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Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - properties, sources, deficiency, excess

Vitamin B1 called thiamine is responsible for the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.

Ludwig Jelonek - AuthorAuthorLudwig Jelonek
Ludwig Jelonek - Author
AuthorLudwig Jelonek
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Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

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Michael Tomaszewski
Editor

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

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Fact-checkingEmilia Moskal
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Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

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Vitamin B1 (thiamine) - properties, sources, deficiency, excess
29 April, 2024
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First. Mysterious. Forgotten. That's exactly what vitamin B1 is. Most people don't know much about it, so together with nutritionist Karolina Król-Lach, I've put together a solid dose of thiamine knowledge for you. What is it? What are its properties? What are the symptoms of thiamine deficiency and excess? You will find the answers to these and other questions in this article!

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Description of contents:

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  1. What is vitamin B1?
  2. .
  3. Properties of thiamine
  4. .
  5. Thiamine requirements
  6. .
  7. Sources of thiamine
  8. .
  9. Vitamin B1 deficiency
  10. .
  11. Vitamin B1 excess
  12. .
  13. Thiamine supplementation
  14. .
  15. Vitamin B1 during pregnancy
  16. .
  17. Tiamine and alcohol
  18. .
  19. Interactions of vitamin B1 with drugs
  20. .

See also:

See also:

What is vitamin B1?

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Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is a vitamin water-soluble. It is responsible for the functioning of cells in the body, as well as the production of energy from nutrients. The body only stores trace amounts of thiamine in the liver. It is therefore necessary to take vitamin B1 daily with the dietand.

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Vitamin B1 was discovered and isolated from rice bran by a Polish biochemist - Kazimierz Funk. Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in tissue respiration. The body also uses it in numerous metabolic processes, for example during the conversion of food into energy
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Carolina Król-LachDietitian

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Properties of thiamine 

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Vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient that affects numerous processes in the body. How does thiamine work?

  • Increases energy production. The primary role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. Vitamin B1 plays a very important role in this process. It helps the body's cells convert carbohydrates into energyand.
  • .
  • Helps fight depression. Vitamin B1 relieves symptoms of depression and improves mood. Furthermore, thiamine deficiency has been linked to poor moodand.
  • .
  • Helps people with diabetes. Research suggests that taking thiamine has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. It doesn't stop there, vitamin B1 lowers high blood pressure and prevents cardiac complications in people with diabetesand.
  • Reduces symptoms of sepsis. Tiamine in combination withvitamin C alleviates symptoms of sepsis. It may also reduce the risk of kidney failure, which often follows infectionand.
  • Prevents nerve damage. B vitamins, including thiamine, positively influence regeneration of damaged nerves. Its deficiency leads to peripheral neuropathy. Furthermore, combining vitamin B1 with vitamin B12 may alleviate nerve pain in people with diabetesand.
  • Improves memory.  Thiamine supplementation may improve memory and concentrationand.
  • .
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Vitamin B1 is thought to regulate thyroid function. In cases of hyperthyroidism of this organ, increased excretion of vitamin B1 is observed with urine
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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How else does thiamine workand?

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  • Alleviates symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
  • .
  • Maintains the health of the nervous system.
  • Influences immunity.
  • Contributes to the maintenance of normal energy metabolism.
  • Prevents cardiovascular disease.
  • .
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Thiamine has an impact on the functioning of the nervous system and heart function. It doesn't stop there, it is involved in the flow of electrolytes to nerve and muscle cells
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Carolina Król-LachDietitian

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Vitamin C also boosts immunity and affects heart function. Read more about it: Vitamin C - what it is, properties, effects, deficiency.

Vitamin B1 requirement

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Adequate vitamin concentrations are the basis for a healthy body. How much thiamine do we need each dayand?

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Age

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Daily thiamine requirement* 

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0-6 months

0.2 mg

7-11 months

0.3 mg

1-3 years

0.5 mg

4-6 years

0.6 mg

7-9 years

0.9 mg

10-12 years

1 mg

13-18 years old girls

1.1 mg

13-18 years old boys

1.2 mg

Females

1.1 mg

Males

1.3 mg

*Nutrition standards for the Polish population

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The requirement for vitamin B1 increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When you are expecting a baby, you should take 1.4 mg of thiamine per day. Conversely, during breastfeeding, the requirement for vitamin B1 is even higher at 1.5 mgand.

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The human body has deposits of vitamin B1 that last for about 3 months
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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Sources of thiamine

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Thiamine should be supplied to the body with the diet. Healthy meals are the key to a healthy body. In which products can we find vitamin B1and?

