Do vegans or vegetarians need thiamine supplements?

Vegans and vegetarians don’t need thiamine supplements if they follow a well-balanced, healthy diet. They can get high doses from vegan foods.

Health benefits of thiamine (vitamin B1)

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble B-vitamin. It’s crucial for energy metabolism. It’s involved in glucose, protein, and lipid metabolism. Also, thiamine is important for the synthesis of certain hormones and for the proper activity of certain enzymes.[1,2,3]

Severe thiamine deficiency may cause memory loss, visual disturbances, and weak muscles. It may affect the nervous and cardiovascular system as well.

Also, thiamine is beneficial for weight loss.

The recommended daily intake of thiamine is 1.2 mg and 1.1 mg for men and women, respectively. Only pregnant and lactating women need higher doses of 1.4 mg. On the other hand, teens and kids need lower doses.

Moreover, there isn’t a maximum safe dose of thiamine. Neither from supplements nor foods.

Can vegan & vegetarians get enough thiamine from food?

According to studies, vegans and vegetarians can get adequate amounts of thiamine from food. A healthy, well-balanced diet can provide high doses of thiamine. Hence, healthy vegans and vegetarians don’t need to take any dietary supplement with vitamin B1.

On the contrary, vegans should be very cautious about vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 intake. They have a higher risk of deficiency than meat eaters.[4,5]

Vegan foods high in thiamine (vitamin B1)

In the modern Western-type diet, people get thiamine mainly from meat, cereal, and fortified foods.

But, vegans, vegetarians and people who follow a plant-based diet can get high doses of thiamine from vegan foods.

First, whole grains are excellent dietary sources of thiamine. Corn flakes, whole wheat bread, pasta, and brown rice are pretty high in thiamine.

Additionally, consuming legumes is another great way to boost your daily intake of thiamine. Green peas, navy beans, pinto beans, black beans, and lentils are particularly high in thiamine.

Moreover, vegans and vegetarians could easily boost the daily intake of thiamine, consuming 1–2 handfuls of seeds and nuts every day. Flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and hemp seeds are the richest common seeds in thiamine.

Other easy ways to get high doses of thiamine is to regularly consume spirulina, tahini, asparagus, kale, spinach potatoes, sweet potatoes, and spices. They’re excellent natural sources of thiamine as well.

Last, but not least, orange juice is the richest beverage in thiamine.

See the whole list of the richest foods in thiamine here.

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