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B1 vitamin uses: Foods, benefits, and deficiency symptoms


Foods, benefits, and deficiency symptoms

Vitamin B1, thiamin, or thiamine, enables the body to use carbohydrates as energy. It is essential for glucose metabolism, and it plays a key role in nerve, muscle, and heart function.

Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, as are all vitamins of the B complex.

Vitamins are classified according to the materials they dissolve in. Some dissolve in water, and others dissolve in fat. Water-soluble vitamins are carried through the bloodstream. Whatever the body does not use is eliminated in urine.

There are high concentrations of Vitamin B1 in the outer layers and germ of cereals, as well as in yeast, beef, pork, nuts, whole grains, and pulses.

Fruit and vegetables that contain it include cauliflower, liver, oranges, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, and kale.

Other sources include brewer’s yeast and blackstrap molasses.

Breakfast cereals and products made with white flour or white rice may be enriched with vitamin B.

In the United States, people consume around half of their vitamin B1 intake in foods that naturally contain thiamin, while the rest comes from foods that are fortified with the vitamin.

Heating, cooking, and processing foods, and boiling them in water, destroy thiamin. As vitamin B1 is water-soluble, it dissolves into cooking water. White rice that is not enriched will contain only one tenth of the thiamin available in brown rice.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) note that one serving of fortified breakfast cereal provides 1.5 milligrams (mg) of thiamin, which is more than 100 percent of the daily recommended amount.

One slice of whole wheat bread contains 0.1 mg, or 7 percent of the daily requirement. Cheese, chicken, and apples contain no thiamin.

Humans need a continuous supply of vitamin B1, because it is not stored in the body. It should be part of the daily diet.

Vitamin B1, or thiamin, helps prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines. It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells.

It helps prevent diseases such as beriberi, which involves disorders of the heart, nerves, and digestive system.

Uses in medicine

Patients who may receive thiamin to treat low levels of vitamin B1 include those with peripheral neuritis, which is an inflammation of the nerves outside the brain, or pellagra.

People with ulcerative colitis, persistent diarrhea, and poor appetite may also receive thiamin. Those who are in a coma may be given thiamin injections.

Some athletes use thiamin to help improve their performance. It is not a prohibited substances for athletes in the U.S.

Other conditions in which thiamin supplements may help include:

Not all of these uses have been definitively confirmed by research.

A deficiency of vitamin B1 commonly leads to beriberi, a condition that features problems with the peripheral nerves and wasting.

Weight loss and anorexia can develop.

There may be mental problems, including confusion and short-term memory loss.

Muscles may become weak, and cardiovascular symptoms can occur, for example, an enlarged heart.

How much vitamin B1 do we need?

In the U.S., the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamin taken by mouth is 1.2 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females over the age of 18 years. Pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age should consume 1.4 mg each day.

Who is at risk of B1 deficiency?

People with poor diet, cancer, “morning sickness” during pregnancy, bariatric surgery, and hemodialysis are at risk of thiamin deficiency.

People who regularly drink alcohol to excess may have a deficiency, as they may not absorb thiamin from their food.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a disorder that affects people with chronic alcoholism. It is linked to a lack of thiamin, and it can be fatal if not treated.

People with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and those who are withdrawing from alcohol may receive thiamin injections to help them recover.

Other diseases, such as HIV, can reduce the absorption of nutrients, and this can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B1.

All B vitamins are water-soluble. They help to convert carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy, or glucose.

B vitamins are necessary for keeping the liver, skin, hair, and eyes healthy. They also play a role in the nervous system, and they are needed for good brain function.

The B vitamins are sometimes called anti-stress vitamins, because they boost the body’s immune system in times of stress.

Evidence does not confirm any harm from too much vitamin B1, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns on the use of supplements.

They urge people to check with their health care provider before using supplements with or as a substitute for foods, and they call on the public to seek a physician’s advice on how to improve their health, rather than self-diagnosing.


Tea and coffee contain tannins, chemicals that may interact with thiamin, making it harder to absorb.

Some of the chemicals in raw shellfish and fish can destroy thiamin, potentially leading to a deficiency if eaten in large quantities. Cooking destroys these chemicals, but it destroys thiamin too.

Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews

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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Information | Mount Sinai

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Thiamin – Mayo Clinic


Thiamin (vitamin B-1) helps the body generate energy from nutrients. Also known as thiamine, thiamin is necessary for the growth, development and function of cells.

Most people get enough thiamin from the food they eat. Foods rich in thiamin include yeast, legumes, pork, brown rice, as well as fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals. However, heating foods containing thiamin can reduce thiamin content. Thiamin can also be taken as a supplement, typically orally.

People who have had bariatric surgery, have conditions such as HIV/AIDS, are chronic alcoholics, or use drugs such as the diuretic furosemide (Lasix), are at risk of a thiamin deficiency. Thiamin deficiency can lead to the neurological condition Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome or beriberi, a condition that involves peripheral nerve damage.

People also take thiamin to treat inherited metabolic disorders.

The recommended daily amount of thiamin for adult men is 1.2 milligrams and for adult women is 1.1 milligrams.


