It is not easy battling with anxiety in the modern world. You might be anxious in social situations or worry too much about other minor matters.
Perhaps you are not feeling calm, and you are looking to relax and improve your mood. Is it possible that thiamine can help with that?
That is the question we will answer in this article. Here is what the science-based evidence has to say about using thiamine (Vitamin B1) to deal with anxiety and boost positive feelings!
What Is Thiamine?
The name might be unfamiliar because you probably know thiamine as vitamin B1. The substance belongs to B vitamins that are soluble in water. Thiamine participates in energy metabolism, cell function, development, and growth.
You can consume thiamine (vitamin B1) from natural sources. Those include beef liver, cooked black beans, lentils, raw macadamia nuts, asparagus, pork loin, edamame, etc. These sources have more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of thiamine in a 100-gram portion size.
Many other food sources also come with certain levels of thiamine. That includes seeds, nuts, and fish. Thiamine can also be added to food products. You can also consume thiamine as a dietary supplement. It is often combined with other B vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
What is the Recommended Daily Intake of Thiamine?
The daily requirement of thiamine (vitamin B1) depends on your age.
Males between 10-50 years old should have 1.2 mg per day. Females between 10-50 years old should have 1.1 mg per day.
Here is an overview of vitamin B1 needs throughout life:
Recommended daily intake of thiamine for various ages (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/)
Please note that recommended dietary allowances and adequate intake are two different things. That is why the dosage that can secure the best benefits of thiamine could be bigger than the specified RDAs. However, make sure to stay within the tolerable levels to avoid adverse side effects. It is believed that the toxicity requires levels of thiamine that are at least 50 milligrams per day or more.
What Does Science Say About Thiamine & Anxiety?
Research Study 1 (Thiamine & Anxiety)
A large study was published in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2011. It discussed the impact of thiamine treatment on GAD – the generalized anxiety disorder.
The study focused on nine patients between 57 to 83 years old. Six of them were males and three females, and none had a history of alcoholism. All nine participants exhibited low thiamine levels in their blood, which means they had at least two times less than the normal level.
The cause of their GAD problems was unknown. The researchers decided for intramuscular treatment with thiamine that lasted from two to four weeks. Each patient received 100 milligrams of vitamin B1 daily.
The researchers measured scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS). The results unequivocally showed that thiamine treatment improved HARS scores.
Additional conclusions were that the patients exhibited a better appetite and reduced fatigue. On top of that, they reported feeling better overall. The researchers indicate the patients discontinued consuming beta-blocker and anxiolytic medications.
Research Study 2 (Thiamine & Mood & Depression)
An all-around systematic review involved assessing a total of 18 articles. The majority of them (11) showed that B vitamins could have a better effect than a placebo on the participants’ mood.
Five studies from eight that were on “at-risk” groups noted that there was a significantly positive effect on the mood. The same study also indicated an improvement when it comes to stress levels and depression-related symptoms.
Since vitamin B1 is a part of that complex, it may also contribute to these benefits. However, the research also indicates that it might work best when combined with other vitamins.
Research Study 3 (Thiamine & Cognitive Functioning & Mood)
A study published in Psychopharmacology focused on analyzing thiamine supplementation on cognitive functioning and mood. The research involved taking 50 milligrams of thiamine for two months. The number of participants was 120, and all of them were female.
They all took vitamin B1 orally, and the reports were positive. According to the patients, they felt a boost of energy and felt composed and clearheaded.
The study was conducted in 1997, which is more than two decades ago, but it is still relevant.
Research Study 4 (Thiamine & Depression)
Numerous symptoms could be related to thiamine deficiency and depression or anxiety at the same time. For example, loss of appetite is a common symptom of people dealing with depression.
The explanation offered by the scientists is that vitamin B1 deficiency affects the functioning of the satiety center in our brain. According to them, it might indicate that the body is full and satiated even when that is not the case. Consequently, that causes loss of appetite.
Supplementing with thiamine to deal with this deficiency may improve appetite and help to reach or maintain weight.
Fatigue is another common symptom of people dealing with depression. The scientists believe this symptom to be vague and related to numerous causes. However, thiamine deficiency can also be behind feeling fatigued. That has been confirmed by numerous studies published online.
The irritable mood is another potential symptom of thiamine deficiency. If you feel like you are easily irritated or frustrated, that could be because your vitamin B1 intake is lacking. According to scientists, irritability is one of the initial symptoms of the deficiency of this vitamin.
Research Study 5 (Thiamine & Postpartum Depression)
In the Archives of Iranian Medicine, an interesting study was published in 2012. It focused on the effects of thiamine, magnesium, and zinc on postpartum depression conditions in mice. The researchers used an elevated plus-maze and forced swimming to determine the results.
The conclusion is that the combination of these substances can help to relieve anxiety and depressive-like symptoms.
Thiamine proves to be a very effective vitamin when it comes to increase relaxation and peace of mind.