Learn the Thiamine deficiency symptoms, causes, and treatment! The body needs a proper supply of vitamins and minerals so that it will function properly. One of the most important vitamins that are required to ensure that the body works well is thiamine or Vitamin B1.

Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is a critical vitamin that the body needs. It is the coenzyme that plays an essential role in the metabolism and digestion of food to get the energy, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), required by the body to function properly. It is good water-soluble to help the cells of the body get the easier access.

Thiamine is also a part of the B Complex group along with the other vitamins like Niacin or vitamin B3, and the Riboflavin or vitamin B2, This group of vitamins is essential for the regulation of cardiovascular system as well as the endocrine and the digestive system.

This is the reason why when the body lacks this vitamin, thiamine deficiency symptoms occur. Before jumping over Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms and treatment, have a look at its overview.


Overview of thiamine deficiency symptoms


Thiamine deficiency is a condition where a person, adult or child, lacks sufficient supply of the Coenzyme Thiamine or Vitamin B1. According to statistics and study were done by the USDA, the condition is less common in western countries, especially the developed countries compared to the less developed ones.

And if there are recorded cases of thiamine deficiency symptoms, these are mostly for adults who are diagnosed as alcoholics.

One of the most extreme results of the Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms is a disorder known as beriberi. The most common telltale sign of the disease is muscle wasting, cardiovascular problems, leukocytosis, and some nervous problems.

Beriberi can be wet or dry. Dry beriberi involves difficulties with the nervous system and muscles while wet beriberi involves the cardiovascular and circulatory systems.




Most Common Thiamine  / Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms


Depending on which deficiency is involved as well as to what extent, thiamine deficiency symptoms may vary from person-to-person. Some symptoms are noticeable while some are not. Here are some of the common Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms categorized according to the system affected:


Neurologic symptoms:


  • Muscle atrophy or muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps and pains
  • Korsakoff Syndrome
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty of sleeping
  • Small memory retention
  • Paresthesia
  • Ankle jerk and absent knee
  • Foot drop


Gastroenterological symptoms:


  • Abdominal cramps/pain
  • Constipation
  • Anorexia or loss of appetite
  • Difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia


Cardiovascular symptoms:


  • Pain in the chest area
  • Failure of the heart or other heart problem such as enlargement
  • Hypotension
  • Wide pulse
  • Tachycardia


Infantile beriberi (Infants) symptoms:


  • Hyporeflexia (absence of reflex in deep tendons)
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Aphonia (loss of voice)

There are a lot more thiamine deficiency symptoms to watch out for. If you are suffering from a symptom that you think is related to thiamine deficiency, go to the doctor immediately.

If you notice that your child may have these Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms, the more that you should seek professional medical help since children are more vulnerable to diseases than adults.




Causes of Thiamine Deficiency


A lot of causes may be attributed to why people show thiamine deficiency symptoms. It may be that two people may suffer from the condition but may have different reasons for the development. Here are some of the most usual grounds for Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms:


  • Being an alcoholic


Individuals who are known to be chronic alcoholics have a higher risk of developing thiamine deficiency symptoms than those who are not. People who indulge too much in alcohol drinking have low levels of thiamine in their body.

These people may also suffer impairment in their Vitamin B1 uptake as well as an increase in the diminishing of their thiamine diphosphate deposits. It is because alcohol is a known neurotoxin which affects the thiamine supply of the body aside from targeting brain tissue.


  • Engaging in fad dieting


People who undergo a good dieting regime usually eat healthy foods but on a lesser amount. However, those who follow fad dieting tips or regiments end up eating an unbalanced diet, developing thiamine deficiency symptoms.

It is because most of the fad diets out there target to make the loss of excess fat faster by providing food choices that aid the process even at the cost of having a diet lacking in sufficient thiamine supply.


  • Having a dialysis


Getting a dialysis to evacuate the blood due to malfunctioning kidneys can also contribute to the deficiency in the coenzyme thiamine. It is because the process cleanses the blood which can also wash or remove thiamine.


  • High consumption of energy


Another possible cause for thiamine deficiency symptoms is high use of energy which can be due to some medical conditions like hyperthyroidism, severe illness, pregnancy, and much more. These conditions burn the energy in the body fast, which also accelerates the consumption of thiamine.


