Lack of Vitamin B1 Could Lead to Serious Diseases: This is How You Recognize it

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.09 - 2024 10:53 PM CET

Lack of Vitamin B1 Could Lead to Serious Diseases.

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Vitamins from the B group, while distinct in their unique properties, share one common feature—their beneficial impact on the nervous system and overall well-being. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, plays an additional crucial role.

How can we recognize a deficiency in vitamin B1, and what should we eat to prevent it?

Vitamin B1, or Thiamine: Essential for Proper Body Function

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It was discovered by the Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk, who also coined the term "vitamin."

The Benefits of Vitamin B1 and the Consequences of Its Deficiency

Without vitamin B1, the absorption of fats and carbohydrates, as well as the digestion of alcohol, would not be possible. Thiamine provides energy, enhances cognitive function, and protects against muscle weakness.

As noted by the Cleveland Clinic in a medical article, severe deficiency in vitamin B1 can lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome—a brain disorder that resembles Alzheimer's disease in its symptoms.

An insufficient amount of thiamine can affect heart function and lead to the development of beriberi disease. This condition, caused by a lack of vitamin B1, can result in damage and failure of the cardiovascular system, edema, and neurological symptoms. There are three forms of beriberi disease caused by vitamin B1 deficiency:

Forms of Beriberi Disease Caused by Vitamin B1 Deficiency
  • Dry beriberi manifests with symptoms such as tingling in the feet, muscle weakness, paralysis, loss of sensation in the feet and hands (making it impossible to feel temperature or texture), and nerve pain.

  • Wet beriberi, or cardiac beriberi, causes congestive heart failure, swelling of the legs, and breathing difficulties. It is characterized by swollen veins on the neck.

  • Fulminant beriberi resembles wet beriberi but has a much more severe course. The patient's condition rapidly improves after the administration of vitamin B1.

Who is at Risk of Vitamin B1 Deficiency?

Our body cannot produce thiamine, so we must obtain it from our diet. Those most at risk of vitamin B1 deficiency include individuals who abuse alcohol, suffer from gastrointestinal diseases, and those with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Vitamin B1: Sources and Dietary Recommendations
  • Whole grains: buckwheat, millet, oat flakes, bran

  • Beans

  • Soy

  • Peas

  • Lentils

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Pork, beef, poultry, and offal

  • Eggs

  • Yogurts

  • Fish (salmon, tuna)

Daily Vitamin B1 Recommendations are as follows: for women: 1.1 mg, pregnant and breastfeeding women 1.4-1.5 mg; men: 1.3 mg, children up to 3 years: 0.5 mg; up to 6 years: 0.6 mg; up to 9 years: 0.9 mg; up to 12 years: 1 mg; boys up to 18 years: 1.2 mg; girls: 1.1 mg.

Ensuring adequate intake of vitamin B1 is crucial for maintaining energy levels, cognitive function, and muscle strength, as well as preventing serious health conditions.

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