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Thiamin is Vital for Carbohydrate Metabolism

  • Research has shown that thiamin may play an important role in carbohydrate metabolism
  • Depression and insomnia can be caused by thiamin deficiency
  • Some studies suggest Sudden Infant Death Syndrome may also be caused by insufficient levels of this vitamin

The role of thiamin, otherwise known as vitamin B1 in carbohydrate metabolism has long been established. That vitamin B1 plays a critical role in the metabolism of energy is widely recognized in research circles. It is a water soluble vitamin and passes through the body daily thus necessitating daily intakes. The presence of vitamin B1 enables the body to utilize carbohydrates for energy and it is also useful in metabolizing amino acids. Scientific studies have shown that a vitamin B1 deficiency causes a corresponding decline in the absorption rate of glucose in the alimentary canal. The following discussion focuses on the uses of vitamin B1 and health disorders caused by a deficiency of the same.

Uses of Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 serves various purposes in the body. Healthy functioning of the body cells is greatly enabled by vitamin B1 which is also fundamental in the proper functioning of nerves and the nervous system. Normal growth and development rests much upon adequate supplies of the vitamin in the body. In the digestive tract, vitamin B1 is instrumental in toning of intestinal muscles. The heart also derives much benefit in maintaining its muscle structure from a rich supply of the vitamin and it improves the flow of blood in the arteries. The presence of vitamin B1 in the body boosts anti oxidation and protects the body from the detrimental effects of toxic substances sometimes introduced through harmful habits such as smoking, overconsumption of alcohol and irresponsible drug usage.

Vitamin B1 occurs richly in lentils, beans, whole grains, wheat germ, lean meats, liver, heart, kidneys, eggs, poultry and fish.

Health Disorders Caused by Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Insufficient supply of vitamin B1 can cause poor appetite, resulting in disruption of digestion, constipation and weight loss. As thiamin has been established to play a key role in nervous health, its inadequacy can create fatigue of the nervous system, depression and insomnia. The health of the heart is also affected by an inadequate supply of vitamin B1 causing the muscles to become lethargic which can result in enlargement of parts of the heart, in itself a grave risk to health.

Alcoholics are typically afflicted by inadequate vitamin B1 as the overconsumption of alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin B1 by the body. Besides, alcohol damages the small intestine which reduces the absorption of nutrients.

Vitamin B1 deficiency has been a major problem in developing countries where it causes beriberi. Beriberi is classified into “wet” and “dry”. “Wet” occurs when people with vitamin B1 deficiency over-exert themselves with excessive amounts of carbohydrates. Cardiovascular health is affected which results in breathing difficulties, irregular heartbeats and even heart failure. “Dry” beriberi occurs in those who do not get adequate calories and are not active. This affects nervous health and cognitive processes including learning.

It has been suggested that sudden infant death (SID) may be caused by beriberi. Infantile beriberi may occur when mothers lacking in vitamin B1 breastfeed their babies. Sudden heart failure may arise.

Correcting thiamin deficiency would largely revolve around dietary management. Where intake from food is insufficient, nutritional supplements can be used so that carbohydrate metabolism is enabled unhindered. It should be noted that vitamin B1 can be lost during food preparation if food is subject to overcooking or extreme heat processing. Lifestyle management is also advisable such that detrimental practices like overconsumption of alcohol are kept away.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Thiamin is Vital for Carbohydrate Metabolism”

  1. 1
    Julie Says:
    Are there any thiamin supplements in existence that can be bought at the local health food store?