If you’re anything like us, you’d love nothing more than to start your day with a great cup of coffee and some delicious carbs, like a blueberry muffin. And while researchers say there’s nothing wrong with that, both carbohydrates and coffee/tea deplete your body of one of the most overlooked B vitamins: vitamin B1, or thiamine. And if you self-medicate symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety with a cookie or bagel, you may be stuck in a vicious circle, experts say. You feel tired or anxious and reach for a cupcake, and then this particular cupcake depletes the vitamins that would keep you feeling calm and alert. How do you break free from this cycle – and take your health to the next level? Consider getting more of a particularly easy-to-absorb form of vitamin B1 called benfotiamine.
What is benfotiamine?
A derivative of thiamine, benfotiamine is a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1. This fat-soluble ability allows the body to absorb benfotiamine better than the water-soluble B1 typically found in nutritional supplements. In fact, a study published in International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics It found that benfotiamine boosted thiamine levels by 400% more than conventional forms of vitamin B1.
What are the benefits of benfotiamine?
Benfotiamine can help reverse thiamine deficiency–a condition Derek Lonsdale, MD, associate professor emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic, says. Invites a hidden health crisis. “Thiamine is important for mitochondria in cells to generate energy in the form of ATP,” he explains. And as nutritionist Eric Berg, D.C., author of healthy keto plan, He adds, thiamine is essential for nerve function and the formation of red blood cells that carry activated oxygen through the body. Lonsdale’s own studies have found that up to 90% of people aren’t getting the thiamine they need to protect against problems like fatigue, agitation, mental fog, and nerve damage.
How much thiamine do we need per day?
The Food and Drug Administration confirms that we need 1.2 mg. of thiamine daily. But according to Dr. Lonsdale, this is not enough to protect against deficiency. Indeed, a study in magazine American College of Nutrition It was found that 50% of people who got more than the recommended amounts of thiamine from their diets were deficient in the vitamin.
Furthermore, the government has not changed the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for thiamine in more than 80 years. Meanwhile, refined carbohydrates that raise blood sugar have become a major part of our diets. “And the more glucose you get into your system, the more vitamin B1 you need,” says Berg. That’s because the body relies on thiamine to convert glucose into energy. So as carbohydrate intake goes up, thiamine levels suffer. In a study conducted at the University of Vienna, increasing carbohydrates by 20% resulted in a loss of thiamine by up to 63%.
How do I know if I have a thiamine deficiency?
Although blood tests can be used to diagnose thiamine deficiency, they are not an accurate measure of the amount of thiamine inside cells. In addition, doctors do not usually test for impotence. In fact, the results are in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry It indicates that even severe thiamine deficiency was overlooked by physicians in 80% of cases. Fortunately, telltale symptoms can help identify deficiencies. If you suffer from the following, low thiamine could be the cause:
- Memory loss or foggy thinking
- breathing difficulties
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Stomach ache
Easy ways to increase thiamine levels
Results in the journal Psychopharmacology Revealing a boost to your body’s stores of thiamine makes you fuller and more energetic in 8 weeks. To do this, Berg recommends taking 150 to 300 mg of benfotiamine daily. A brand we love: Source Naturals Benfotiamine (Buy from Amazon, $8.98). The following steps may also help:
Eliminate thiamine-depleted foods
Minimizing starchy and sugary carbs is key. In fact, a study published in International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research It is suggested that the strategy can increase thiamine levels by 30% within four days. Also smart: reduce your intake of coffee, tea and alcohol as much as possible, because the drinks reduce thiamine in the body.
Eat more thiamine-fortifying foods
Pork, eggs, fish, seafood, asparagus, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of thiamine, so Berg recommends enjoying them daily. He also recommends flavored dips, salads, egg dishes, and unfortified nutritional yeast. Not only does it add a cheese-like taste, but 3 tablespoons provides 2.4 mg of thiamine.
