This vitamin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates into glucose, the B vitamin combines with pyruvic acid and functions as a coenzyme for the reaction . Thiamine is also required by the nervous system as it is a coenzyme in the production of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). A neurotransmitter is a compound that travels across the synapse (the gap between nerve cells) by diffusion and acts as a messenger between nerve cells.
Diagram to illustrate neutrotransmitters
Deficiency is rare, but may occur in alcoholics due to alcohol interfering with the absorption of thiamine. The deficiency can lead to a number of diseases, such as beriberi (symptoms are anemia, paralysis and weakness), Wernicke's encephopathy (lack of coordination) and Korsakoff's psychosis (this effects short term memory)
Good sources of thiamine can be found in grain cereals, bread, red meat, egg yolks and nuts
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