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Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, involved in numerous body functions. The vitamin is essential for nervous system and muscle functioning as well as carbohydrate metabolism and the production of hydrochloric acid. Very little thiamin is stored in the body causing deficiency to occur very quickly without sufficient dietary consumption.

Food sources
Good sources of Vitamin B1 or thiamin are nuts, liver, beef and pork. Peas, spinach and wholemeal bread are also rich in Vitamin B.

Daily requirement
The European Commission daily recommendation for Vitamin B1 or thiamin is is 1.4mg for both men and women. In the United States, the RDA for thiamin is a little higher at 1.5mg. The UK recommended daily allowance for Vitamin B1 is 1mg for men and 0.8mg for women.

A dietary deficiency in Vitamin B1 or thiamin is rare, particularly in the UK and other Western countries. Most cases of deficiency occur due to alcohol abuse and underlying kidney problems. However, excessive stress has been shown to deplete reserves of thiamin and cause at least temporary deficiency.

Symptoms of minor Vitamin B1 deficiency include fatigue, nausea, sore muscles. loss of appetite and mental problems such as depression and memory loss. However, if left untreated, severe thiamin deficiency can eventually lead to Beriberi Disease, a condition affecting the muscles, heart, nerves, and digestive system. Beriberi disease can prove fatal without medical attention.

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