Vitamin B1

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 2 Aug 2021

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a water-soluble vitamin, that is part of the vitamin B complex, and is an important coenzyme for two reactions in the citric acid cycle (Kreb cycle). It therefore is vital for cellular ATP production, particularly in the central nervous system.

Thiamine is the preferred official spelling, however thiamin is still seen, especially in the older literature, and more contemporaneously is often used in non-scientific writings. Thiamine is felt to more closely follow accepted chemical nomenclature as it is chemically an amine 2. An obsolete term for thiamine is aneurin. 

In adults thiamine deficiency when marked manifests as beriberi. Beriberi exists in two main forms, wet beriberi, characterized by high-output cardiac failure, and dry beriberi, which manifests with neurotoxicity. Wernicke encephalopathy is a form of dry beriberi.

Scattered case reports of anaphylaxis to rapid intravenous administration of thiamine supplements have been published 3. No direct toxicity to excess thiamine per se has been reported.

Pathological manifestations occur with thiamine deficiency.

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