Thiamine is vital to many systems in your body. Known as vitamin B1, it is commonly found in both plant and animal food sources. This vitamin isn't produced in the body but is solely absorbed from food and stored in the liver for up to 18 days. This vitamin is water-soluble, so if you are B1 deficient, hydration is essential. Thiamine helps your body use the energy you absorb from foods, especially carbohydrates. It helps boost cognitive function and physical performance for endurance athletes. Thiamine is especially essential to preserving healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Thiamine helps your body metabolize sugar into glucose in the gut. Sugar is a natural energy source, and the presence of plenty of B1 enables your body to properly absorb sugar from the foods you eat. Even foods that aren't enriched with sugar, like bread, fruit, and other carbohydrates, still contain vital energy that you need to not only power your workouts but also get through your day. Our bodies need thiamine to run this enzyme system, which releases energy for a variety of functions in the body.
Your nerves are delicate and vital to sending messages from your brain to other parts of your body. Each nerve is protected by a myelin sheath that is replenished with thiamine or B1. A vitamin B1 deficiency can allow the myelin sheath to break down, leaving the nerve vulnerable to permanent damage and atrophy of the organ or the limb around it. Proper levels of thiamine help your body communicate better.
Thiamine helps produce a chemical called acetylcholine, which relays messages between the brain and the cardiovascular system. Plenty of vitamin B1 can help those with congestive heart failure by restoring some of the communication between the muscles and blood vessels that support the heart. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to irregular heart function, including palpitations and fluctuating heart rate.
Thiamine plays a role in preventing or slowing the onset of cataracts and can protect you from this degenerative condition. It's also useful in preventing glaucoma. The vitamin does this by influencing muscle and nerve signaling, which is crucial for conveying information between the eyes and the brain. Thiamine helps preserve these special cells and maintain their healthy function.
Thiamine contains antioxidant properties that help your cells renew and protect them from damage by free radicals. The body needs to replace cells that wear out and die; free radicals are molecules that inhibit this regrowth and the formation of new cells. When the population of free radicals is too high, visible signs of aging occur, including dull and dry skin, wrinkles, and age spots. Antioxidants help reduce the amount of damaging free radicals, allowing your cells to renew naturally and keeping cancerous growths from forming.
Vitamin B1 helps your body produce the hydrochloric acid your gut needs to digest your food. It's crucial to have a healthy balance of acids -- many digestive complaints are a result of such an imbalance. Problems in the stomach mean when your food passes through your digestive system in larger chunks, your gut isn't able to fully extract all the nutrients. This can lead to malnourishment or a deficiency in other vitamins and minerals. A good amount of hydrochloric acid can also improve appetite, enabling those who have difficulty eating to nourish themselves.
The antioxidant properties of thiamine can help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Experts believe free radical damage is part of what causes these memory conditions and a healthy amount of antioxidants could improve the prognosis. Some successful studies supplemented the diets of people with Alzheimer's with 100 mg of thiamine. Many of the subjects reported symptom relief after taking vitamin B1 over the course of several weeks.
Thiamine can help clear your mind and improve your short-term memory. The boost the vitamin offers your nerves and nervous system communication also benefits the brain. Studies have shown thiamine can improve certain nervous conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Bell's palsy, as well. Vitamin B1 can help reduce cognitive memory loss and promote better communication within the brain.
Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the production of red blood cells. It stimulates proper function of the liver and kidneys, which supplies the hormones necessary for your bone marrow to create red blood cells. A healthy balance of red blood cells allows more oxygen to be delivered to all parts of your body, improving skin and hair texture, boosting energy levels and concentration, and promoting the healthy function of your systems.
Thiamine can help people with metabolic disorders, pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes manage their symptoms and slow the progression of these diseases. It can regulate metabolism and help your body digest food more easily, avoiding blood sugar spikes and crashes and thereby reducing cravings. The vitamin also helps preserve tissues that might be affected by these conditions. Nerve damage is common in people with diabetes; consuming vitamin B1 can help prevent or slow this symptom. It can also boost eye health; vision deterioration and blindness is another potential side effect of diabetes.
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