There are a number of causes of Vitamin B1 deficiency. The
most basic cause is simply a person not consuming foods with enough
Vitamin B1, however this is rare in first world countries. Problems with
the absorption of Vitamin B1 in the small intestines can also result in a
deficiency. One of the most common reasons this happens is consuming
too much alcohol, however, there are a number of diseases that can
result in a condition where Thiamine is not absorbed correctly.
Symptoms related to low levels of energy in the person are the most common since
energy production in the cells requires vitamin B1. The proper
functioning of brain cells requires large amounts of energy making the
effects quite dramatic and very visible when normal brain functioning is impaired by a lack of energy.
Vitamin B1 deficiency has a number of basic
symptoms associated with it.
Supplementation or an increase in vitamin B1 nutritional levels can
typically reverse the symptoms quickly. The initial stages of cellular
are the cause of most symptoms. The energy required to function is no
longer present in the cells. Memory loss, irritability and depression
frequently occur in individuals with Vitamin B1 deficiency. A
short term deficiency of Vitamin B1 in the muscle cells will lead to
muscle tenderness, weakness
and fatigue. Symptoms such as slowed reflexes, poor coordination, pins
and needles can result in areas throughout the body. The person
will generally feel tired, both mentally and physically.Vitamin B1 deficiency has three general causes. The foods
eaten not containing enough Thiamine is the first cause. Improper
preparation of foods or poor food choices can be the cause of this. The
destruction or removal of Vitamin B1 is easy to do accidentally while
boiling or cooking.
The amount of vitamin B1 absorbed from foods can be
reduced a great deal by diseases that affect the small intestine.
The over consumption of alcohol is the most common reason for a
deficiency of vitamin B1 in the western world. The small intestines are
prevented from absorbing a number of nutrients including thiamine by
A disease known as Beriberi will result from long term, more
severe cases of a deficiency in vitamin B1. Death can result from this
severe condition. Emotional imbalances such as anger or depression, pain
in the extremities, muscle weakness and extreme weight loss are among
Beriberi disease symptoms.
Temporary loss of control of the use of arms and legs often occurs. The
effect on the heart is the most dangerous part of Beriberi disease; at
this severity level, congestive heart failure and death are real
possibilities as a result of a deficiency of Vitamin B1.
Korsakoff syndrome and/or Wernicke’s encephalopathy are
other conditions that can develop either in association with or
individually with Beriberi disease. Impaired sensory perception,
amnesia, loss of motor skill control and mental confusion can all
result. The patient can become
uncontrollable and deranged with these mental conditions. A great deal
damage cannot be reversed when the deficiency of Thiamine reaches the
stages resulting from these disorders and symptoms. It is vital to note
that chronic alcohol abuse is the major cause of severe cases of
Thiamine deficiency. The mental symptoms of these disorders are
drunkenness in many cases.
Reviewed: Peter Sedesse, MD
A deficiency of vitamin B1 can be caused by either
gastrointestinal disease or alcohol presence resulting in the nutrient
being improperly absorbed. In certain parts of the world, there is
also a possibility of an inadequate intake of Vitamin B1. Mild
symptoms such as mental confusion or weakness can be present or more
severe symptoms such as cardiac arrest or paralysis can be present.
Proper nutrition can quickly reverse most symptoms in all but the most
serious cases where damage to the internal organs or brain has already occurred.