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Product

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Thiamine content per 100 grams

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Rice bran

2,750 mg

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Flax seed

1,640 mg

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Dried sunflower seeds

1,480 mg

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Hemp seeds

1,280 mg

Dried coriander

1,250 mg

Oat bran

1,170 mg

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Salami

0.930 mg

Dried chives

0.900 mg

Poppy seeds

0.854 mg

Pork tenderloin

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0.765 mg

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Research suggests that vitamin B1 has a high association with migraine. A diet rich in this vitamin was associated with a lower incidence of migraines, especially among women.
Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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Vitamin B1 deficiency

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Thiamine deficiency in developed countries is a rare occurrence. However, specific groups of people may be particularly vulnerable to vitamin B1 deficiency in the body.

What affects thiamine deficiencyand?

  • AIDS/HIV.

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  • Alcohol addiction alcohol dependence.

  • AIDS/HIV.

  • Inappropriate diet. 

  • Taking certain medications.

  • Long-term parenteral nutrition.

  • Prolonged diarrhoea.

  • Prolonged diarrhoea.

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Coffee, tea and seafood reduce the absorption of vitamin B1. People who are trying to supplement a deficiency of this vitamin should not consume these foods in large quantities.
Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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Symptoms

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Symptoms of thiamine deficiency can be easily overlooked. They are most often vague and mimic signs of other conditions. Which ones should raise our concern?

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Fatigue

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Thiamine is essential in the production of energy, which is why its deficiency can manifest as fatigue. The first signs can appear as early as a few weeks after a deficiency. Although fatigue can be a symptom of many conditions, numerous studies have linked it specifically to vitamin B1 deficiencyand.

Greater mood

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Vitamin B1 deficiency leads to sudden changes in mood. Its lack in the body can manifest as irritability or feelings of irritability. Interestingly, this symptom is also indicative of thiamine deficiency in infantsand.

Tingling in arms and legs

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Tingling in the limbs can be a symptom of a deficiency of vitamin B1. Thiamine is essential for the proper functioning of the nerves. Therefore, a lack of it leads to paresthesia - tingling in the arms and legs. In the long term, this can result in damage to the peripheral nervesand.

Blurred vision

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Thiamine deficiency also affects vision. It manifests as swelling of the optic nerve, leading to blurred vision. Supplementation of vitamin B1 in such cases significantly improves vision. Furthermore, preliminary animal studies suggest that thiamine intake may prevent the visual damage caused by alcoholand.

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A symptom of vitamin B1 deficiency is reduced blood pressure.
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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Omega acids, especially omega-3 also affect eye health. I invite you to check out these articles!

What are the other symptoms of thiamine deficiencyand?

  • Problems with logical thinking.

  • Loss of short-term memory.

  • Loss of short-term memory.
  • Diffidence.

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Symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency include loss of appetite, fatigue, muscle weakness, irritability, impaired reflexes, tingling in the upper and lower extremities, decreased vision, changes in heart rate, and even nausea or vomiting.
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Carolina Król-LachDietitian

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Vitamin B1 deficiency disease - beri-beri

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Beri-beri is a disease caused by vitamin B1 deficiency. Its most common cause is a lack of a balanced diet. There are two types of beri-beri diseaseand:

  • Wet. Affects the heart and circulatory system. In extreme cases, it can lead to heart failure.

  • Dryness. Damages nerves and reduces muscle strength. If left untreated in the long term, it can even result in paralysis.

  • Sickness.

Beri-beri disease is diagnosed using blood and urine tests. Doctors also perform neurological examinations for this purpose. Treatment of beri-beri is most often through supplementation monitored by a specialist.

Treatment of beri-beri is usually by supplementation monitored by a specialist.

Excess vitamin B1

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The body excretes excess thiamine with urine. Consumption of vitamin B1 in doses as high as 50 mg per day has not caused side effects.and 

This is why a maximum daily dose of thiamine has not been established. This is most likely due to the fact that the absorption of vitamin B1 at doses above 5 mg, is significantly reduced by our body .

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With chronic use of vitamin B1 above 3000 mg per day, symptoms of toxicity can occur. These include headache, irritability, insomnia, weakness, tachycardia and allergic reactions.
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Carolina Król-LachDietitian

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Tiamine supplementation

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Want to replace a healthy diet with supplements? Forget it! It is balanced meals that influence our health. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to "top up" the vitamin B1 requirement. The exceptions to this are extreme deficiencies. Then supplements are advisable.

