Vitamins play a crucial role in our growth and development. The importance of incorporating vitamin-rich foods in our diet has been stressed for long. Deficiencies of these vital nutrients in the body can manifest into a range of diseases.
A report appeared in the journal Scientific American Medicine stated deficiency of a single vitamin B1 (or thiamine) can cause a potentially fatal brain disorder, called Wernicke encephalopathy.
Wernicke Encephalopathy: Result of Vitamin B1 Deficiency
Wernicke encephalopathy typically occurs in people who have disorders such as alcoholism and anorexia that lead to malnourishment. “Wernicke encephalopathy is an example of the wide range of brain diseases called encephalopathies that are caused by metabolic disorders and toxic substances,” said Matthew McCoyd, a neurologist at Loyola University Medical Center in the US.
Symptoms of the disorder can include confusion, hallucinations, coma, loss of muscle coordination and vision problems such as double vision and involuntary eye movements. Untreated, the condition can lead to irreversible brain damage and death, the researchers said.
“Toxic and metabolic encephalopathies may range in severity from the acute confusional state to frank coma,” McCoyd added.
Wernicke encephalopathy is a medical emergency that requires immediate thiamine treatment either by injection or IV. “In the absence of treatment, deficiency can lead to irreversible brain damage and death with an estimated mortality of 20 percent,” the Loyola neurologists wrote.
Including more Vitamin B1 rich foods in your daily diet can thus be helpful. Foods like watermelon, cereal grains, oatmeal, potatoes, and eggs are all rich sources of Vitamin B1.