, abdominal discomfort, and constipation. Symptoms of moderate deficiency include fatigue, apathy, nausea, irritability, depression, slow wound healing, loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation. Other symptoms attributed to a thiamin deficiency include: irregular heart beat, SOB (shortness of breath), low blood pressure, chest and abdominal pain, kidney failure, heart failure, and death. Thiamin has proven to correct all these symptoms -- with the exception of the last one.
Toxicity symptoms include: muscle tremors, fluid accumulation, SKIN inflammations, nervousness, heart palpitations, allergies, altered thyroid and insulin production, and too much decreases Vitamin B6.
Vitamin B1 O,S-diacetate is a lipid-soluble form of thiamin. Other names include: thiamine O,S-diacetate, acetiamine, Thianeuron.
Vitamin B1 disulfide is a specific form of Vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 hydrochloride is a special form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin hydrochloride, thiamin chloride hydrochloride, aneurine hydrochloride, thiaminium chloride hydrochloride, Bedome, Begiolan, Benerva, Bequin, Berin, Betabion hydrochloride, Betalin S, Betaxin, Bethiazine, Bevitex, Bewon, Biuno, Bivatin, Bivita, Clotiamina, Metabolin, Thiadoxine, Thiavit, Tiamidon, Tiaminal, Vitaneuron.
Vitamin B1 mononitrate is a special form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: aneurine mononitrate, Betabion mononitrate.
Vitamin B1 Phosphoric acid ester chloride is a special form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin phosphoric acid ester chloride, thiamin orthophosphate ester chloride.
Vitamin B1 phosphoric acid ester salt is a special form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin monophosphate ester phosphoric acid salt, Umbeon.
Vitamin B1 propyl disulfide is a lipid-form of vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin propyl disulfide, DTPT, TPD, Prosultiamine, Alinamin, Aneurimec, AusovitB1. Betatron, Binova, Ditiovit, Liponeurina, Marineurina, Orobetina, Proneurin, Sintotiamina, Tipidi.
Vitamin B1 1,5-salt is a form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin 1,5-salt, aneurin-1,5 salt; thiamin chloride naphthalene-1,5-disulfonic acid salt.
Vitamin B1 triphosphoric acid ester is a special form of Vitamin B1. Other names include: thiamin triphosphoric acid ester, thiamin triphosphate ester.
Vitamin B1 triphosphoric acid salt is a special form of B1. Other names include: thiamin triphosphoric acid salt, thiamin triphosphate salt.