Published : 2023-07-27

Thiamine: overview of history of discovery, mechanism of action, role and deficiency

Ewa Napiórkowska


Thiamine is the first water-soluble vitamin to be discovered that acts as a cofactor of several important enzymes. Vitamin B­1 plays an essential role in obtaining energy in carbohydrates metabolism and substrates production which are further used as neurotransmitters, nucleic acids, and coenzymes. The aim of this work was to give a summary of various aspects related to thiamine including a rich history of the discovery, synthesis, role in human organism, mechanism of action and also the consequences of its insufficient intake leading to beriberi disease. The study takes into consideration pharmaceutical aspects like main sources of vitamin B­­­1, its absorption, nutrient recommendations, interaction with drugs and the variety of formulations available in treating its deficiency. Understanding the role of vitamin B1 in cellular metabolism shows its significance in maintaining health and emphasizes the importance of ensuring adequate dietary intake to maintain the proper functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Although thiamine deficiency is less common in developed countries, it can be still observed due to poor diet intake, alcoholism, and certain medical conditions which reduce absorption, e.g. celiac disease. Overall, all mentioned aspects make the problem of its deficiency still present and important. Performing an overview of various aspects related to thiamine deficiency can help to properly diagnose or even to prevent an insufficient intake of vitamin B1 among patients with specific medical conditions.





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Napiórkowska, E. (2023). Thiamine: overview of history of discovery, mechanism of action, role and deficiency. Prospects in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 21(3), 15–21.

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Editorial Team
Stefana Banacha 1
02-097 Warsaw, Poland
Medical University of Warsaw
ul. Żwirki i Wigury 61
02-091 Warszawa

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