Do vegans or vegetarians need thiamine supplements?

Do vegans or vegetarians need thiamine (vitamin B1) supplements?

Vegans and vegetarians don’t need thiamine supplements, if they’re following a well-balanced, healthy diet. We can get high doses of vitamin B1 from food.

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 crucial during weight loss.

What’s the recommended daily intake?

The recommended daily dose for 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 safe upper dose for thiamine. Neither from supplements, nor foods.

Can vegan & vegetarians get enough thiamine from diet?

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 careful about their vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 intake. They have a higher risk of deficiencies, as compared to people who eat meat.[4,5]

Certainly, supplementation with vitamin B12 is the most crucial for vegans. Plants don’t contain any vitamin B12. Vitamins B12 is vital for good health, though. For instance, vitamin B12 deficiency may cause elevated homocysteine levels. Hence, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke!

You can get cheap vitamin B12 supplements on Amazon.

Vegan foods high in thiamine (vitamin B1)

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

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

First, whole grains are excellent dietary sources of vitamin B1. Corn flakes, whole-wheat bread, pasta, and brown rice are pretty high in vitamin B1.

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 consume regularly spirulina, tahini, asparagus, kale, spinach potatoes, sweet potatoes, and spices. They’re excellent dietary 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.