Thiamin (aka vitamin B1)

Thiamin (aka vitamin B1)

vitamin capsule b1, 3d rendering

Thiamin is an essential nutrient that requires special attention as the body only stores 30-50 grams, about enough for 9-18 days, or a bit longer. This means stores of thiamin can easily be depleted.

Factors that can contribute to depleted stores include:

  • not eating enough thiamin containing foods and/or having a thiamin containing supplement
  • decreased absorption, and this can occur with a gastric bypass
  • increased inactivation, and alcohol can do this
  • higher metabolic needs, and having an operation can increase thiamin needs
  • losing extra amounts, and this can happen due to vomiting, in the presence of diabetes, and with use of diuretics.

Food sources of thiamin include:

  • Pork
  • Tuna
  • Vegemite
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Nuts
  • White bread (the government mandates fortification of flour).

Many multivitamins also contain thiamin. Such as:

  • Bariatric multivitamins
  • General multivitamins
  • Thiamin supplements like Betavit (100 mg per capsule).

The complications from becoming deficient in thiamin can be catastrophic, even fatal, if not identified and treated appropriately. A thiamin deficiency can develop into a condition known as Wernicke’s Encephalopathy.

Early signs of depleted thiamin stores include:

  • Poor balance
  • Confusion and feeling a bit foggy
  • Eye issues like double vision.

Read an ABC news article (from 2023) that is a sombre reminder about the importance of understanding the nutrition consequences of bariatric surgery, and seeking advice for those with expert knowledge.

A lived experience that is a sombre reminder about the importance of essential nutrients (CLICK TO READ)

vitamin capsule b1, 3d rendering