Research on thiamin use for specific conditions shows:

  • Inherited metabolic disorders. Oral thiamin helps temporarily correct different types of medical conditions caused by genetic defects — most commonly inherited from both parents — that interfere with the body’s metabolism. One example is maple syrup urine disease.

Our take

Generally safe

A healthy and varied diet will provide most people with enough thiamin. However, for people who have had bariatric surgery, have conditions such as HIV/AIDS, are chronic alcoholics or use certain drugs, a thiamin supplement might be necessary. Thiamin is generally safe.

Safety and side effects

When used as an oral supplement in appropriate doses, thiamin is likely safe. Rarely, it can cause a skin reaction.


There’s currently no evidence to show that thiamin interacts with other drugs.

However, regular chewing of areca (betel) nuts or frequently eating raw fish or shellfish might contribute to thiamin deficiency.

Nov. 14, 2020

Show references

  1. Thiamin. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/. Accessed Sept. 13, 2017.
  2. Thiamine. Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Accessed Sept. 13, 2017.
  3. Thiamin. Facts & Comparisons eAnswers. http://www.wolterskluwercdi.com/facts-comparisons-online/. Accessed Sept. 13, 2017.
  4. Thiamin. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Sept. 12, 2017.
  5. Pazirandeh S, et al. Overview of water-soluble vitamins. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 13, 2017.


Thiamine: a medicine for treating vitamin B1 (or thiamine) deficiency

If you or your child have been prescribed thiamine, follow the doctor’s instructions when taking it.

If you have bought thiamine from a pharmacy or a shop, follow the instructions that come with the packet.

How much will I take?

The dose will vary depending on why you need thiamine and whether it has been prescribed by a doctor.

Mild thiamine deficiency – the usual dose for adults is between 25mg and 100mg, taken once a day.

Severe thiamine deficiency – the usual dose for adults is 100mg, taken 2 or 3 times a day.

If your child is prescribed thiamine, the doctor will use your child’s weight to work out the right dose.

How to take it

You can take thiamine with or without food.

Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water. If you find tablets difficult to take, break the tablet in half using the line down the middle. Take both halves separately.

Will my dose go up or down?

For treating a vitamin B1 deficiency, your dose will usually stay the same until your levels are back to normal and your symptoms improve.

Once your levels are OK, your doctor will probably put you on a lower dose to make sure you do not become deficient again.

What if I forget to take it?

Missing 1 or 2 doses by mistake will probably not matter too much. But if you have a vitamin deficiency and you keep forgetting to take your thiamine, ask a doctor for advice.

If you forget to take your thiamine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case skip the missed dose and just take the next one as normal.

Do not take 2 doses to make up for a forgotten one.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask a pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

Speak to your doctor if you’ve been prescribed thiamine and you want to stop taking it for any reason.

What if I take too much?

Thiamine is generally a very safe medicine. Taking too much is unlikely to harm you or your child.

If you’re worried, speak to a pharmacist or doctor.

What is Vitamin B1 good for?

When you think about B vitamins, the key benefit that often comes to mind is energy. And it’s true that vitamin B1 – as well as many of the other vitamins that come under the “B” banner – helps the body to effectively use energy-yielding nutrients, such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates*. But it can do much more than that, too. So, what is vitamin B1, and what other benefits does it provide? Here’s the low down.

What is vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine or thiamin, is a water-soluble vitamin: it’s a nutrient that the body needs for important processes, but that it can’t synthesize or (being water-soluble) store itself. Luckily, this vitamin can be found in plenty of foods, such as eggs, wholegrain breads, liver, peas, fresh fruit and veg, and some fortified breakfast cereals.

One of vitamin B1’s functions in the body is to break down and release energy from food*, but there are other benefits of vitamin B1 that get talked about a little less – which brings us to our next question …

What is vitamin B1 good for?

Now you know more about what it is, let’s talk about what the functions of vitamin B1 are. Our body needs its help in a number of important areas:

  1. Heart function. Vitamin B1 contributes to the normal functioning of the heart**. Of course, there are a number of things that can affect heart health, and it’s important to keep an eye on them all – but eating enough vitamin B1 is one good way to help take care of it.
  2. The metabolism. Our bodies get their energy from foods containing fat, carbohydrates and protein, but they need help in order to actually use that fuel. And that’s where vitamin B1 comes in! It supports the release of energy from carbohydrates contributing to a normal energy-yielding metabolism*.
  3. The nervous system*. The nervous system helps the body and brain communicate: it’s the network of nerves and special cells whose job it is to transmit messages from the brain and spinal cord to all the different parts of the body, and vice versa. Vitamin B1 contributes to the normal function of the nervous system.
  4. Psychological function. This is one of the lesser-known benefits of vitamin B1 that have been approved by The European Food Safety Authority (as have all of the benefits on our list): it contributes to normal psychological function**.

How to keep your vitamin B1 levels up

So, it turns out there are multiple benefits of vitamin B1 – but how can you make sure that your body gets enough of it? The NHS recommends a daily intake of 1mg for men, and 0.8mg for women. Here’s a quick list of foods to help you add vitamin B1 to your diet:

  • Wholegrain bread = 0.126mg of vitamin B1 per slice.
  • Fortified plain oats = 0.125mg of vitamin B1 per serving (28g).
  • Green peas = 0.1mg of vitamin B1 per 40g serving.
  • Eggs = 0.020mg of vitamin B1 per egg (50g)

So that’s our run down on vitamin B1! With all these benefits, why not try adding some to your diet? And if you’d like to find out more about getting a heart-friendly diet and lifestyle, download our Cholesterol Lowering Starter Kit! It’s packed with expert advice, handy food guides, and exercise tips to help you make positive changes, easily.

