7 Major Symptoms Of Thiamine Deficiency And Treatment Options


Thiamine is one of the eight B vitamins. It is also known as vitamin B1. It plays a crucial role in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats for energy production. It is one of the vital nutrients for maintaining the optimal health of the skin, hair, liver, eyes, brain, the nervous system and the immune system. Thiamine is a water soluble vitamin. It cannot be stored in the body. Thiamine deficiency occurs when your diet does not provide sufficient thiamin to meet your body’s demand for this important nutrient.

List Of 6 Major Symptoms Of Thiamine Deficiency And Treatment Options 

The Symptoms Of Thiamine Deficiency Are


Deficiency of thiamine impairs energy production, which causes fatigue. Thiamine is essential for synthesis of ATP, the high energy molecules that are present in every cell of the body. Thiamine deficiency makes you excessively weak that prevents you from doing even your routine activities.


Nausea And Abdominal Discomfort

Your body needs thiamine to activate enzymes that help the body to utilize carbohydrate. Deficiency of thiamin, by slowing down activities of the thiamin-dependent enzymes, increases accumulation of pyruvate in the blood, which is then converted into lactate. Too much lactate circulating in the bloodstream causes nausea and stomach pain and discomfort.


Burning And Weakness In Legs And Arms

Without sufficient thiamin, your nervous system cannot perform its normal activities. Neuropathy is a symptom of thiamine deficiency. It causes burning and tingling sensation in the legs and arms. Severe deficiency causes numbness and weakness in the limbs.

tingling arms

Rapid Heartbeat

Thiamine is crucial for maintaining the normal heart function. Too much pyruvic acid circulating in the blood because of thiamin deficiency damages the heart. Deficiency of thiamin increases the heart rate. If left untreated, it leads to heart enlargement and congestive heart failure.

rapid heartbeat


Depression is one of the symptoms of thiamine deficiency. Without thiamin your brain cannot utilize glucose. As your brain needs large amount of energy for its activities, depletion of energy leads to emotional problems.



Deficiency of thiamine also causes cognitive impairment and dementia. It usually occurs in people suffering from severe thiamin deficiency. The condition known as cerebral beriberi or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome causes vision changes and memory loss.


Thiamine Deficiency Treatments

Thiamine deficiency is treated by increasing consumption of thiamine rich foods and with dietary supplements. Thiamin is found in supplements as thiamin nitrate and thiamin hydrochloride. However, in case of severe deficiency, doctors recommend thiamin injections to treat the neurological symptoms of thiamin deficiency.

Thiamine Rich Foods

To increase your thiamine intake, include sunflower seeds, beans, oat and lentils in your daily diet. Asparagus, beet greens and spinach are other good sources of thiamin. Large amounts of thiamine are present in meat, seafood and poultry.