Research has shown that vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) plays a key role in diabetic health. In addition to kidney dysfunction, thiamine deficiency has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems. It is an essential nutrient first classified in 1936 by the chemist Robert Williams.
Thiamine is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert carbohydrates into glucose (sugar), which is “burned” to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, are essential in the breakdown of fats and protein.
Thiamine is similar to other vitamins in the B group in that itâ€™s helps relieve stress, and increases the immune system. It is found in both plants and animals and also plays an important role during exercise, when you use a lot of energy.
Thiamine (B1) Deficiency Symptoms
Thiamine deficiency is rare, but tends to occur in people who get most of their calories from sugar or alcohol. Individuals with thiamine deficiency have difficulty digesting carbohydrates. As a result, a substance called pyruvic acid builds up in the bloodstream, causing a loss of mental alertness, difficulty breathing, and heart damage. In general, thiamine supplements are primarily used to treat this deficiency known as beriberi.
In a new study researchers recruited 40 type 2 diabetics who received 300 mg of vitamin B1 or a placebo daily. Those in the thiamine group had significant reduction in urinary albumin excretion. Actually 35 percent of the B1 subjects, urinary albumin excretion returned to normal levels.
The team stated a high dose of supplemental thiamine may provide “improved therapy for early-stage diabetic nephropathy.”