Daily Archives: February 12, 2010

Don’t Stop, But Don’t Start

It seems as though every other day there is a new report regarding vitamins. Should you take a multi-vitamin daily? My doctor says yes, certain reports say no. (or to be even more confusing, don’t stop, but don’t start)

If you take too many vitamins, studies show you may increase your chances of getting cancer or having a (second) heart attack.

However, if you are deficient in too many vitamins you could develop scurvy, rickets, or beriberi.

Scurvy is caused the lack of Vitamin C. Rickets is caused by the lack of Vitamin D. But what is beriberi caused by and what is it?

Beriberi is a nervous system ailment caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet. Thiamine is involved in the breakdown of energy molecules such as glucose and is also found on the membranes of neurons. Symptoms of beriberi include severe lethargy and fatigue, together with complications affecting the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems.

There are 2 major types of beriberi:

  • Wet beriberi affects the cardiovascular system.
  • Dry beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome affect the nervous system.

At first, it was thought to from a lack of protein, but by 1901 it was discovered that it was indeed a (thiamine)B1 deficiency. To read more about beriberi, go here.

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