*Thiamine contributes to a normal energy-yielding metabolism and functioning of the nervous system.
**Thiamine contributes to normal psychological and heart function.

11 Impressive Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Benefits

Vitamin B1 is a vital human nutrient that belongs to the vitamin B complex. It plays an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and improving the cardiovascular functioning of the body.

Vitamin B1 is one of the eight water-soluble vitamins in the B complex family. It helps in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn is used to produce energy for carrying out various bodily functions. Vitamin B1 is also required for the breakdown of fats and protein.

In addition to these health benefits, it maintains the muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract and promotes the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver. It also improves the body’s ability to withstand stress and is often called the “anti-stress” vitamin. [1]

Important Sources of Vitamin B1

Yeast and liver are the richest sources of vitamin B1. Pork, whole-grain cereals, rye, wheat germ, and kidney beans are also important sources of this vitamin. The list also includes asparagus, potatoes, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, spinach, tuna, green peas, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and eggplant. Adding these to your diet will ensure a healthy level of vitamin B1. Unfortunately, overcooking and long-term refrigeration can destroy thiamine.

Vitamin B1 Deficiency Symptoms

The early symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency include lethargy, irritability, loss of memory, loss of sleep or appetite, weight loss, indigestion or constipation, and calf muscle tenderness. If left untreated these initial symptoms might lead to a severe form of thiamine deficiency, known as beriberi. This condition is characterized by nerve, heart, and brain abnormalities, but the symptoms vary from person to person and depend on a number of factors. Some examples are explained below.

Dry Beriberi: This condition involves nerve and muscle abnormalities, a prickling sensation in the toes, a burning sensation in the feet at night, leg cramps, and muscle atrophy.

Thiamine helps the body’s cells convert carbohydrates into energy. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Wet Beriberi: Common symptoms include abnormally fast heartbeat, fluid retention in the legs, pulmonary edema, and hypotension, which might result in shock and even death. [2]

Brain Abnormalities: In alcoholics, thiamine deficiency might result in brain abnormalities such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Some of its common symptoms include haziness, involuntary eye movements, difficulty in walking and partial paralysis of the eyes among other debilitating symptoms. If ignored, these symptoms could become fatal. The common symptoms of Korsakoff’s psychosis include loss of memory, incoherence, and confabulation.

Infantile Beriberi: This variety is commonly seen in newborns of women already suffering from thiamine deficiency who contract this condition from the mother’s milk. Heart failure, loss of reflexes and aphonia are some of the common symptoms, so be sure to have sufficient levels of vitamin B1 if you are pregnant.

Health Benefits of Vitamin B1

Thiamine helps in many important functions and is one of the vital nutrients in the body. Its benefits include the following;

Promotes Energy Production

Sugar is the principal source of energy in our body, where it is oxidized to form a usable form of energy due to the presence of vitamin B1. It is part of a complex enzyme system called the pyruvate dehydrogenase system, which helps in the oxidation of sugar. It is also required for the functioning of this enzyme system, which releases energy for a variety of functions in the body.

Protects Nerves

Vitamin B1 helps in the proper development of myelin sheaths around nerves. A deficiency of this vitamin may result in the degeneration of these coverings, which can result in nerve damage and death.

Prevents Heart Diseases

This vitamin helps in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is used to relay messages between the nerves and muscles and to ensure proper cardiac function. Vitamin B1 deficiency can, therefore, result in irregular cardiac functions. When given vitamin B1 intravenously for seven days, people suffering from congestive heart failure showed considerable improvements in their echocardiograms, and this proves that it can prevent heart disease.

Prevents Cataracts

When used along with other essential nutrients, vitamin B1 can delay or prevent the occurrence of cataracts.

Anti-aging Properties

Vitamin B1 works as a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect your body from the signs of aging like wrinkles, age spots, and other age-related conditions that regularly affect the organs.

Promotes Digestion

This vitamin also helps in the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which is essential for the complete digestion of food particles.

Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

Vitamin B1 is known to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Gary E. Gibson et al., there are several similarities between thiamine deficiency and Alzheimer’s as both are linked to cognitive problems and a reduction in brain glucose metabolism. When treated with vitamin B1 supplements of 100 mg per day, patients with this disease felt relief. There are placebo-controlled trial studies currently ongoing to determine more about the mechanism by which this occurs. [3]

Improves Memory

Vitamin B1 can improve your memory and concentration power. It is also used in the management of many nervous disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Bell’s palsy. It is better known as a “morale vitamin” for its positive impact on the nervous system and a healthy mental attitude.

Stimulates Production of RBC

Vitamin B1 plays an important role in the production of red blood cells (RBCs), which keep people healthy, active, and energized.

