Thiamin is also known as Vitamin B1 as it was the first vitamin to be discovered. The body can not make thiamin and so it must be obtained from the diet, from food sources such as whole grains, pulses nuts and seeds. Because it is water soluble and not stored in the body, a deficiency can arise if someone’s diet is poor, either due to low appetite or by over reliance on highly processed foods. Mild deficiencies may arise in the elderly for these reasons, although thiamin is added to white flour to reduce the risk of deficiencies arising.
One of the best known roles that thiamine plays in the body is in the enzymatic release of energy from carbohydrates. In addition thiamine plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of the nervous system, as it is vital for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.