What is the role of thiamine or vitamin B1?
Vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient for your body that is a part of Vitamin B complex. We can easily say it is the first member of the vitamin B complex family tree.
Vitamin B1 is required by the body to establish ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is used by each cell in the body to release energy.
Vitamin B1 aids in changing carbohydrates to glucose. In other words, it transforms the food that you consume, into the energy that you require. It also helps break down fats and protein.
Thiamine helps to promote a healthy and active nervous system, and also improves the functioning of the heart.
Also known as the “anti-stress” vitamin, vitamin B1 vitamins helps the body to withstand intense stress. It may help to promote healthy hair, skin, mouth, liver and eyes.
Lack of vitamin B1 may cause diseases such as:
- You might suffer from both dry and wet varieties of Beriberi.
- Alcoholics might experience severe brain abnormalities such as the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
- Possibilities of Anorexia.
- Heart failure and increased heart rate.
- Congestion in the lungs.
- Burning and prickling sensation in the feet and toes.
- Abnormal development of nerves and muscles.
- Frequent fatigue and psychological depression.
- Nausea and headaches.
- Discomfort in abdomen.
- Chances of developing cataracts.
- Elevated possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B1 might be created exclusively in fungi, bacteria and plants but all living creatures use it. It is an important nutrient for humans because like all other animals, they need to acquire it through their diet. While deficiency in mammals leads to optic neuropathy, Korsakoff’s syndrome and the Beriberi disease, which attacks the cardiovascular system and/or the peripheral nervous system, in birds, polyneuritis is far more common due to the lack of vitamin B1. If left untreated, the deficiency might even prove to be fatal. In cases which are not severe, there might be occurrences of weight loss, confusion, malaise and irritability.
Thiamine mononitrate, which is a non-hygroscopic, stable salt is the Vitamer which has been employed for food and flour fortification. Vitamin B1 is on the list of one of the most crucial medications required in a rudimentary health system, namely, the List of Essential Medicines of the World Health Organization.
When thiamine became the first water soluble vitamin to be detected, many more such trace compounds necessary for the survival were discovered gradually.
A surgeon general who worked in Japanese navy by the name of Kanehiro Takaki has refused the earlier germ theory attributed to beriberi and contemplated that it was caused due to deficiencies in diet. He discovered that when he switched the diet of white rice to a diet consisting of bread, meat, barley, milk and vegetables, he was able to reduce beriberi on a navy ship on a voyage. But having randomly added food products into the diet which was successful, he wrongly thought that the beriberi was cured due to the increased intake of nitrogen.
However, in 1905, anti beriberi factor was found in brown barley rice and rice bran and Takaki’s efforts were appreciated finally. He was made a baron in the peerage system of Japan and Takaki was henceforth known as the ‘Barley Baron.’