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A Deficiency Of Vitamin B1. Is Your Health At Risk?

Is Your Health at Risk?

A deficiency of Vitamin B1 is not very common in developed countries but an extended deficiency can

lead to severe health problems.

Vitamin B1 levels decline with age, and some age groups are at more risk than other. In order to prevent vitamin B1 deficiency it is important to know who is at risk and how these risks occur.

Who is at Risk:

  • Consuming a poor diet on a regular basis can cause a vitamin b1 Deficiency - A deficiency of vitamin B1 usually occurs when your diet does not contain enough of this vitamin. This is especially common if your diet consists mainly of refined foods such as white rice or white flour. The majority of vitamin B1 is lost during the refinement process of these foods and although white rice and floor are fortified with thiamine in some countries, choosing an unrefined product is always wiser. Examples of this are brown rice and whole meal flour.
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  • Chronic Alcoholics - A deficiency of vitamin b1 is common among people who abuse alcohol and alcoholics therefore need more thiamine. Alcohol blocks thiamin in the body and adding vitamin B1 to alcoholic drinks to counteract this is considered a cost effective preventative measure.
  • Malabsorption can also cause a vitamin B1 deficiency as the body can not properly absorb vitamin B1 through the intestines.
  • If you are a heavy smoker, drinker, or you consume too much carbohydrates, your need for vitamin B1 will increase. Stress related conditions will also deplete vitamin B reserves within the body including vitamin B1.
  • People suffering from kidney problems having regular dialysis may have serious a vitamin B1 deficiency.

Symptoms Of A Deficiency Of Vitamin B1

  • Low vitamin B1 deficiency signs include loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, gastrointestinal disorders, tender, atrophied muscles and mental problems such as rolling of the eyeballs, depression, memory loss, difficulty concentrating and rapid heartbeat.
  • A gross vitamin B1 deficiency leads to eventual beriberi disease, which is rare except in severely ill alcoholics.
  • Gross deficiencies also cause pain or tingling in the arms or legs, decreased reflex activity, fluid accumulation in the arms and legs, enlargement of the heart, constipation, and nausea and vomiting.

There are 3 forms of Beriberi disease;

  • Wet beriberi
  • Dry beriberi
  • Cerebral beriberi or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

Wet beriberi is associated with cardiovascular disease and the symptoms are edema, increased heart rate, lung congestion, and an enlarged heart related to congestive heart failure.

Dry beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome are associated with nervous system disease and the symptoms for this particular disease are pain, tingling, or loss of sensation in the hands and feet. Muscle wasting and paralysis are also common and this can also lead to brain damage and death. All three forms of beriberi are most commonly caused by over excessive alcohol consumption.

Vitamin B1 Dosages And Side Effects

The suggested amount for thiamin is 1.0 to 1.5 mg. It is available up to 500 mg dosages in supplements. As the body does not store water-soluble vitamins and excretes any excessive amounts, symptoms of toxicity due to a high dosage are very rare.

According to a case study in the December 27, 2005 issue of Neurology, a deficiency of vitamin B1 can become a serious condition following surgery, which is used to treat obesity.

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