Food Sources of Vitamin B1

Thiamin (vitamin B1) is the first among B complex group of vitamins to be identified and so named as vitamin B1. All the B complex vitamins are water soluble vitamins including thiamin. Thiamin is essential in the metabolism and utilization of carbohydrates. It functions in the decarboxylation of ?-ketoacids, like pyruvate ?-ketoglutarate, and branched chain amino acids and is a source of energy generation. Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) acts as a coenzyme of carboxylase enzyme that causes activation of transketolase that mediates the conversion of hexose (like glucose with six carbon) and pentose (five carbon carbohydrates) phosphates. In thiamin deficiency there is accumulation of lactic acid and pyruvic acid in tissues and also in body fluids. Thiamin has also been postulated to play a role in peripheral nerve conduction, although the exact chemical reactions underlying this function are unknown.

Food Sources of Thiamin:

Thiamin is present in many food sources (both plant and animal sources) in nature in abundance. The vegetable or plant food sources of thiamin include whole grain cereals (wheat, maize, rice etc. although milling of rice removes considerable quantity of thiamin and other B complex vitamins from rice and can be commonest cause of thiamin deficiency in predominantly rice eating cultures), gram, yeast, legumes, pulses, nuts and oilseeds (groundnut or peanut), and many different fruits though fruits contains comparatively lesser quantity of thiamin. The animal food sources of thiamin are pork, beef, organ meat, fish, eggs, milk etc. Milk is an important source of thiamin in infants if the mother’s thiamin level in blood is satisfactory. In poor and underdeveloped countries the main source of thiamin is generally the cereal or whole grain (rice, wheat or maize, depending on the dietary habit).

Coffee, both regular and decaffeinated; tea, raw fish, shellfish, contain thiaminases an enzyme which can destroy thiamin and theoretically can cause thiamin deficiency or deplete thiamin stores in heavy tea or coffee drinkers.

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