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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms of vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency can begin after only 10 days of low vitamin B1 (thiamin) intake.

General symptoms of moderate vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Personality changes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sore and atrophied muscles
  • Wernicke's encephalopathy
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General symptoms of severe vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency include:

  • Beri beri (rare except in severely ill alcoholics)
  • Constipation
  • Decreased reflex activity
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Extreme fluid retention in arms and legs
  • Nausea
  • Pain and tingling in hands/arms and legs/feet
  • Vomiting
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (only in severely ill alcoholics)

People with any of these symptoms should seek advice from their medical practitioner to determine if vitamin B1 (thiamin) supplementation is warranted in their individual situation.

Beri Beri

Beri beri is a condition which is caused by a severe deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamin) in the diet and is characterised by the following symptoms:

  • Enlargement of the heart and heart disease
  • Inflammation of the nerves
  • Severe fluid retention

People who think they may be at risk of vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency need to see their doctor to prevent this condition. While it is mostly eradicated in the West, unfortunately Beri Beri still does occur in poorer countries today (mainly due to malnutrition).

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency is a condition that occurs in people with severe and chronic alcoholism. This condition eventually causes a type of nerve damage called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which is irreversible.


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