Vitamin B1 is a micronutrient in the B complex group and is known as Thiamine. Vitamin B1 is one of nutrients found to be associated with a pandemic human deficiency disease.
Thiamine deficiency results in Beriberi and skin sensitivity. Thiamine is essential for the functioning of the nervous system and carbohydrate metabolism. The common symptoms in Beriberi involve the nervous system, the heart, skin sensitivity and general mental and physical debility. In the digestive system vitamin B1 is useful in the secretion of hydrochloric acid for the digestive process.
Thiamine is believed to be helpful in conditions like arthritis, cataracts, certain forms of diabetes. Thiamine is associated with memory and learning. Enzymes dependant on thiamine are present in almost all body cells. Hence deficiency in vitamin B1 is found to affect almost all the systems of the body. Heart and nervous system are particularly have sensitivity to deficiency of vitamin B1.
Causes of thiamine deficiencyThe main cause of thiamine deficiency is malnutrition. Grains and cereals are very important food sources of vitamin B1. However most of the vitamin B1 in them is present in the outer layers and bran. However polishing the grains and refining the grains and their flour cases considerable loss of the vitamin B1.
High levels of alcohol in the blood interferes with the absorption and utilisation of thiamine and deficiency occurs in alcoholics. Shell fish, freshwater fish and ferns are rich in thiaminase, and raw consumption of them can result in thiamine getting degraded leading to its deficiency and skin sensitivity.
Antithiamine factors are present in betel nuts, tea and coffee, and excess consumption of these can can lead to deficiency of vitamin B1.
Elderly people who suffer malnutrition due to impaired absorption and people with gastrointestinal disorders develop deficiency of vitamin B1 and skin sensitivity.
Chronic diseases have been found to cause vitamin B1 deficiency.
Diabetics have been found to have deficiency of thiamine.
Vitamin B1 deficiency affectsMinor deficiency of Thiamine may result in loss of appetite, forgetfulness, irritability, sensitivity, digestive problems, and fatigue.
Vitamin B1 deficiency causes hair loss and white/gray hair.
A higher degree of deficiency may lead to nervousness, sensitivity, poor mental and nervous coordination, loss of weight and muscular and general weakness.
In severe deficiency with the setting in of Beriberi and/or wernicke's encephalopathy, neurodegeneration, wasting, neuro sensitivity and death may result.
Vitamin B1 benefits for skin care, sensitivity and skin healthVitamin B1 is very important for the healthy maintenance of the hair, clear and youthful skin, sensitivity and eyes. Thiamine is involved in many functions connected with nervous system and also in the formation of nerve fibres. Our skin has millions of nerve endings for varied sensory purposes. Damage to the nerves leads to reduced or loss of skin sensitivity.
In some cases hyper sensitivity of skin may occur with pin and needle sensation in the skin and tingling sensations in the hands and legs. The deficiency of vitamin B1 causes sensitivity of the skin, teeth, gums and cheek. Cracks also may appear on the lips with high skin sensitivity. As deficiency of vitamin B1 causes anemia and reduction in blood supply to the scalp, hair fall, premature graying of hair and poor growth of hair are experienced.
Toxicity of vitamin B1Thiamine toxicity is rare as it is water soluble, in excess, it is excreted in urine. Very high doses of thiamine can interfere with insulin and thyroid production. In rare cases, thiamine has caused anaphylactic shock when high doses were given intravenously. Rare symptoms of overdose are hyper sensitivity, high blood pressure, palpitation, insomnia, nervousness and skin eruptions.
Food sources of vitamin B1Thiamine is found in a wide variety of foods. Many varieties of seeds, bran of wheat and rice, liver, seafood, egg, yeast, oatmeal and fruits like oranges are good food sources of vitamin B1. High value vitamin B1 food are liver and baker's yeast.
For related information on skin inflammation (dermatitis), white spots and skin sensitivity read the following posts.