My interest in thiamine, better known as vitamin B1, started in 1993 when I read a study published in the Annals of Neurology. (Authors Anonymous: Thiamine in Alzheimer's disease, Annals of Neurology 28 (2): 203-301, 1990.) The study indicated that high doses of thiamine might be beneficial in treating the reduced mental abilities of people afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. I thought to myself, "How great, if, as we age, we could even improve our mental abilities." At that time, I never thought of anyone in our family as having Alzheimer's disease. I was thinking, "What would we have to lose if we were to include foods high in thiamine in our diet? Nothing to lose and everything to gain."

Another study came out later that reinforced the findings of the earlier study. Patients with dementia of Alzheimer type reported significant cognitive improvement with thiamine therapy. (Meador KJ, Nichols ME, Franke P, Durkin MU, Oberzan RL, Moore EE, Loring DW: Evidence for a central cholinergic effect of high-dose thiamine in dementia of Alzheimer's type disease, Annals of Neurology 34 (5): 724-726, 1993.) It reconfirmed my interest in increasing our intake of thiamine through foods.


New studies on thiamine are being conducted even today. The range of influence thiamine has on our good health is already impressive. For example, thiamine is essential in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid, thereby helping us absorb our vitamins and minerals. Other functions of thiamine include improving excretion of fluid stored in the body, decreasing rapid heart rate, alleviating fatigue, and improving mental alertness as well as nerve function. Thiamine is known as the "morale vitamin" because of its relation to a healthy nervous system and its beneficial effect on mental attitude.

Thiamine is not stored in the body and therefore must be supplied daily. Because thiamine is excreted in the urine, it is very important that we include thiamine-rich foods in our daily diets. (My recipes section has dozens of recipes high in thiamine) Thiamine is generally excreted at a faster rate during periods of stress. Eating excessive amounts of sugar, as well as smoking and drinking alcohol, will also cause a thiamine depletion.

Researchers also think there may be a link to memory loss, if one's diet is low in vitamin B1 (thiamine). The inability to concentrate may also be associated with a deficiency of thiamine. The study was published in two journals. (Butterworth RF, Besard AM: Thiamine-dependent enzyme changes in temporal cortex of patient with Alzheimer's Disease, Metal Brain Dis 5: 179-184, 1990 and Nolan KA, Black RS, Sheu KFR: Trial of thiamine in Alzheimer's type disease, Archives of Neurology 48: 81-83, 1991.)


This index provides a list of further research summaries and recipes on some of the many ways foods can help prevent or reverse specific conditions. Just click on the ones that are of interest to you.

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Rosemary C. Fisher.
Copyright 1998, 1999 []. All rights reserved.