Relieves Effects of Alcoholism

Vitamin B1 can fend off the deficiencies caused by cirrhosis, infections, hyperthyroidism, and the other effects of alcoholism. [4]

Improves Appetite

This vitamin can significantly improve appetite and mental alertness.

Note: Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin and is expelled through urine. Therefore, make sure to maintain a well-balanced diet that can resupply the necessary amounts of vitamin B1 regularly.

90,000 Vitamin B1 – thiamine, plasma (Vitamin B1, Thiamine, plasma)

Study material
Blood plasma (EDTA)

Method of determination
HPLC-MS / MS (high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry).

The level of vitamin B1 in plasma reflects mainly the level of its recent intake into the body and, to a lesser extent, reserves.

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in small amounts in most plant and animal tissues.Among food sources, the most rich in this vitamin are whole grains, lean pork, offal (liver, heart, kidneys). The biologically active form of vitamin B1 – thiamine pyrophosphate (also known as thiamine diphosphate) serves as a coenzyme for decarboxylation reactions catalyzed by pyruvate and ketoglutarate complexes, for the enzyme transketolase, a complex of branched-chain alpha-keto acids dehydrogenases, etc. oxidative decarboxylation, pentose phosphate pathway and Krebs cycle), is important for maintaining ionic gradients, mechanisms of nerve impulse conduction, acetylcholine synthesis and other processes in the nervous system.

The cause of B1 deficiency may be inadequate dietary intake due to dietary characteristics such as those based on polished rice and raw fish, which contain microbial thiaminases that destroy vitamin B1 in the gastrointestinal tract. Alcoholism causes a deficiency of this vitamin due to impaired absorption, use and storage of the nutrient in the body, which can lead to the development of Korsakov-Wernicke syndrome (alcoholic encephalopathy).The risk group for developing vitamin B1 deficiency includes patients on parenteral nutrition without adequate thiamine supplementation, as well as patients on prolonged renal dialysis.

Avitaminosis B1 leads to a lack of ATP, promotes the accumulation of under-oxidized metabolites, which have a toxic effect, and primarily affects the most aerobic tissues – the brain, nerves, heart. Severe thiamine deficiency leads to beriberi disease – severe dysfunction of the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.There is a “dry” (without edema) form of beriberi, associated mainly with neurological manifestations: polyneuritis, peripheral neuropathy, muscle weakness or pain in the upper and lower extremities, gait disturbance, convulsions. The “wet” form of beriberi is characterized by cardiovascular disorders with progressive heart failure and edema. At more advanced stages of deficiency, neuropsychiatric manifestations are possible, which correlate with Korsakoff-Wernicke syndrome.

To assess the status of vitamin B1, a study of its content in whole blood, erythrocytes, plasma or serum is used. Most of the thiamine in the circulating blood is found in erythrocytes and leukocytes (up to 90%). Plasma thiamine is only 10% of the thiamine in whole blood, and its level is more influenced by recent vitamin intake and current body condition. A low concentration of B1 in plasma is not always associated with clinical manifestations of its deficiency – there is no specific threshold indicating the development of symptoms of thiamine deficiency.In the diagnosis of thiamine deficiency, knowledge of its clinical manifestations (often affecting various body systems) plays a leading role.


  1. Pilipovich A.A. The use of B vitamins in the treatment of polyneuropathy of various genesis. CardioSomatics. 2018; 9 (2): 36-42. DOI: 10.26442 / 2221-7185_2018.2.36-42
  2. Frank L. Thiamin in Clinical Practice. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2015; 20 (10): 1-18.
  3. McCann A. et al. Comparable Performance Characteristics of Plasma Thiamine and Erythrocyte Thiamine Diphosphate in Response to Thiamine Fortification in Rural Cambodian Women. Nutrients. 2017; 9: 676. DOI: 10.3390 / nu9070676 /
  4. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemictry and Molecular Diagnostics (Ed. Burtis C. A., Ashwood E. R., Bruns D. E.), 5th ed., Elseivier. 2012: 2238.

90,000 Vitamin B1 will help in the treatment of sleep and wake disorders

Scientists have discovered a daily dependence of the attachment of acetic acid residues to glutamate dehydrogenase, one of the main enzymes in the brain.At the same time, vitamin B1 smooths out the differences between the evening and morning state of the enzyme. In the future, this will help develop ways to improve the well-being of people with circadian rhythm disturbances. Article published in J ournal of Neurochemistry . This work was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation.

The daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness depends on various reasons – the internal characteristics of the body’s work and external light signals. In humans, it is close to 24 hours.Mutations in genes, changes in hormone levels, or movement to a different time zone often cause this cycle to be disrupted. Symptoms usually coincide with insomnia: inability to fall asleep at night and daytime sleepiness. However, this problem is more serious than ordinary insomnia and worries about 3% of the adult population. A promising target for the treatment of diurnal disorders is the enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). In the brain, it maintains the level of glutamate necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses. The work of the GDG is strictly regulated using special mechanisms.One of them is the addition of acetic acid residues to different parts of the enzyme, that is, its acetylation.

Scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, with the participation of colleagues from the Otto von Guericke Magdeburg University of Experimental Internal Medicine (Germany), found that acetic acid residues can activate GDH by attaching to a specific site on the protein surface. They take the place of the natural inhibitor of GDH, guanosine triphosphate, and it cannot suppress the activity of the enzyme.

