The Energy Vitamin
Vitamin B1 helps the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, creating energy. This essential vitamin can be found in fortified breakfast cereals, green peas, pork, fish, bread, lentils, and yogurt. A lack of vitamin B1 is not common, but people with early signs of deficiency may notice fatigue, poor memory, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, irritability, and weight loss. A compounded multivitamin can ensure an individual gets enough of this important vitamin.
Benefits of B1
Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 is 1 of 8 B vitamins that help convert food into fuel. B-complex vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, eyes, hair, and liver. Vitamin B1 also helps the nervous system function properly, strengthens the immune system, and is essential for brain health. All B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning the body does not store the nutrients, so continual intake is necessary. People who do not get enough thiamine can experience a deficiency in as little as 3 weeks since stores of the vitamin do not build up in the body.
Loss of appetite
People experiencing B1 deficiency often notice a lack of appetite as a first symptom. Not feeling hungry can lead to insufficient calories consumed, ultimately resulting in weight loss. The proposed mechanism behind a lack of hunger is that thiamine may help regulate hunger and fullness cues in the brain. When B1 is low, the brain may trick the body into a feeling of fullness. Although skipping the occasional meal is not unusual, any ongoing loss of appetite should be investigated further to determine if a B1 deficiency is the cause.
Fatigue and irritability
Vitamin B1 is responsible for converting food into energy. When B1 is low, the body cannot produce enough energy, and a feeling of sluggishness or fatigue can emerge within a few weeks. Thiamine deficiency can also cause mood changes, with irritability being a commonly reported symptom when levels are low. Although both fatigue and irritability can be attributed to various conditions, a vitamin B1 deficiency could explain the change.
People with prolonged or severe thiamine deficiency can develop beriberi. There are 2 types of beriberi: wet beriberi, which affects the cardiovascular system, and dry beriberi, which affects the nervous system. People with wet beriberi can experience shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and swelling of the lower legs. Symptoms of dry beriberi can include difficulty walking, loss of feeling or a pricking sensation in the hands and feet, lower leg paralysis, speech difficulty, mental confusion, and pain. Beriberi is rare in the US but can occur among people who abuse alcohol or have restricted diets limiting the amount of B1 consumed.
A compounded solution
The best way to ensure that a person gets all the necessary nutrients and vitamins is to take a multivitamin. However, most people get enough thiamine from the diet, a daily vitamin can ensure that recommended dietary allowances are met, helping individuals avoid the abovementioned symptoms. A compound pharmacy can create a customized vitamin with the exact amount of vitamin B1 needed. The pharmacist can also add other essential nutrients that may be difficult to obtain from the diet and omit anything unnecessary. Compounded vitamins can be created in a form, such as a gummy, that is easy for the patient to take. A customized daily vitamin can improve adherence and ultimately enhance overall health.