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A Quick Glance at Vitamin B1

What is it?
Not only does vitamin B1 start off the B’s in any B-Complex supplement, it also protects the cell from oxidation, helps create insulin, and is a co-factor to the enzymes our bodies produce. Not as well known as B6 and B12, B1 can have a huge impact on our health.


B1 comes in several forms:

Thiamine- This is the most common form of B1 and is water soluble, which means your body flushes it out often. Because it is water soluble, it has the potential to be more difficult for your body to use when your health is compromised, particularly, in the digestive system.

Benfotamine- This is a synthetic version of B1 and is fat soluble.

Sulbutiamine- A derivative of B1, it is also fat soluble, which makes it easier to digest and can cross the blood brain barrier. This form is often suggested when being used for Nervous System/Mood-Brain disorders.

What can it help?

Because it works on a cellular level it has been shown to benefit many areas including:

  •  Digestion(IBS, gastroparesis). B1 is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism as well as to help the body make hydrochloric acid, thus it is essential for good digestive health.
  • Sleep apnea
  • Brain/mood, anxiety, “awake brain”during the night, panic attacks, eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Respiratory problems, including breathing difficulties
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism in particular)
  • Helps rid the body of excess estrogen
  • Helps with depleted energy (fibromyalgia, exercise aversion and exhaustion, etc.)
  • Prevention of metabolic disorders in infants. A B1 deficiency during pregnancy can contribute to these disorders in the baby.

How does a B1 deficiency come about?

It can be caused by:

  • A diet heavy in alcohol, caffeine (coffee or black tea), carbohydrates, or sugar
  • Eating lots of white rice; the bran, which contains all the B vitamins, is stripped from this form of rice, thus causing B vitamin deficiencies.
  • Heat, such as cooking foods at high temperatures and pasteurization
  • Gastric Bypass surgery; the surgery involves removing the first part of the small intestine, which is where B1 is absorbed.
  • Liver damage
  • Antacids and antibiotics
  • Vaccinations
  • Being on the prescription drug Metformin; one of its side effects is depleting B1 reserves
  • Vomiting excessively during pregnancy

Foods high in B1
Many foods contain B1 but in smaller amounts. Some with higher B1 content are:

  • Liver
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Squash
  • Sunflower seeds

Some sources suggest combining your B1 supplement with a food source high in B vitamins, such as eggs or nutritional yeast, for better absorption and to keep the body from becoming unbalanced in the other B vitamins.

A B1 deficiency may be one of the root causes of many disorders and health problems people struggle with daily. It is definitely worth researching to see if vitamin B1 is right for you.


Nootropics Expert, ”Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)” YouTube. Online video clip, (accessed 16-26 April 2019)

Dr. Eric Berg DC, “Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Deficiency: the “Great Imitator” of Other Illnesses” You Tube. Online video clip, (accessed 16-26 April 2019) “Vitamin B1 (thiamine) in pregnancy and breastfeeding”

*All Information in this article is for educational purposes only.

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