Vitamin B1 is mainly needed for energy metabolism – and therefore has a vital function in the body. You can find out more about the effect and daily needs here.
Vitamin B1 belongs – as you can easily see from the name – to the group of B vitamins. They are water-soluble and cannot generally be stored by the body. Therefore, they must be consumed through food.
Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine. It functions in the body as a so-called coenzyme and is therefore part of several vital processes. Here you can read information about its effects on the body.
What is vitamin B1?
According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), vitamin B1 is part of enzymes. It is necessary for energy production and plays an important role in the nervous system as well as heart health. Chemically, vitamin B1 is also called thiamine. It is sensitive to heat and oxygen.
Effect: Why does the body need vitamin B1?
The Society for Applied Vitamin Research (GVF) states the following functions in a fact sheet on vitamin B1:
- Gain energy from food
- Synthesis of nucleic acids (including DNA)
- Conduction of nerve impulses
Thiamine deficiency can have serious consequences on the body. In addition to symptoms such as lack of appetite or digestive disorders, according to the GVF, the deficiency can also manifest itself as a depressed mood or lack of memory.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) maintains a table or list on the effects of vitamin B1 in which health-related statements about minerals, etc. are recorded. The following claims have been scientifically confirmed for thiamine:
- Thiamine contributes to normality Energy metabolism at the
- Thiamine contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system
- Thiamine contributes to normal psychological functioning
- Thiamine contributes to the normal functioning of the heart
According to the consumer advice center, it is important to highlight that this involves “maintaining normal body functions”. Anyone who already has a sufficient supply of vitamin B1 should not necessarily expect an increase in performance or other health improvements.
How much vitamin B1 does the body need per day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B1 depends on age and living conditions. According to the DGE, the need increases to 1.4 milligrams per day during puberty for men and to 1.1 milligrams per day for women. Starting at age 19, women should consistently consume 1 milligram of thiamine per day – unless they are pregnant. Then the need increases slightly to 1.2 or 1.3 milligrams. Men between 19 and 25 years old should consume 1.3 milligrams, up to the age of 51 it is 1.2 and from the age of 65 the need drops slightly to 1.1 milligrams per day. There are foods that contain a lot of thiamine and help meet your daily needs – including pork, but also sunflower seeds and soybeans.
When are vitamin B1 tablets useful?
It is often said that pills are unnecessary with a balanced diet. This is largely true, but it doesn’t apply to everyone. For example, anyone following a vegan diet is at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. People who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal disorders may also want to help with nutritional supplements.
Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In a 2022 press release, the German Food Association writes that dietary supplements can help provide the body with sufficient vitamins and minerals and are considered safe foods. According to the DGE, there are currently no known harmful side effects of vitamin B1 preparations – which does not mean that excessive amounts cannot harm the body. This information only reflects the current state of science.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also writes that vitamin B1 has “very low toxicity.” Therefore, maximum quantities have not yet been formulated.
Vitamin B1: How is the supply of thiamine in Germany?
According to the German Nutrition Society, Germany is “on average (…) well supplied with thiamine”. However, they refer to data from the National Consumption Study II, published in 2006. At that time it was shown that men consumed an average of 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B1 and women 1 milligram. According to the Fisa information portal, the National Consumption Study III is underway. It is expected to be published in the coming years. When exactly is unclear. The following dates are given as deadlines: January 1, 2015 to February 28, 2025.