Beriberi is a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin B1 (Thymine). It effects the circulatory system (wet Beriberi) and the nervous system (Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome or dry Beriberi). It can affect infants through nutrient deficient mother. It can cause severe health problems if left untreated.
Causes: Deficiency of vitamin B1 (thymine) in the diet and presence of arsenic in food.
Symptoms: Pain, tingling, fatigue, numbness in hands, necrosis of nerves, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, irregular heartbeat, and eye twitching. In extreme cases it causes muscle damage and paralysis of legs.
Treatment: Supply of vitamin B1 or thymine is the primary treatment for this disease. Vitamin B1 is found in following products, which should become part of the diet.
Unpolished rice is the best source of thymine. Boil unpolished rice in water, drain water and drink.
Boil wheat germ in milk and eat once in a day. It replenishes the loss of vitamin B1.
Eat legumes or pulses such as peas and beans (especially sprouted beans) with their skin.
Eat pineapple pulp twice a day, use peanut paste, and eat whole grain wheat bread.
Alagan is the herb in Philippines used as part of diet which contains this vitamin.
Contraindications: Vitamin B is water soluble, hence avoid drinking water after meals. Water will cause the vitamin to be excreted out of the body. Be careful with adulterated food products and medicines that may contain arsenic. Arsenic prevents the absorption of vitamins in the body.