Sometimes, even the slightest change in your daily routine or lifestyle could lead to health problems and vitamin deficiency. You might not realize this, but your diet plays a significant role in your overall health. This is the primary and most important source of all nutrients needed for the body to function well. A lack of thiamine may lead to certain health conditions.
With that being said, leaving a specific type of food out of your diet can lead to vitamin deficiency. One of the essential vitamins that you should never cut from your daily intake is thiamine. If you want to know what causes thiamine deficiency, and how to recognize and treat it, stick around for the rest of this guide!
What Is Thiamine?
Thiamine, also called thiamin, is a vitamin you might be familiar with without even realizing it. This is Vitamin B1, an essential vitamin that you can find in some foods, or find added to foods that do not contain it. Furthermore, it can be found as a dietary supplement that you can take to reach ideal levels of thiamine.
We cannot stress how vital this vitamin is to your overall health. The vitamin’s primary function is to help various cells in your body grow and function properly. Those cells are responsible for the functioning of your brain and heart. So, if there is not enough thiamine in your body, your brain and heart will not be able to function properly.
Thiamine deficiency disorders are not that common, and you would rarely find someone dealing with severe thiamine deficiency, but it is not impossible for someone to have lowered thiamine levels. Should you suspect you are dealing with a lack of thiamine, we recommend you talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
What Causes Thiamine Deficiency?
You might be experiencing low levels of thiamine in your body for several reasons. The most apparent reason is a change in your dietary intake of the vitamin, meaning that you might not be eating food rich in this vitamin.
Research has proven that there is a high dose of thiamine in foods like fish, cereals, lentils, beans, green peas, yogurt, noodles, rice, bread, or sunflower seed. If you have recently decided to cut one or more of these foods from your diet, chances are that you are not meeting the thiamine level requirements needed for your body to function properly.
If you have not changed your diet, there are several other reasons why your thiamine levels might be lower than before. For example, some illnesses lead to the body needing more thiamine than usual. If you are experiencing hyperthyroidism or any similar condition, this might be the reason for your thiamine deficiency.
Then, some other illnesses or conditions can cause interference with the vitamin’s metabolism. Such illnesses can be all known liver disorders. If you have such a disorder, talk to a healthcare provider about supplements or medications you could take to improve the thiamine levels.
Sometimes, the thiamine that you give your body is not absorbed correctly. This can happen to a person who is dealing with diarrhea or vomiting for an extended time. But it can also occur in people dealing with issues like alcoholism and anorexia – disorders that could be causing the body to work irregularly.
If you are dealing with alcohol dependence or an eating disorder, you must seek help and advice on improving your thiamine intake. Otherwise, you risk things getting worse as your disorders progress.
How to Recognize Thiamine Deficiency?
Recognizing thiamine deficiency is not that easy, considering that there is no specific sign pointing to this problem. Instead, most symptoms of lower levels of thiamine are the same as you would get if you are experiencing a simple cold. Also, watch out for a loss of appetite, loss of balance, or shortness of breath.
Still, knowing how the problem manifests and what you could look out for is good. For example, a sudden weight loss without any effort on your part could mean thiamine problems. The weight loss could be paired with immunity problems and muscle weakness.
In some cases, low thiamine levels can cause confusion, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you will likely deal with joint and extremity pain, numbness, digestion or circulation problems, and, less frequently, a problem with circulation.
A combination of several of these signs could mean you are not giving your body enough thiamine. Should that happen, talk to a doctor and see what you can do to improve your situation. If left untreated, thiamine deficiency can lead to a more serious medical emergency, and you should try to avoid that at all costs.
How to Treat Thiamine Deficiency?
After doing a physical exam that confirms symptoms of thiamine deficiency, you should start treating the deficit as soon as possible.
The easiest way is to take supplements, but if you do not want to consume any supplements, you can always improve your poor diet or switch to a new, healthy diet. Make sure to include food rich in thiamine, for example, cereal for breakfast, meat for lunch, and some noodles for dinner.
For chronic illnesses or disorders, seek professional help and advice on the medicine and practices you should take up. If you are dealing with excessive alcohol intake or an eating disorder, seek help for that as well. Such conditions can also cause more problems than they solve, so try to eliminate them as soon as possible.
After reading our guide, we hope you have a clear idea about what causes thiamine deficiency in people and how to recognize and treat it. Remember that you can raise your thiamine levels with supplementation or a change in your daily diet.
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