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How long to take?

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The length of supplementation depends on the doctor's recommendations. In cases of severe deficiency, very high doses may be taken - either orally or by injection. This can reduce the deficiency symptoms associated with the heart within days or even hours. In contrast, reversing the effects of thiamine deficiency related to the nervous system or brain, can take up to three to six monthsand.

Contraindications

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Vitamin B1, like all other vitamins for the general public, is safe. However, if you have had allergic reactions involving it, ask your doctor's opinion before starting supplementation. Furthermore, people with any medical conditions or who are allergic to certain ingredients in supplements should also seek advice from a specialist.

Morning or evening?

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Thiamine, like pantothenic acid, folate or vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin. This is why it is a good idea to take it in the morning, on an empty stomach. The best time to do this is about half an hour before your first meal. However, if you do not have this option, take vitamin B1 at any time of the day.

Vitamin B1 in pregnancy

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Vitamin B1 influences the health of pregnancy. It supports the development of the baby and also helps to convert carbohydrates into energy. It affects the function of the nervous system and the heart. Furthermore, thiamine deficiency negatively affects the development of cognitive functions in the yet unborn child. The recommended dose of thiamine for pregnant women is 1.4 mg per dayand.

Thiamine and breastfeeding

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The breastfeeding period, like pregnancy, is governed by its own rules. The need for thiamine is higher then (1.5 mg per day), and a deficiency will translate into a lack of vitamin B1 in the infant's body. The result, will be gastrointestinal symptoms, heart failure or lactic acidosisand.

Vitamin B1 and alcohol

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Alcoholism leads to impaired absorption of thiamine from the gut. Therefore, people who abuse alcoholic beverages are at risk of vitamin B1 deficiency. The result can be serious problems with brain function, cognitive function, memory, intellect or personalityand.

Furthermore, long-term alcohol consumption leads to Korsakov syndrome. It manifests as amnesia and cognitive impairment.

Interactions of thiamine with drugs

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It has not been established with which drugs vitamin B1 interacts. However, some agents can affect its concentration. This is primarily furosemide, a diuretic drug that lowers blood pressure. Some chemotherapy drugs can also adversely affect thiamine concentrationsand.

See also:

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Summary

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Remember:

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  • Vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin responsible for the function of the body's cells.
  • Aiding the fight against depression, preventing nerve diseases or increasing energy production are just some of the properties of thiamine.
  • Thiamine is a vitamin that is responsible for the functioning of the body's cells.
  • The daily requirement of vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men.
  • .
  • Most thiamine can be found in rice bran, flax seeds and dried sunflower seeds.
  • .
  • Deficiency of vitamin B1 manifests itself as mood deterioration or fatigue, and in the long term leads to the dangerous disease beri-beri.
  • .
  • Excess thiamine is excreted in the urine.
  • .
  • Vitamin B1 is crucial for the health of pregnancy.
  • .
  • Alcohol abuse negatively affects thiamine levels in the body.
  • .

FAQ

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. What impairs the absorption of vitamin B1?.

Antibiotics, hormonal contraceptives and some antacids, as well as excess caffeine, impair vitamin B1 absorption.

In contrast, the addition of vitamin C, vitamin E, the vitamins B2 and B3, as well as manganese and magnesium improve the bioavailability of this vitamin.

. What does vitamin B1 help with?.

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is one of the water-soluble B vitamins and is responsible for many processes in our body. It is involved in metabolic and biochemical changes, influences cell growth and development, neutralises free radicals and supports nervous system function.

. Is excess vitamin B1 harmful?.

Excess vitamin B1 is excreted in the urine, so it is difficult to overdose. Prolonged intake of high doses of vitamin B1 can cause muscle tremors, arrhythmia, dizziness and allergic reactions.

. Which vitamins to take for stress and nerves?.

Vitamin B1 supports memory and concentration, helps fight migraine pains, and stabilises mood. It's also worth reaching for riboflavin and niacin - they provide energy comfort for brain cells, minimise the risk of depressive states and low mood. Also check out the best tranquilliser tablets if needed.

. What are the symptoms of vitamin B1 deficiency?.

Vitamin B1 deficiency can manifest as fatigue, mood deterioration, tingling in the limbs, impaired vision, problems with logical thinking and concentration, as well as shortness of breath and nausea. Supplementation with vitamin B1 to reverse the serious effects of deficiency can take 3 to 6 months.

. Where is the most vitamin B1 available?.