  • Mother with beriberi


When the mother has beriberi during pregnancy, there is a high chance that they baby in the womb can also acquire thiamine deficiency symptoms. It is because the majority of the infant’s nutritional needs are provided by the mother, and if the mother cannot supply the thiamine required, then it may affect the baby. The condition can also be hereditary.


Thiamine Deficiency Treatment


If someone shows thiamine deficiency symptoms, a medical examination must be done. If the patient is proven to have Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms, then parenteral thiamine administered.

The usual recommended dose for the treatment is the 50 mg. It is managed for many days, depending on its symptoms and severity of the condition. Delivery of the treatment may vary, but most are administered through bioavailable forms.

The treatment of the disease is also closely monitored. In some cases, the specialist may refer the patient to a clinic for alcohol dependency, especially when treatment must be done on a long-term basis.

In the instance of infants, IV infusion of the vitamin is performed. Depending on the amount of the deficiency, it can be attended by up to 7 days treatment of intramuscular thiamine and up to 6 weeks oral therapy of thiamine.

However, to be prepared as early as possible, pregnant women must get themselves checked for the condition and see if there is a possibility that the child they are bearing can inherit or acquire the situation as well.


Thiamine-rich Foods


Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms


If you want to enhance your immunity to treat Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms, you can start by eating foods with high contents of the substance. There are a lot of choices available for you. However, here are some of the very popular known thiamine-rich foods that you can try adding into your daily food intake:

  • Seaweed. If you like eating seaweed as part of your regular meal, then you are on the right track. It is because a cup of seaweed can contain about 2.66 mg of thiamine.
  • Yeast (Nutritional). If you can tolerate nutritional yeast, then take two tablespoons. Taking in that amount can serve you 9.6 mg of thiamine.
  • Lentils. Lentils are also a reliable source of thiamine. If you take 1/3 cup of dried lentils or 1 cup of cooked lentils, you can enjoy about 0.53 mg of thiamine.
  • Seeds of sunflowers. Sunflower seeds are also excellent sources of thiamine. If you eat at least a cup as a snack or mix it in with some vegetable salad, you can benefit 2 mg of thiamine from it.
  • Black beans. If you enjoy mixing black beans in your food, then right for you. A cup of cooked black beans or 1/3 cup of the dried ones can have 0.58 mg of the vitamin.
  • White beans. A cup of cooked white bean can yield 0.53 mg of thiamine. A similar result will also arise from 1/3 cup of the dried variety. So, if you have some bean dish in mind, white beans must be one of the ingredients.
  • Macadamia nuts. If nuts are your thing, try out some macadamia. A cup can give 1.6 mg of the coenzyme. A great and healthy snack indeed.
  • Soybeans. Soybeans are also excellent sources of Vitamin B1 or thiamine. If you cook 1 cup oy soybeans or consume 1/3 cup of the dried ones, you will get 0.53 mg.
  • Mung beans. Mung beans are also a reliable source of thiamine. Cooking a cup of mung bean soup or using 1/3 cup of the dried ones can yield 0.42 mg.
  • Asparagus. If beans are not your thing, then you can go for asparagus which a cup can provide you 0.30 mg when cooked. Fry some along with some in a stir-fry and enjoy.
  • Beef liver. If you prefer eating meat, then beef liver can also supply thiamine in your diet. Just cook about 13 ounces, and you will get 0.32 mg.




Final Words


There are a lot more sources of thiamine that you can eat such as chicken liver, cereals, specifically the whole grain variety, brown rice, oranges, eggs, and more. Just make sure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet. Remember the saying, “Health is wealth”? Well, it is true.

You must always keep your health your top priority because what is the sense of doing whatever it is you want if you end up sick. So, it is important to keep an eye on your general health while treating Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms.

Aside from eating thiamine-rich foods, you must also avoid the things and deeds that can cause thiamine deficiency. One of those is drinking alcohol. If you can avoid drinking alcohol, then, avoid it. If you find yourself tempted to drink alcohol, just go for iced water, some fresh juice, coffee or tea.

Read about the most common health conditions here.

Finally, you understand the thiamine deficiency symptoms, causes, and treatment. Now follow these methods to treat Thiamine / Vitamin B1 deficiency symptoms. If you liked the information given in this article, then consider sharing it with your friends too. Also, share your thoughts with us if you are going through this type of situation, we will help you out.