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Thiamine (B1)

Thiamine as is what I prescribe to my patients who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have found that most addicts are lacking in B1 and it is not something that our body makes so we must get it from food sources. All B vitamins are essential to our body.

Thiamine is a coenzyme used by the body to metabolise food for energy and to maintain proper heart and nerve function so it is pretty important.

Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin and is used in nearly every cell in the body. It is especially important for supporting energy levels and a healthy metabolism.

If you do not have enough B1, you will suffer from the following symptoms which are easy to spot:

▪️poor appetite

▪️anorexia or very rapid weight loss


▪️ongoing digestive problems

▪️nerve damage

▪️nerve inflammation or neuritis



▪️decrease in short term memory


▪️muscle weakness

▪️mental changes such as depression, apathy

▪️cardiovascular problems

A thiamine deficiency can cause a disorder called beriberi, which has been seen in populations for thousands of years. This is when muscle wasting is experienced and severe cardiovascular problems like an enlarged heart can be experienced.

Luckily, a thiamine deficiency is not very common in western, developed nations but it is if you are an addict which is known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Most alcoholics that are diagnosed with this disorder also report not eating much food in addition to drinking a lot of alcohol, which is a big contributing factor to the deficiency.

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