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Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is essential for energy and can be found in whole grains, seafood and beans

Grilled prawns on a barbecue
Seafood is a good source of vitamin B1

RDA is 1.4 mg.

You can’t store it in the body, and cooking destroys it. Eating too much processed and refined foods like white flour and white sugar can deplete vitamin B1. Heavy drinking stops it from being absorbed from food.

Where do you get vitamin B1?

You get it from whole grains, sunflower seeds, seafood, bacon, beans, potatoes and nuts.


Vitamin B1 is essential for energy; it keeps your nerves in good condition and is associated with preventing the growth of cataracts in the eye and the development of arthritis. It may help treat depression and memory loss.

Too much vitamin B1

It is safe in doses of up to 100 mg a day. Very large amounts of 3000 mg or more a day may cause problems.

Too little vitamin B1

Lack of vitamin B1 may cause tiredness, irritability, mental confusion, forgetfulness and depression. There may also be tingling and weakness in the limbs.

Severe deficiency results in the potentially fatal disease beri-beri.

Vitamin B1 supplements

It is probably best to take vitamin B complex preparations as a supplement, rather than something that contains only vitamin B1. A mixture is better absorbed and more effective in maintaining the body’s vitamin balance.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.