Beriberi

water-soluble: able to be dissolved in water energy: technically, the ability to perform work; the content of a substance that allows it to be useful as a fuel legumes: beans, peas, and related plants vitamin: necessary complex nutrient used to aid enzymes or other metabolic processes in the cell mineral: an inorganic (non-carbon-containing) element, ion, or compound clinical: related to hospitals, clinics, and patient care nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that extend throughout the body

Thiamin, or vitamin B1; is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in energy production (through the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate [ATP]) and nerve conduction. (ATP is the major source of energy that the human body utilizes to do work.) Thiamin is found in abundance in foods such as lean pork, legumes, and yeast. In contrast, polished (white) rice, white flour, refined sugars, fats, and oils are foods lacking this vitamin. People at risk for thiamin deficiency include those who consume large quantities of alcohol and those who live in impoverished conditions, for such people are deficient in substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Beriberi is a clinical manifestation of thiamin deficiency. Symptoms include nervous system abnormalities (e.g., leg cramps, muscle weakness), limb swelling, elevated pulse, and heart failure. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a related condition (with symptoms such as a jerky gait, disorientation, and impaired short-term memory) that occurs among alcoholics. SEE also Nutritional Deficiency; Vitamins, Water-Soluble.

Kheng Lim

Bibliography

Morgan, Sarah L., and Weinsier, Roland L. (1998). Fundamentals of Clinical Nutrition, 2nd edition. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Kane, Agnes B., and Kumar, Vinay (1999). "Environmental and Nutritional Pathology." In Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 6th edition. Philadelphia: W. B. Saun-ders.

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