Summary

Thiamine cannot be manufactured by humans and is obtained exclusively from the diet. Thiamine is a cofactor in the pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme complex that is a critical step in carbohydrate metabolism, and has a role in branched-chain amino acid metabolism. Thiamine is also an antioxidant. Thiamine deficiency is generally found in individuals with poor nutrition. Symptoms are generally that of brain and nerve dysfunction, including memory loss, confusion, depression, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as muscle pain and weakness, high-output heart failure, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and fatigue. The role of thiamine in the treatment of autism is not well studied, yet children with ASD often have diets that are relatively deficient in many nutrients, which can be intensified by chronic diarrhea. Thiamine is sometimes also recommended in ASD also for its promotion of energy metabolism and being an antioxidant. Thiamine is also often recommended in the treatment of a variety of additional neurological disorders, as well as other conditions. Thiamine may improve memory, concentration, appetite, and attitude. Side effects are rare at usual doses used in supplementation.

Thiamine in Spectrum Needs

Thiamine is added in order to provide a wide basis of nutrition, especially given the important role of selenium in energy metabolism and as an antioxidant. Side effects are unexpected.

The Details

What Is It? Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is one of the eight B-complex vitamins. Thiamine cannot be manufactured by humans and is thus a true vitamin, obtained exclusively from the diet.

What Does It Do? Thiamine is an enzyme cofactor, which means that it is a necessary component for enzyme function. Thiamine is a cofactor in the pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme complex that converts pyruvate to acetyl coenzyme A (CoA), which is a rate-limiting step critical to carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamine also has a role in branched-chain amino acid metabolism, and is an antioxidant

What Does Deficiency Appear as? Thiamine deficiency is generally found in individuals with poor nutrition, especially in alcoholics. Symptoms are generally that of brain and nerve dysfunction, including memory loss, confusion, depression, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as muscle pain and weakness, high-output heart failure, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and fatigue.

What About Its Use in Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? The role of thiamine in the treatment of autism is not well studied. Children with ASD often have diets that are relatively deficient in many nutrients, including thiamine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28078576). Poor gut absorption, manifested as chronic diarrhea, can intensify vitamin deficiency from a poor diet. Thiamine is sometimes recommended in ASD also for its mitochondrial-targeting effects to promote energy metabolism, and being an antioxidant. Also see:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25553376
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27330305
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12195231

What About Its Use in Other Conditions? Thiamine is particular required for nerve function, including the proper development of myelin sheaths around nerves, and deficiency may result in the nerve degeneration. Thiamine is thus often recommended for neurological conditions including Alzheimer, multiple sclerosis and Bell palsy. Some sources indicate that thiamine can improve memory and concentration, improve appetite, and to promote a “healthy mental attitude”. By increasing acetyl CoA production, thiamine helps in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, of which deficiency can lead to confusion, skeletal and heart muscle weakness, and dysautonomia. Additional uses include cataract prevention, and as a powerful antioxidant.

What Are the Common and/or Important Side Effects? Thiamine is water-soluble vitamin and thus considered to be generally non-toxic. Side effects are rare at usual doses used in supplementation.

Is There Any Laboratory Testing? Laboratory testing can reveal the presence of a deficiency of this nutrient, but is generally not likely to have clinically utility.

How and Why is this Nutrient Used in Spectrum Needs

Thiamine is added to Spectrum Needs in order to provide a wide basis of nutrition, especially given the important role of thiamine in energy metabolism and as an antioxidant. Side effects are unexpected at the doses used in Spectrum Needs.