A series about vitamins and how, due to loose regulations, we have to be our own advocates for quality vitamins. Excerpts from the Food Research Guide. This month's topic is Vitamin B-1, or Thiamin.
Thiamin deficiency can be due to a diet high in refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugar in foods and drinks, pastries, pasta, etc.) or chronic alcohol use. It might show up as being unable to catch your breath, a feeling of anxiety or nightmares/night terrors.
The natural form of thiamin, found in food, is called thiamin pyrophosphate, thiamin monophosphate, and thiamin. When it doesn't come from food, it is called thiamin mononitrate and comes from a coal tar derivative. It may be called thiamin hydrochloride or another similar word, that will also include chloride.
It is cheaper for companies to make a synthetic form of thiamin, but it doesn't work as well in your body. They'll even add the synthetic form to wheat. But your body doesn't process it well, so will likely still be deficient.
An animal study found that the food form is absorbed 38% more in the blood than the synthetic form. So, if you want to be as healthy as possible, get your Thiamin from natural sources, such as seafood, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. If you are deficient, it's best to supplement (such as with B-Stress from Doctor's Research) to fill in the gaps before relying on food only.
The truth about vitamins
Most vegetarian vitamins are from man-made chemicals instead of vegetarian food sources. This is both misleading and legal. Some sources for nutritional supplements outside of food include petroleum and coal. These will trick your body for a time, but not for forever.
For Vitamin B1, the natural form from food is called: thiamin pyrophosphate.
For Vitamin B1, the "natural" forms, which are not natural are called: Thiamin mononitrate, thiamin hydrochloride, thiamin HCL.