How benfotiamine helps women with diabetes
In a study of patients with diabetic neuropathy, a serious complication of diabetes that damages sensory nerves in the arms, hands, legs, and feet, researchers found that taking 600 mg of benfotiamine daily reduced nerve pain by 79% within six weeks while significantly relieving pain. burning sensation and numbness
How it works: Benfotiamine prevents the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGES), which are toxic compounds that degrade nerve cells. In addition, other research indicates that its ability to reduce the harmful ages of cells throughout the body can fight other complications of diabetes. Study in the journal Diabetic care Specific benfotiamine prevented vascular damage due to AGEs. And in experiments conducted at the University of Turin, she advocated the death of retinal cells that leads to a vision-robbing condition known as diabetic retinopathy.
“It reversed a thiamine deficiency and changed my life!”
Evelyn Brown, 53, battled exhaustion day in and day out — until she corrected nutrient deficiencies and regained her vitality.
“In 2021, I started feeling tired all the time,” Evelyn recalls. “Not enough coffee. It took every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed every day and get ready for work. I have a husband, two kids, and a full-time job and it was increasingly difficult to keep up with it all.”
“Instead of going out for dinner or an evening stroll, I’d crash on the couch until it was an acceptable bedtime. Then I’d head to bed and start the routine all over again. No matter how much sleep I got, I was tired the next day. On top of that, often I would often find myself in a bad mood because I was too tired to complete daily tasks, such as putting laundry in or doing the dishes.Every day, my to-do list piles up, which makes me anxious.
“Over the course of two months, I tried many remedies. I started drinking coffee and energy drinks throughout the day, but it only gave me temporary relief. I even tried going to bed earlier, but it didn’t make much difference. I was feeling really frustrated, so I searched I Googled for answers to relieve fatigue. But that only showed me a list of different ailments I might have. I was freaked out and reached out to a doctor friend, who calmed me down and referred me to Melissa Baker, a licensed nutritionist and founder of FoodQueries.com.
After describing her chronic fatigue, Melissa suggested that I do a blood test to look at my levels of thiamine. She suspected that the stressful nature of my work as a travel event coordinator could be contributing to a thiamine deficiency, as the vitamin can be depleted while the body is making cortisol. Although to add Melissa’s assumptions, I was skeptical—I had never heard of a thiamine deficiency! Much to my surprise, my blood tests came back to show I had a deficiency.”
But the more Melissa explained it to me, the more it made sense. When I got stressed, I found myself eating unhealthy foods. It was a vicious cycle: The more stressed I was, the worse my diet became, and then it made me feel more tired. It was the chips. Potatoes and ice cream are my go-to foods when something bad is going wrong or taxes. On top of everything, I learned that the caffeine I was relying on to boost my energy interferes with thiamine absorption!”
Melissa made a list of thiamine-rich foods and gave me a sample diet. I was so excited to get going and start feeling like myself again. Some of the thiamine-rich foods I introduced into my diet were milk; legumes like black beans and peas; nuts (especially almonds and cashews); seeds Sunflower and pumpkin Grains such as white bread, quinoa and oats Proteins such as tofu, pork, fish and eggs Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale.”
Melissa explained to me that thiamine is a vitamin responsible for converting carbohydrates into energy – a process that provides more fuel for the body. But when the body lacks thiamine, it cannot utilize carbohydrates effectively, which leads to tiredness and fatigue. She also told me that as we age, our bodies are not able to absorb nutrients as efficiently as they once did, so getting the right amount of thiamine daily is very important for women over 50.
“Three weeks after making these changes, I noticed a significant increase in my energy level. Much to my surprise, I would wake up from my bed in the morning, feeling energetically engaged with my work during the day and having the boost of energy I needed to go for a walk after dinner. I was starting to feel With more alertness and focus I even started taking fitness classes.
“Today, I am thriving, and instead of dragging myself out of bed in the morning, I get out of bed!
Curious about other vitamins that can help you feel your best?
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, The first for women.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.