Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Common Name

Thiamine | Thiamin

Top Benefits of Thiamine

  • Supports energy metabolism*
  • Supports metabolic health*
  • Supports antioxidant defenses*
  • Supports brain function*

What is Thiamine?

Thiamine (vitamin B1) is part of the B complex—a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cellular metabolism and energy production. It was the first of the B complex vitamins to be isolated, which is why it’s called B1. Thiamine is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system, because of its essential role in preventing thiamine deficiency disorders. The body concentrates thiamine in metabolically active tissues, including skeletal muscle, heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. But the body only stores a small amount of thiamine (about 20-30 mg), so it needs to be consumed consistently in the diet. Thiamine is involved in many cellular processes. It is essential for the metabolism of sugars, proteins, and fats, and is instrumental in several important processes needed to make cellular energy.

Neurohacker’s Thiamine Sourcing

Thiamine is included in formulas which include the B-complex of vitamins, since these vitamins have interrelated relationships in cellular energy production.

Thiamine is additive with benfotiamine—both have vitamin B1 activity. But, because of FDA labeling regulations, only thiamine can be listed on labels as having a daily value.

Thiamine sourcing is focused on identifying and purchasing from a reputable supplier and ensuring the Thiamine HCl is NON-GMO, gluten-free and vegan.

Thiamine Dosing Principles and Rationale

Depending on the goal of a formulation, the dose of thiamine used can vary. If we are using it in combination with benfotiamine—a nutrient with vitamin B1 activity—we opt for a much lower amount of thiamine. In general, benfotiamine has increased vitamin B1 activity in peripheral tissues like the brain, heart, liver, and muscles, but wouldn’t be expected to have as much activity in the stomach or intestines. Combining a small amount of thiamine HCL to benfotiamine captures the increased bioavailability in peripheral tissues that benfotiamine offers, while also getting the stomach/intestine vitamin B1 support from the thiamine HCL.

Thiamine Key Mechanisms 

Energy metabolism

  • Supports energy generation (ATP) from carbohydrate and sugar metabolism[1]

Cofactor in the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex

  • Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) is required as a cofactor in the E1 subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex[1]
  • TPP is essential for the generation by the PDH complex of acetyl-CoA, used in the citric acid cycle to generate ATP[1]
  • TPP is essential for the generation by the PDH complex of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), required for the production of ATP[1]
  • Cofactor in the citric acid cycle[1]
  • TPP is required as a cofactor in the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase reaction of the citric acid cycle (conversion of alpha-ketoglutarate to succinyl-CoA)[1]
  • TPP is essential in propagating the citric acid cycle to generate ATP[1]

Cofactor in the pentose phosphate pathway

  • TPP is required as a cofactor in the transketolase reaction of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP)[1]
  • The PPP provides nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), used in several biochemical pathways such as in steroid, fatty acid, amino acid, neurotransmitter, and glutathione synthesis[1]
  • The PPP provides ribose-5-phosphate, an essential building block in nucleic acids[1]
  • Ribose-5-phosphate can enter the non-oxidative phase of the PPP where transketolase and TPP help transform ribose-5-phosphate back into glycolysis intermediates (such as glucose-6-phosphate)[1]

Antioxidant defenses

  • Participates in the synthesis of NADPH to be used in the recycling of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH)[1]

Brain function

  • Essential for the production by the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex of acetyl-CoA used for the production of acetylcholine[1]
  • The alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase reaction of the citric acid cycle reaction has a role in maintaining glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels[1]

Other mechanisms

  • Downregulates the production of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs)[2,3]
  • Supports healthy blood pressure[4]
  • Supports healthy blood glucose levels[5]
  • Supports healthy insulin sensitivity[5]


[1] D. A. Bender, in Nutritional Biochemistry of the Vitamins (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 148–171.
[2] S. Kousar, M. A. Sheikh, M. Asghar, J. Pak. Med. Assoc. 62, 1033–1038 (2012).
[3] N. Karachalias, R. Babaei-Jadidi, C. Kupich, N. Ahmed, P. J. Thornalley, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1043, 777–783 (2005).
[4] F. Alaei-Shahmiri, M. J. Soares, Y. Zhao, J. Sherriff, Diabetes Metab. Syndr. 9, 213–217 (2015).
[5] F. Alaei Shahmiri, M. J. Soares, Y. Zhao, J. Sherriff, Eur. J. Nutr. 52, 1821–1824 (2013).