Vitamin B1, Thiamine, is a water soluble vitamin necessary for oxidative carboxylation of pyruvate to acetate and acetyl coenzyme A, the primary substrate for the Krebs cycle. It also is the coenzyme for transketolase in the pentose phosphate pathway. Thiamine pyrophosphate is an activated coenzyme form of B1 and acts in decarboxylation and transamination metabolic reactions.
Metabolics Vitamin B1 is in the form of Thiamine Pyrophosphate, one of the forms that occur in the human body making it readily available. Most Vitamin B1 supplements come in the form of Thiamine Hydrochloride which requires conversion to Thiamine Pyrophosphate in the body before it can be used and relies on adequate Magnesium, ATP and the presence of the enzyme Thiamine Pyrophosphokinase. This makes Thiamine Pyrophosphate the preferable form.
What does Vitamin B1 do?
- It contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism. Thiamine pyrophosphate is required as a coenzyme for a few but important enzymes that enable pyruvate to form Acetyl Co A (see Acetyl Co A Support), and alpha ketoglutarate to form Succinyl-Co A products in the cells that make energy from food. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/134-142.htm
- It contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system. In the brain Thiamine is required by nerve cells and supporting nervous system cells (or “glial cells”), it’s also needed to create neurotransmitters.
- It contributes to normal psychological function – Thiamine Pyrophosphate is necessary to create some neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that are essential for normal psychological function.
- It contributes to the normal function of the heart –Thiamine is found in high concentration in the heart as well as the brain, liver and kidney. The heart is particularly sensitive to Thiamine deficiency, and impairment of the Thiamine Pyrophosphate dependent enzymes primarily affects the heart and nervous system.
Deficiency of Vitamin B1
Deficiency is rare as foods and cereals are fortified but symptoms of deficiency might include tiredness, confusion and irritability, apathy, decrease in short term memory, depression and abdominal discomfort. There is a specific deficiency disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (a neurological disorder), which can occur commonly in malnourished chronic alcoholics, which is a result of Thiamine deficiency. The active transport of thiamine in the small intestine is inhibited by alcohol and folic acid deficiency.