Vitamin B1, like all B vitamins, is water soluble, and therefore do not get stored in the body. They need to be regularly topped up, and vitamin B1 only lasts about 2 weeks. It is also known as thiamine, thiamin, or sometimes aneurin.
It enhances blood circulation, helps with blood formation and the breakdown of carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the nervous system, in the bio synthesis of various constituents of cells, notably acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, so it is good for the brain (antidepressant) in memory and learning. It is also used in forming gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is also used in the production of hydrochloric acid, and so is important in digestion. It is essential for growth in the young. It may be useful for motion sickness.
A lack of vitamin B1 can result in a variety of symptoms, the most obvious being beri beri. A person with beri beri can be lying incapable of moving, and after a shot of vitamin B1 will be moving about fine within hours. Other symptoms can be nervousness, forgetfulness, irritibility, numbness or tingling in extremities, sensitivity and pain, poor co-ordination, weak sore muscles, general weakness, severe weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, heart changes, laboured breathing, loss of appetite, constipation, arthritis, cataracts, edema, enlarged liver and infertility.
Over cooking, acidity, alkaline (adding soda to make vegetables look greener), or over processing destroys vitamin B1, and alcohol, antacids, hormone treatments, infections, tea, coffee and betel nuts all deplete it.
To fully utilise B1, there must be some form of manganese (a mineral) ingested.
Vitamin B1 is found in sunflower seeds, flax seeds, peanuts, wheat bran, any grain germ, liver, yeast, pork, seafood, raw freshwater fish, raw shellfish (like in sushi), egg yolk, beans, brown rice, whole grain rye, oatmeal, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes (in or just under the skin), oranges, and the edible parts of ferns (the green bits are poisonous).