best vitamin b1

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, is a crucial nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health. This micronutrient is absolutely necessary for proper energy production, nerve function, gastrointestinal function, respiration, and brain health.

Accordingly, knowing the best vitamin B1 food sources and supplements is key. That’s exactly why this article exists. You can add all the foods below to your grocery list. And you can purchase and experiment with the best vitamin B1 supplements available.

Key Takeaways

This table concisely summarizes the top thiamine-rich foods and supplements.

Benefits of Vitamin B1

Role in Energy Metabolism

Vitamin B1 is a key player in converting nutrients into energy. It assists in the metabolic process by helping convert carbohydrates into glucose, the primary fuel your body uses for energy. This function is essential for maintaining energy levels and overall vitality.

Importance for Nerve Function

Thiamine is vital for nerve health. It helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system by aiding in the creation of neurotransmitters and maintaining the protective sheath around nerves. Adequate B1 levels are crucial for nerve signal transmission and overall neurological health.

Effect on Gut Motility

Vitamin B1 also influences gut health. It aids in the smooth muscle function of the gastrointestinal tract, supporting effective digestion and preventing issues like constipation. Maintaining sufficient B1 levels is important for a healthy digestive system.

Impact on Brain Health

Thiamine plays a significant role in brain health. It is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and supports cognitive function. Adequate B1 intake is linked to improved memory, concentration, and overall brain performance.

What Are the Best Vitamin B1 Food Sources?

A balanced diet rich in vitamin B1 is crucial for reaping its benefits. Here’s a look at some of the best vitamin B1 food sources. Naturally, these food sources contain many other essential vitamins and minerals, as you’ll see.

Nutritional Yeast

One-quarter cup of nutritional yeast contains a substantial 11.85 milligrams of thiamine. For a smaller serving of about 5 grams, you’re still getting a good 2.3 milligrams of thiamine. This makes nutritional yeast an incredibly rich source of vitamin B1, along with most of the other B vitamins. For example, nutritional yeast is also packed with vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid.

You want to purchase an unfortified nutritional yeast, not a fortified one. Unfortified nutritional yeast contains organic, non-synthetic, and hence bioavailable nutrients. Fortified nutritional yeast contains synthetic vitamins and minerals, which are less bioavailable.


In a typical serving of about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of wild salmon, you get 23% of your daily value of thiamine. Salmon is thus a good source of this vitamin, in addition to other essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and other B vitamins including B12, niacin, and riboflavin.

Rainbow Trout

A 3-ounce (about 85 grams) serving of cooked rainbow trout offers 10% of the daily value for thiamine. This fish is also a good source of vitamin B12 and niacin, making it a nutritious choice for a well-rounded diet. Rainbow trout, like salmon, also contains some fat-soluble vitamins and key minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine.


Mussels are high in thiamine, with a cup serving providing 38% of the daily value. They’re also a rich source of vitamin B12 and riboflavin, making them a nutrient-dense option for seafood lovers. Besides B vitamins, mussels are chock-full of minerals like selenium, copper, and zinc. We need these basic minerals in adequate amounts to function properly.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts provide 22% of the daily value for thiamine per serving. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which are excellent for cardiovascular health. Macadamia nuts contain numerous other vitamins and minerals besides thiamine, plus a good deal of fiber.

Beef/Lamb/Chicken Liver

Beef liver contains about 0.19 mg of thiamine per 100 grams, accounting for 10% of the daily value per serving. Lamb and chicken liver have similar amounts. Liver is a prime source of all the essential B vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, and B12. Additionally, liver is a supreme source of bioactive (true) vitamin A, other fat-soluble vitamins, and essential minerals like iron.

Green Peas

Green peas contain 0.4mg of thiamine per cup when cooked, which is 35% of the daily value. They are also a source of other micronutrients and protein. Peas are arguably one of the best plant foods due to its high protein content and balanced amino-acid profile.

Acorn Squash

A serving of acorn squash contains 23% of the daily value for thiamine. This vegetable is also rich in other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, making it a highly nutritious choice.


Asparagus is known for its impressive nutrient profile. A serving of asparagus (about half a cup cooked) typically contains a good amount of thiamine, contributing to your daily vitamin B1 intake. Besides thiamine, asparagus is also a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and several other essential minerals. Its role in a healthy diet extends beyond thiamine, offering benefits like improved digestive health and potential anti-inflammatory effects.


Milk is a modest source of thiamine, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet for those looking to boost their vitamin B1 intake. A standard cup of milk can provide a small percentage of the daily thiamine requirement. But besides thiamine, milk is famously rich in calcium and also provides protein, vitamins A and D, potassium, iodine, and other essential nutrients.

Milk and other dairy products play a key role in bone health, thyroid health, nervous and immune system function, heart and brain health, and general well-being. Milk is the most complete food in nature. However, quality and tolerability really matter when it comes to dairy consumption.

What Are the Best Vitamin B1 Supplements?

Supplementing with vitamin B1 can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may not get enough thiamine from their diet. There are a couple different forms of vitamin B1. Let’s explore the best options.

Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine with BenfoPure

Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine is a highly bioavailable, fat-soluble form of thiamine. Being fat-soluble, it is activated in the bloodstream and remains available in the body significantly longer than the water-soluble form of thiamine. The key benefits of this supplement include:

  • Enhanced Bioavailability: Benfotiamine is four times more available in the body compared to water-soluble thiamin, ensuring better absorption and efficacy.
  • Supports Glucose Metabolism: It activates transketolase, an enzyme essential for the glucose metabolism pathway, helping support healthy cellular processes in the presence of blood glucose.
  • Combats Oxidative Stress: It offers radical-scavenging actions against oxidative stress, beneficial for the circulatory and nervous systems, and influences Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs).
  • Increased Active Thiamine Levels: Benfotiamine increases thiamine diphosphate levels, the biologically active form of Thiamine, by 77% compared to water-soluble Thiamine, indicating its higher bioavailability.

I take 150-300 mg of benfotiamine daily with breakfast. Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine is the exact one I take. It’s the only benfotiamine supplement that contains BenfoPure, which is from Japan.

I purchase my Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine from iHerb.

Objective Nutrients Thiamax

Thiamax contains thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD), a highly bioavailable derivative of thiamine. The unique properties of this form include:

  • High Bioavailability: TTFD has a higher rate of uptake in the gut and at the cellular level, crossing the blood-brain-barrier effectively.
  • Enhanced Absorption: It can pass through intestinal and cellular membranes without a transport system, allowing for activation inside the cell as a cofactor in biochemical processes.
  • Brain and Nervous System Support: TTFD increases thiamine levels in the brain and central nervous system, supporting optimal cognition and maintaining autonomic nervous system function.
  • Efficient Dosage: Its superior bioavailability allows TTFD to be taken in lower doses compared to other thiamine forms, while also including magnesium to support cellular utilization of thiamine.

I tried Thiamax in the past and noticed significant benefits in terms of mood, cognition, and gut motility. Now, I use a combination of benfotiamine and thiamine HCL—two products, the one above and the one below. I might give TTFD another shot in the future. The products I’m using now are just easier to order.

You can purchase Thiamax directly from Objective Nutrients.

Now Foods Vitamin B-1

Now Foods offers thiamine in the form of thiamine HCL, the most common supplemental form of thiamine. Thiamine HCL is inexpensive and effective.

I’ve personally taken 200 mg of thiamine HCL every day for the past 2 years. Only recently did I start pairing it with benfotiamine. Thiamine HCL works fine for improving digestion, parasympathetic tone, gut motility, and respiration. Benfotiamine works especially well for improving mental clarity, focus, drive, and mood. These benefits stem from higher dopamine levels, in addition to more ATP and cellular respiration.

Anyways, thiamine HCL provides the core benefits of thiamine:

  • Supports Energy Production: Thiamine is necessary for efficient carbohydrate (glucose) metabolism, and consequently for cellular energy production and respiration.
  • Nervous System and Muscle Health: It is deeply involved in nervous system and muscle functioning, especially in the flow of electrolytes in and out of nerve and muscle cells.
  • Digestive Health: Thiamine HCL helps with stomach acid production, due to its HCL component. Organic, non-synthetic thiamine that’s naturally found in certain foods supports adequate stomach acid production and digestive enzyme secretion. But supplementing thiamine HCL can enhance these effects.
  • General Thiamine Benefits: As a member of the B-vitamin family, it contributes to overall health. B vitamins are vital for cellular, nervous system, and hormonal health, and hence for all aspects of health.

Wrapping up, each thiamine form and supplement offers a specific concentration of benefits. Combining forms may increase effectiveness, and has definitely helped me.

Conclusion: Reaping the Benefits of Vitamin B1

To summarize, vitamin B1 (thiamine) is an indispensable nutrient that plays a pivotal role in our overall health. From its critical involvement in glucose metabolism and oxidation to its essential contribution to nerve, brain, and digestive health, the impact of this vitamin is far-reaching.

I’ve highlighted the best vitamin B1 food sources and supplements. Regularly consuming thiamine-rich foods and supplementing with thiamine will ensure you maintain optimal levels.

Key Takeaways

  1. Rich Dietary Sources: Foods like nutritional yeast, salmon, rainbow trout, mussels, macadamia nuts, beef liver, green peas, and acorn squash are excellent sources of thiamine. Each of these foods offers a significant amount of vitamin B1 plus an array of other nutrients, making them valuable additions to a nutritious diet.
  2. Supplemental Options: Supplements like Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine with BenfoPure, Objective Nutrients Thiamax, and Now Foods Vitamin B-1 provide absorbable forms of thiamine in higher doses. Each supplement comes with certain advantages, from peak bioavailability to specific physiological benefits.
  3. Health Benefits: Knowing the critical importance of thiamine, you can prioritize obtaining this key nutrient in your diet and via supplementation. Thiamine directly impacts cellular energy production, nerve and muscle function, GI function, cognitive health, and more.
  4. Personalized Approach: It’s important to consider individual health needs, dietary preferences, and lifestyle factors when choosing your food sources and supplements. Consulting with a healthcare professional is always judicious.

Adding a mix of these thiamine-rich foods into your daily diet, and/or selecting a supplement that aligns with your health goals, can ensure that you reap all the benefits of this vital nutrient.

But remember, a well-rounded approach to nutrition is the way to go. We need to obtain and replenish all the essential nutrients in sufficient amounts to feel, look, and do our best.

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