To study the daily dependence of acetylation, scientists characterized GDH from the brains of 36 rats: 9 in the morning with and without vitamin B1 and in the evening. To determine the sites of acetylation on the surface of the protein, the scientists used the method of chemical analysis, which consists in the destruction of the enzyme, separation of its fragments and calculation of their masses and charges according to the speed of passage in a special installation – the method of liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry.

“We studied the dependence of rat brain GDH acetylation on the time of day and found that in the morning the amount of acetic acid residues in different parts of the GDH is greater than in the evening. Such changes change the activity of the enzyme and the amount of excitatory glutamate in the brain, therefore they can affect the wakefulness of the body ” , – says the project manager Viktoria Bunik, Doctor of Chemistry, Leading Researcher of the Department of Biokinetics of the A.N. Belozersky, Professor of the Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, Moscow State University and Sechenov University

Scientists have also shown that vitamin B1 affects GDH activity in different ways depending on the time of administration. The mechanism of this action has not yet been deciphered. Nevertheless, in the morning, the vitamin reduces the amount of stuck-on acetic acid residues and leads to a decrease in GDH activity, and in the evening it increases it and increases its activity. Therefore, the introduction of a high dose of vitamin B1 in the morning allows you to reach the evening state of GDH, and vice versa.

“It is known that disturbances in circadian rhythms can lead to the development of serious pathologies and an increased risk of malignant neoplasms. It is likely that the effect of vitamin B1, which we found, can be used in the treatment of rhythm disorders in humans ” , concludes Victoria Bunik .

Source: Indicator

Vitamin B1 dosage form can suppress lung cancer

Scientists at Moscow State University have found that cocarboxylase in high doses can have a negative effect on lung cancer cells without affecting healthy ones.Cocarboxylase is a pharmacological form of vitamin B1, which is widely used in medicine for diabetes, renal, hepatic and heart failure, and a number of other diseases. The study was carried out on cells in a laboratory. This work was supported by
a grant from the Russian Science Foundation and published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

“New data on the anti-cancer effects of high doses of cocarboxylase and their safety on normal cells may have medical applications in the treatment of lung cancer, especially in combination with other agents.Now, clinical studies of such an action of cocarboxylase are required, ”said Viktoria Bunik, the project manager for a grant from the Russian Science Foundation, Doctor of Chemistry, Leading Researcher of the Biokinetics Department of the A.N. Belozersky Moscow State University, professor at the Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics at Moscow State University and Sechenov University.

Lung cancer is one of the most difficult to treat types of cancer, which ranks first in mortality among patients (about 60%).It is also the most common, especially in developed countries. There are many causes of this disease, and the main one is smoking. In addition, workers in the textile industry, construction companies, miners and other professions who work with high levels of dust, especially asbestos, are affected. Some viruses, for example, the human papillomavirus, may also be at fault. Research is conducted annually to develop new treatments for lung cancer. Thus, Russian scientists from the A.N. Belozersky Moscow State University, during the study, it was found that cocarboxylase can help in the fight against this deadly disease.

Cocarboxylase is used in medicine as part of the complex therapy of a wide variety of diseases: diabetes (including diabetic coma), renal and hepatic failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and many others. This compound is formed from vitamin B1, or thiamine, and serves as a cofactor for a number of protein enzymes. By binding to the latter, cocarboxylase plays the role of a catalytic center in the reactions of elimination of the –COOH group from α-keto acids and in the metabolic reactions of α-ketosugars — the substance directly affects carbohydrate metabolism and indirectly on the synthesis of nucleic acids, proteins and lipids.

Cocarboxylase can suppress lung cancer as follows. It is known that the glutathione tripeptide enhances the resistance of malignant tumors to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This molecule has many functions, but all of them are aimed at improving cell vitality, especially when exposed to harmful effects. Scientists have found that increased levels of glutathione in lung cancer cells are associated with low activity of the polyenzyme complex of oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (OHDC), a participant in the tricarboxylic acid cycle – a key stage in cellular respiration and a point of intersection of many metabolic pathways.Hence, it was suggested that the activation of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase will reduce the concentration of glutathione and, accordingly, the ability of cancer cells to reproduce. Cocarboxylase is one of the well-known activators of OGDK.

To test their idea, the authors conducted an in vitro experiment on human lung cancer cells and normal epithelial (the disease affects them) cells of a monkey. It turned out that cocarboxylase activates OGDC only in the first case, when the enzyme activity is initially low.Therefore, both the level of glutathione and cell viability are reduced by the action of cocarboxylase only in cancer cells. Apparently, changes in metabolism in them stimulate the side reaction of OGDK – the generation of reactive oxygen species, with which cancer cells fight, reducing the level of OGDK in comparison with normal cells. Scientists have confirmed this assumption by showing the similarity of the action in cancer cells of cocarboxylase and the well-known inducer of reactive oxygen species – the drug cisplatin most often used for the treatment of lung cancer.

Role of thiamine in maintaining daily functions and optimal health

Role of thiamine in maintaining daily functions and optimal health

The human body needs a variety of vitamins to function properly. One of the most important groups of vitamins that help maintain health are the B vitamins, which include vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12.
B vitamins are involved in the maintenance of cognitive function, nervous system and brain health, as well as hematopoiesis.

Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, is found in many foods and is vital for the normal functioning of the body.

Thiamine ensures the normal functioning of the nervous, cardiovascular and muscular systems. It is also important for the implementation of various enzymatic processes and carbohydrate metabolism.

Dietary sources of thiamine include asparagus, beef, pork, liver, milk powder, nuts, oats, oranges, eggs, seeds (sunflowers and flax), legumes (lentils and peas), yeast, broccoli, onions, green beans, carrots , cabbage, tomatoes, green peas, beet greens, Brussels sprouts, spinach, eggplant.A number of food products (rice, pasta, bread, cereals, cereals and flour) are specially enriched with thiamine.

In fact, almost all foods contain some thiamine. It is estimated that 50% of the foods regularly eaten can be attributed to good, very good, or excellent sources of vitamin B1. In this context, it may seem strange that vitamin B1 deficiency is one of the most common in various countries.

The reason for this high risk of deficiency, despite the availability of vitamin B1 in food, lies in the handling / processing of food.Vitamin B1 is susceptible to destruction in the modern food production system. Every step of the way, from storage to processing and cooking, foods lose most of their vitamin B1.

Thiamine is destroyed by heat. Traditional cooking methods and the use of a microwave oven, including reheating food, reduce the vitamin B1 content of food by about 20-50%. At 205 ° C, thiamine is almost completely destroyed within one hour.

Like other B vitamins, vitamin B1 is important in the production of energy from carbohydrates and fats in food. Thiamine has a beneficial effect on the condition of people with heart disease, metabolic disorders, cataracts, glaucoma, etc. Many studies confirm that thiamine can improve the cognitive functions of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Thiamin, sometimes referred to as an “anti-stress” vitamin, can maintain a positive mental attitude, prevent memory loss, improve learning ability, combat stress, and boost energy.Vitamin B1 can also prevent cataracts, obesity and metabolic disorders in rats. Some researchers believe that vitamin B1 can improve the condition of patients with metabolic disorders.

Thus, vitamin B1 plays a central role in energy metabolism, and its deficiency disrupts almost all important functions in the body. It is known that severe and long-term vitamin B1 deficiency – although it is extremely rare – affects the nervous system, the heart and digestive systems, as well as other systems of the body.
Given that the brain is one of the most energy-intensive organs in the human body, it should come as no surprise that vitamin B1 deficiency usually leads to major problems in the central nervous system. Thiamine also plays a key role in the structure and integrity of brain cells. If thiamine deficiency is severe, or occurs at a critical time in brain development, the damage can be quite severe.

People who have undergone bariatric surgery, have conditions such as HIV / AIDS, chronic alcoholism, heart failure, people with gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, or use the diuretic furosemide (Lasix), as well as older people, are at risk of thiamine deficiency.

Thiamine deficiency can lead to the appearance of specific disorders, such as beriberi syndrome, leading to damage to the nervous and cardiovascular systems, edema; Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome – a condition that manifests itself in the form of movement disorders, eye paralysis, delirium.

Other manifestations of vitamin B1 deficiency usually include symptoms of depression, emotional instability, unwanted behavior, fearfulness, agitation, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, memory loss, peripheral neuropathy, sonophobia, back pain, muscle atrophy, myalgia, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

The specified physiological need for thiamine for adults is 1.5 mg per day, for children – from 0.3 to 1.5 mg per day. The upper allowable consumption level has not been established.

Most people get their needed daily intake of vitamin B1 from a healthy diet. You can also use biologically active food supplements containing B vitamins. Since B vitamins are soluble in water, the likelihood of overdosing them is quite low, our body excretes excess amounts of B vitamins, including thiamine, in the urine.

Before using dietary supplements, you should consult your doctor.

Source: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) | Leka-Farm

B vitamins are micronutrients that are required by the body in very small quantities, they are necessary for normal metabolism, energy production.

Synonyms Russian

Anti-beriberi factor, aneurin, anti-neuritis factor.

English synonyms

B1 (thiamine), vitamin F, aneurin, thiamine diphosphate (TDP) – physiologically active form.

Research method

High performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS).

Measurement units

Ng / ml (nanograms per milliliter).

What biomaterial can be used for research?

Venous blood.

How to properly prepare for the study?
  • Do not eat for 2-3 hours before donating blood, you can drink clean non-carbonated water.
  • Do not smoke for 30 minutes prior to examination.
Services for the collection (collection) of biomaterial

Venous blood


up to 6 days

General information about the study

B vitamins are micronutrients that the body needs in very small quantities. They play an important role in metabolism and energy production. Vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy skin, bones, muscles, internal organs and the nervous system.An analysis of B vitamins determines their content in the blood or urine and helps to assess the patient’s nutritional balance.

Vitamin B1 is a coenzyme that helps the body produce energy. It participates in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids and alcohol, is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system, heart and muscles. Foods rich in vitamin B1: cereals, grains, bran bread, potatoes, pork, seafood, nuts, legumes.

The level of B1 is determined by a blood thiamine test or a transketolase test (functional thiamine test).

