B vitamins are essential for physical and mental health. The reason being, they are needed for several functions within the body. For example, we need B vitamins to help increase and maintain feel good neurotransmitter levels, like serotonin. The adrenals absolutely love B vitamins and need them to function optimally. B vitamins are also necessary to support the nervous system, energy levels and so much more!
Unfortunately, many people are deficient in these crucial nutrients. Here's the thing. We don't store B vitamins like we do things like Vitamin D. That means we need to have a constant supply. If we don't, then it is only a matter of time before our levels become too low and our physical and/or mental health suffer. The other issue is that stress depletes our B vitamin levels. So, if we aren't eating the correct foods and/or taking a B Complex supplement, then we run the risk of becoming deficient.
As each B vitamin has a different function, I will be doing a series over the following weeks that focuses on individual B vitamins.
Let's kick it off with Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine. Along with stress, sugar is a major thiamine destroyer. When levels become too low, neurological damage and mental symptoms can ensue.
There are a number of symptoms associated with a thiamine deficiency including:
- Poor concentration
- Mental confusion
- Low pain tolerance
- Numbness and tingling or burning in the arms and legs or hands and feet
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
In extreme cases, beriberi can occur. This is a disease that causes inflammation in the nerves and can potentially lead to heart failure. In addition, a severe deficiency is associated with Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This is an irreversible brain deterioration that is seen in alcoholics.
Thiamine is water soluble. As previously mentioned, that means that excess levels are not stored in the body. The general recommend daily allowance is 1mg – 1.5mg, however, when needed, up to 300mg can be taken daily for therapeutic repair. Always get your levels tested and speak to your doctor before supplementing.
It's no secret that I love supplementation, but I do believe we need to eat nutrient dense food. The major sources of thiamine in food include:
- Organ meats – 3 oz contains 40% of the daily value
- Beef – of course grass-fed will be more rich in these vitamins
- Dark green vegetables
- Dairy products
- Sweet potato
Have you looked at the specific B vitamins and what each of them do individually?