Vitamin-B or ‘thiamine’ is also known as the ‘antiberiberi’ or ‘anti-neurotic’ vitamin.
Deficiency of thiamine in the diet results in poor appetite or loss of appetite (anorexia), constipation, other digestive disturbances, fatigue, nervousness, Vague neurotic pains, insomnia (lack of sleep) and mental depression in some cases. In extreme deficiency, a condition called as Beri Beri occurs (i) Dry Beri Beri and (ii) Wet Beri Beri. In dry Beri Beri the legs and hands become paralysed, the feet droop, tingling and numbness of legs results; loss of appetite and aching pain develops all over the body. In wet Beri Beri, Oedma of legs and abdomen, and enlargement of the heart results. Finally, the heart becomes weak, palpitation and breadth less follow, leading to signs of heart failure.
Physiologically, thiamine is concerned with proper utilisation of carbohydrates in the body and in the absence of adequate amount of thiamine; full utilisation of sugars and starches for energy need is greatly affected.
Daily allowance of thiamine requirement is dependent on the total calories intake because thiamine is involved in carbohydrate utilisation. Hence the recommended thiamine allowance is 0.5 mg. per 100 calories. This Vitamin is an important member of the B group of Vitamins and is the first of the Vitamins to be discovered.
Thiamine is also known as the ‘appetite vitamin’. It promotes growth, stimulates appetite and aids digestion. It helps in the protection of nerves and in the release of energy from carbohydrates.
The best sources of thiamine are whole-grains, bran, hand pounded rice, dry legumes, liver, groundnut and yeast. Other sources are eggs, fish fresh legumes, peas beans, milk and green leafy vegetables.