With a lack of vitamin B1, diseases such as:

  • wet beriberi – severe vitamin deficiency causing cardiovascular failure,
  • dry beriberi – causes peripheral neuropathy,
  • hemorrhagic polioencephalitis, or Wernicke-Korsakov’s disease, is accompanied by mental changes.

B vitamins enter the body with food and are used as needed, and their excess is excreted in the urine.Because they are water-soluble, the body can only store them in very small amounts and must be supplied regularly from food.

The causes of vitamin deficiency can be:

  • insufficient supply of the body with B vitamins,
  • inability to absorb and process vitamins,
  • eating food that suppresses the activity of vitamins,
  • deficiency of other vitamins or minerals, which interferes with the absorption of vitamin B,
  • increased need for vitamin.

Deficiency of vitamin B occurs mainly among patients suffering from malnutrition, chronic alcoholism, malabsorption and other gastrointestinal diseases; these are, for example, those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, and patients with celiac disease, as well as the elderly. Avitaminosis also occurs in some chronic diseases, cancer, unbalanced diet and prolonged diarrhea. Pregnant women with a restricted diet, as well as their fetus, are particularly at risk of vitamin B deficiency.In addition, occasionally a child may have a congenital metabolic disorder that interferes with the proper absorption of the vitamin.

Symptoms associated with a deficiency of B vitamins can be characteristic of this group, or they can be non-specific, especially with a moderate vitamin deficiency. Since there is usually a lack of several vitamins at once, multiple symptoms may occur at the same time. Common symptoms of vitamin deficiency include rash, dermatitis, sore tongue, numbness, tingling and burning sensation in the palms and feet, anemia, fatigue, and mood swings.

The toxic effect of B vitamins is rare, usually it is associated with the use of a greatly exceeded dose of the vitamin. High concentrations of certain B vitamins can affect the liver and nervous system.

What is research used for?
  • To identify vitamin B1 deficiency with characteristic symptoms.
  • To check for vitamin deficiency in patients in whose life there are factors that threaten a lack of B vitamins (malnutrition, malnutrition, intravenous nutrition, undergone gastric bypass surgery).
  • To check for vitamin deficiency in patients suffering from alcoholism or chronic diseases that cause malabsorption, such as celiac disease.
When is the study scheduled?

For symptoms of vitamin B deficiency:

  • rash, dermatitis,
  • sore tongue, sores on the lips or mouth, cracks in the corners of the mouth,
  • numbness, tingling, or burning in hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy),
  • anemia,
  • fatigue, insomnia,
  • irritability, memory problems, depression.

In addition, this test can be prescribed if the patient is at increased risk of vitamin deficiency. The high-risk group includes chronic alcoholics, patients who are malnourished, as well as patients with celiac disease and other diseases associated with malabsorption.

The toxic effect of vitamin B is very rare, therefore, an analysis to identify the toxicity of the vitamin is practically not prescribed. High concentrations of some B vitamins can affect the liver and nervous system.

What do the results mean?

Reference values: 2.1 – 4.3 ng / ml.

Low levels of vitamin B1 may indicate a deficiency, but the analysis cannot judge whether it is caused by an insufficient intake of the vitamin or the body’s inability to absorb and use the available vitamin B1. Moreover, as a rule, the patient has a lack of several vitamins at once.

If the level of the vitamin is normal, then the observed symptoms are probably caused not by vitamin deficiency, but by other reasons.

High vitamin B levels have been linked to vitamin toxicity. It is very rare and is usually the result of high doses of vitamin supplements.

Also recommended
Biomaterial type and collection methods


At home



Venous blood



At home: biomaterial may be collected by a mobile worker.

In the Diagnostic Center: taking or self-collection of biomaterial is carried out in the Diagnostic Center.

Independently: collection of biomaterial is carried out by the patient himself (urine, feces, sputum, etc.). Another option is that biomaterial samples are provided to the patient by the doctor (for example, surgical material, cerebrospinal fluid, biopsy samples, etc.). After receiving the samples, the patient can either independently deliver them to the Diagnostic Center, or call a mobile service at home to transfer them to the laboratory.

Get tested for vitamin B 1 (thiamine) in the blood

Method of determination
HPLC-MS / MS (high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry).

Study material
Blood plasma (EDTA)

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Synonyms : Thiamine pyrophosphate; Aneurin; the old name is Anevrin.

B1; Vitamin F; Aneurin; Thiamine Diphosphate (TDP).

Brief characteristics of the analyte Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is a water-soluble vitamin that is found in small amounts in most plant and animal tissues. Among food sources, the most rich in this vitamin are whole grains, lean pork, offal (liver, heart, kidneys). The biologically active form of vitamin B1, thiamine pyrophosphate (also known as thiamine diphosphate) serves as a coenzyme for decarboxylation reactions catalyzed by pyruvate and ketoglutarate complexes, for the transketolase enzyme, branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase complex, etc.Vitamin B1 is essential for energy metabolism (mitochondrial oxidative decarboxylation, pentose phosphate pathway and Krebs cycle), important for maintaining ionic gradients, mechanisms of nerve impulse conduction, acetylcholine synthesis and other processes in the nervous system.

