Vitamin B1 is essential for the production of energy in the body by enabling the breakdown of glucose into water and carbon dioxide.
Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, is a water soluble vitamin of the B-complex. Foods such as grains, meat, and fish are great sources. Grains are the most common source because - at least in the U.S. - grains are fortified with Vitamin Bs.
FUNCTION IN THE BODY:
Like all Vitamin B's, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is involved in the energy production system of the body. Vitamin B1 operates in the initial stage of cellular respiration enabling the breakdown of glucose into carbon dioxide and water.
HOW IT WORKS:
Mitochondria located in cells are the energy factory of the body that create ATP through cellular respiration. Vitamin B1 is required in the initial steps to breakdown glucose ultimately into carbon dioxide and water.
In the first step of cellular respiration, glucose is split to form two molecules of pyruvate. Pyruvate then reacts with the positive nitrogen ring of Vitamin B1 (Thiazole ring) to breakdown further into carbon dioxide and eventually acetyl CoA.
Without Vitamin B1, cellular respiration and the breakdown of glucose cannot occur. Indeed, Vitamin B1 was one of the first vitamins discovered in 1897 because of its critical importance for energy production in the body. Vitamin B1 is on the World Health Organization list of essential medicines.
WHY IT MATTERS FOR RUNNERS:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is an important vitamin for runners for several reasons:
- ATP Production - Cellular respiration produces ATP which powers the activities required for running, notably muscle contractions. Without sufficient Vitamin B1, the body cannot produce the amount of ATP required to meet the elevated activity demands of runners.
- Efficient Energy – Efficient energy production is important to you as a runner. The better the body can convert carbohydrates and sugar to ATP, the more energy that will be available to you as a runner.
- Steady Energy – Thiamine has a short half-life, so you must consume the vitamin constantly to have a sufficient supply for energy creation.
Best wishes chasing your running goals!
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