Dr. Lam Labs, LLC

Lack of Thiamine Can Lead to Nerve and Heart Problems

Thiamine deficiency is a condition wherein the body does not meet the minimum requirements for thiamine. This is also known as beriberi. This happens when there is insufficient thiamine in the diet or when there is lack of absorption of thiamine as seen in patients who had gastrectomy.

There are two types of thiamine deficiency. One is called wet beriberi. This affects the cardiovascular system. The other type which affects the nervous system is called dry beriberi.

In the United States, thiamine deficiency is not so common because many foods are now vitamin enriched. However, people who have increased alcohol intake can have problems in thiamine absorption. In more serious cases, brain damage can occur. This is termed as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

Patients on diuretics or those who had undergone dialysis can also develop beriberi. Infants with asymptomatic mothers who have beriberi can develop infantile beriberi since the milk produced by the mother lacks thiamine.


The symptoms of dry beriberi are loss of sensation on feet and hands, lower leg paralysis, difficulty walking, confusion, nystagmus or back and forth eye movement, lack of concentration, and tingling sensations. Other symptoms are difficulty talking, pain, vand vomiting.

Dry beriberi symptoms affect mostly the heart. One of the symptoms is shortness of breath at night that causes the patient to awaken suddenly. Other symptoms are shortness of breath after mild activity, palpitations, and edema of the lower extremities.


Treating thiamine deficiency is not difficult. Basically, this involves correcting the thiamine deficiency and maintaining sufficient levels. This will typically relieve all symptoms. Thiamine can be given as injection or an easier way is by taking oral thiamine supplements.


Eating foods rich in thiamine such as oatmeal, eggs, liver, potatoes, oranges, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds will help relieve the symptoms. Daily vitamin supplements are also very effective sources of thiamine. Stop drinking alcohol. Raw meat from fresh water fish and shellfish have thiaminase. Thiaminase is a enzyme that breaks down thiamine. It is advised to cook fish and shellfish properly.



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NeuRx is physician formulated and has been used in my practice for diabetic neuropathy as well as other polyneuropathies and post nerve surgery patients. 

In addition to the thiamine derivative listed above, NeurRx has B12, DHEA and Alpha Lipoic Acid to strengthen the effects and the results have been Wonderful.