What can be associated with vitamin B1 deficiency in the body and how it manifests itself

The cause of B1 deficiency may be inadequate dietary intake due to dietary characteristics such as those based on polished rice and raw fish, which contain microbial thiaminases that destroy vitamin B1 in the gastrointestinal tract.Alcoholism causes a deficiency of this vitamin due to impaired absorption, use and storage of the nutrient in the body, which can lead to the development of Korsakov-Wernicke syndrome (alcoholic encephalopathy). The risk group for developing vitamin B1 deficiency includes patients on parenteral nutrition without adequate thiamine supplementation, as well as patients on prolonged renal dialysis.

Avitaminosis B1 leads to a lack of ATP, promotes the accumulation of under-oxidized metabolites, which have a toxic effect, and primarily affects the most aerobic tissues – the brain, nerves, heart.Severe thiamine deficiency leads to beriberi disease – severe dysfunction of the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. There is a “dry” (without edema) form of beriberi, associated mainly with neurological manifestations: polyneuritis, peripheral neuropathy, muscle weakness or pain in the upper and lower extremities, gait disturbance, convulsions. The “wet” form of beriberi is characterized by cardiovascular disorders with progressive heart failure and edema.At more advanced stages of deficiency, neuropsychiatric manifestations are possible, which correlate with Korsakoff-Wernicke syndrome.

For what purpose is the level of vitamin B1 in blood serum determined?

The level of vitamin B1 in plasma reflects mainly the level of its recent intake into the body and, to a lesser extent, reserves.

Specificity of assessing the status of vitamin B1 in the body

To assess the status of vitamin B1, a study of its content in whole blood, erythrocytes, plasma or serum is used.Most of the thiamine in the circulating blood is found in erythrocytes and leukocytes (up to 90%). Plasma thiamine is only 10% of the thiamine in whole blood, and its level is more influenced by recent vitamin intake and current body condition. A low concentration of B1 in plasma is not always associated with clinical manifestations of its deficiency – there is no specific threshold indicating the development of symptoms of thiamine deficiency. In the diagnosis of thiamine deficiency, knowledge of its clinical manifestations (often affecting various body systems) plays a leading role.


Main literature:

  1. Pilipovich A.A. The use of B vitamins in the treatment of polyneuropathy of various genesis. CardioSomatics. 2018; 9 (2): 36-42. DOI: 10.26442 / 2221-7185_2018.2.36-42
  2. Frank L. Thiamin in Clinical Practice. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2015; 20 (10): 1-18.
  3. McCann A. et al. Comparable Performance Characteristics of Plasma Thiamine and Erythrocyte Thiamine Diphosphate in Response to Thiamine Fortification in Rural Cambodian Women.Nutrients. 2017; 9: 676. DOI: 10.3390 / nu9070676 /
  4. Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemictry and Molecular Diagnostics (Ed. Burtis C. A., Ashwood E. R., Bruns D. E.), 5th ed., Elseivier. 2012: 2238.

90,000 Russian scientists have discovered the anti-cancer properties of vitamin B1 – RT in Russian

Russian scientists have discovered that the dosage form of vitamin B1 – cocarboxylase – in high doses can suppress the growth of lung cancer cells without affecting healthy cells in the body.Cocarboxylase is already used in medicine for the treatment of diabetes, kidney, liver and heart diseases. The effectiveness of this drug against malignant tumors was confirmed in a laboratory experiment on human lung cancer cells and normal monkey epithelial cells. According to the researchers, doctors can now use the potential anti-cancer effects of cocarboxylase and prescribe it as a complementary therapy.

A team of scientists from the N.N.A.N. Belozersky Moscow State University (NII FHB Moscow State University) found out that the dosage form of vitamin B1 – cocarboxylase – in high doses can suppress lung cancer cells. This was reported in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. The research of scientists was supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

To test the efficacy of this compound against cancer, the authors of the study conducted a laboratory experiment on human lung cancer cells and normal monkey epithelial cells.His results showed that under the action of cocarboxylase, the ability of cancer cells to multiply was suppressed, while healthy cells were not affected.

  • Malignant tumor in the lung (computer illustration)
  • Gettyimages.ru

“New data on the anti-cancer effect of high doses of cocarboxylase, while safe for normal cells, may have medical use in the treatment of lung cancer, especially in combination with other agents.Now clinical studies of such an action of cocarboxylase are required, “said Victoria Bunik, the main author of the study, leading researcher at the Research Institute of FHB MSU.

Cocarboxylase is formed from vitamin B1, or thiamine. It is already used in medicine for the treatment of various diseases: diabetes mellitus (including diabetic coma), renal and hepatic failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and many others. However, for the first time, Russian scientists have shown the possibility of fighting cancer cells using this compound.

Scientists have explained the mechanism of action of cocarboxylase on tumor cells. This substance chemically binds to a number of enzyme proteins and acts as a catalyst for various processes. In particular, it affects carbohydrate metabolism and, indirectly, the synthesis of nucleic acids, proteins and lipids. But the most important thing is that under the action of cocarboxylase, the content of glutathione, which is responsible for their viability and resistance to therapy, decreases in cancer cells.

According to the researchers, the use of cocarboxylase as an anticancer drug is possible even before clinical trials.

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