What does it do?
Thiamin is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps your cells produce energy from carbohydrates. It is essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system because it plays a role in conducting nerve impulses and in muscle contraction.
What are the best food sources?
Food sources of thiamin include enriched, fortified and whole-grain products, such as bread, rice, pasta, tortillas and cereals, and beef liver and pork.
What are some recipes that are good sources of thiamin?
- Apple-&-Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- Golden Baked Pork Cutlets
- Herbed Whole-Wheat Couscous
- Honey Oat Quick Bread
- Maple-Chili Glazed Pork Medallions
- Raspberry-Glazed Pork Chops with Pickled Onions
- Spaghetti Squash & Pork Stir-Fry
- Spanish Pork Burgers
- Tuscan Pork Loin
- Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame & Tarragon
What happens if you don’t get enough?
Early symptoms of thiamin deficiency include fatigue, weak muscles, anorexia, weight loss and mental changes, such as confusion or irritability. As deficiency becomes more severe, it can result in a disease called beriberi, which is characterized by severe cardiovascular and nervous-system complications including cardiac failure in infants. Beriberi, which is most often observed in developing nations, was referred to in Chinese medical texts as early as 2700 B.C. (though at the time they didn’t make the connection between diet and disease).
Thiamin deficiency is rare in industrialized countries, where it usually only occurs in chronic alcoholics. In alcoholics, thiamin deficiency can progress to beriberi or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a disease most commonly a result of alcohol-induced malnutrition.
What happens if you get too much?
It’s not likely that you will experience adverse effects from consuming too much thiamin; your body absorbs less thiamin at intakes above 5 mg and excretes any amount it considers excess. Although documentation of adverse effects from excess thiamin is limited, this does not mean there is no potential for harmful effects, so stay within the range of recommended intakes.
How much do you need?
The following table lists the recommended intake for healthy people based on current scientific information.