The best sources of vitamin B1 are rice and oat bran, flax and sunflower seeds, whole grain bread, duck and goose meat, pork and legumes. If you want to supplement deficiencies or have an increased need for vitamin B1, consider supplementation, and discuss the dose with your doctor or nutritionist.

. What destroys vitamin B1?.

Vitamin B1 is broken down by thiaminase, an enzyme contained in raw fish and shellfish, among other things. Fortunately, heat treatment is sufficient for thiaminases to no longer be harmful to us.

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Sources

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. See all.

Abdollahifard, S., Rahmanian Koshkaki, A., & Moazamiyanfar, R. (2014). The effects of vitamin B1 on ameliorating the premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Global Journal of Health Science, 6(6), 144-153. https://doi.org/10.5539/gjhs.v6n6p144

Calderón-Ospina, C. A., & Nava-Mesa, M. O. (2019). B Vitamins in the nervous system: Current knowledge of the biochemical modes of action and synergies of thiamine, pyridoxine, and cobalamin. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 26(1), 5-13. https://doi.org/10.1111/cns.13207

Costantini, A., Pala, M. I., Catalano, M. L., Notarangelo, C., & Careddu, P. (2014). High-Dose Thiamine Improves Fatigue After Stroke: A Report of Three Cases. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(9), 683-685. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2013.0461

Dias, F. M. V., Silva, D. M. de F., Doyle, F. C. de P., & Ribeiro, A. M. (2013). The connection between maternal thiamine shortcoming and offspring cognitive damage and poverty perpetuation in underprivileged communities across the world. Medical Hypotheses, 80(1), 13-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2012.09.011

Eshak, E. S., & Arafa, A. E. (2018). Thiamine deficiency and cardiovascular disorders. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases: NMCD, 28(10), 965-972. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2018.06.013

Hammond, N., Wang, Y., Dimachkie, M. M., & Barohn, R. J. (2013). Nutritional Neuropathies. Neurologic Clinics, 31(2), 477-489. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ncl.2013.02.002

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Huertas-González, N., Hernando-Requejo, V., Luciano-García, Z., & Cervera-Rodilla, J. L. (2015). Wernicke's Encephalopathy, Wet Beriberi, and Polyneuropathy in a Patient with Folate and Thiamine Deficiency Related to Gastric Phytobezoar. Case Reports in Neurological Medicine, 2015, e624807. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/624807

Kloss, O., Eskin, N. A. M., & Suh, M. (2018). Thiamin deficiency on fetal brain development with and without prenatal alcohol exposure. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 96(2), 169-177. https://doi.org/10.1139/bcb-2017-0082

Moulin, P., Cinq-Frais, C., Gangloff, C., Peyre, M., Seguela, P.-E., Charpentier, S., Cascarigny, F., Alcouffe, F., Periquet, B., Dulac, Y., & Acar, P. (2014). Béribéri du nourrisson: À propos d'un cas. Archives de Pédiatrie, 21(4), 392-395. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcped.2014.01.009

Office of Dietary Supplements-Thiamin. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 March 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/

Roda, M., di Geronimo, N., Pellegrini, M., & Schiavi, C. (2020). Nutritional Optic Neuropathies: State of the Art and Emerging Evidences. Nutrients, 12(9), Article 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092653

Rolfe, M. (1994). Beri-beri: 'Endemic among urban Gambians'. Africa Health, 16(3), 22-23.

Staff, N. P., & Windebank, A. J. (2014). Peripheral Neuropathy Due to Vitamin Deficiency, Toxins, and Medications. Continuum : Lifelong Learning in Neurology, 20(5 Peripheral Nervous System Disorders), 1293-1306. https://doi.org/10.1212/01.CON.0000455880.06675.5a

Ucak, T., Karakurt, Y., Tasli, G., Cimen, F. K., Icel, E., Kurt, N., Ahiskali, I., & Süleyman, H. (2019). The effects of thiamine pyrophosphate on ethanol-induced optic nerve damage. BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology, 20(1), 40. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40360-019-0319-5

Wet beriberi with multiple organ failure remarkably reversed...: Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2018/03020/wet_beriberi_with_multiple_organ_failure.4.aspx

Wiley, K. D., & Gupta, M. (2022). Vitamin B1 Thiamine Deficiency. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537204/

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Meet the team
Ludwig Jelonek - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by

Clinical nutritionist

Verified by an expert

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by

Editor

Michael Tomaszewski

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

Emilia Moskal - Fact-checking

Natu.Care Editor

Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

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