Beriberi disease – a picture of thiamine deficiency in underdeveloped and highly developed countries

Agnieszka Blicharz, Magdalena Marzęda, Małgorzara Drozd, Jakub Czarnota, Halina Piecewicz-Szczęsna



Introduction and purpose: Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is a water-soluble vitamin. It plays an important role in many biological processes, mainly in glucose metabolism. Its deficiency is called beriberi disease. Beriberi was discovered at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and is now a disease that occurs in both underdeveloped and highly developed countries.

Brief description of the state of knowledge: Thiamine deficiency can affect the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, which is seen as dry, wet, fulminant beriberi or as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Worldwide, vitamin B1 deficiency is most commonly reported in populations where rice and ground grains are the main food source, but also in patients with chronic alcohol abuse, diabetes, gastrointestinal surgery, cancer, and patients undergoing chronic diuretic therapy, which increases urine loss.

Summary: Treatment of beriberi disease consists in supplementing vitamin B1 in appropriate doses. The symptoms of thiamine deficiency are non-specific, however, early diagnosis and initiation of vitamin administration quickly lead to clinical improvement. It should be remembered that thiamine deficiency is often not included in the differential diagnosis of complaints reported by patients. This may be due to the belief that diets in European countries containing food products enriched with vitamins exclude clinically evident micronutrient deficiencies.


beriberi; thiamin deficiency; Korsakoff syndrome; Wernicke encephalopathy

Full Text:



Kerns J, Arundel C., Chawla L. Thiamin Deficiency in People with Obesity. Advances in Nutrition. 2015; 6 (2): 147-153.

Lonsdale D. Thiamin. New Research and Developments of Water-Soluble Vitamins. 2018. 1-56.

Polegato B., Pereira A., Azevedo P., et al. Role of Thiamin in Health and Disease. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2019. 1-7.

Wiley KD. Vitamin B1 Thiamine Deficiency (Beriberi). In: StatPearls Publishing [Internet]. 2020.

Frank LL. Thiamin in Clinical Practice. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 2015; 39 (5): 503–520.

Dabar, G., Harmouche, C., Habr, B., Riachi, M., & Jaber, B. Shoshin Beriberi in Critically-Ill patients: case series. Nutrition Journal. 2015; 14 (1).

Gerridzen IJ, Joling KJ, Depla MF, et al. Awareness and its relationships with neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with Korsakoff syndrome or other alcohol-related cognitive disorders living in specialized nursing homes. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019; 34 (6): 836–845.

Pietrzak K. Christiaan Eijkmann (1856-1930). Journal of Neurology. 2019; 266: 2893 - 2895.

Nguyen PAH, Pittayawonganon C, Praekunatham H, et al. Beriberi outbreak among factory workers in Chachoengsao Province, Thailand, 2012-2013. OSIR. 2014; 7 (3): 1-7.

Gregg D. Infantile Beriberi in the Philippines. Boston Med Surg J. 1913; 168: 676-8.

Nosten F., Beriberi in Cambodia. Paediatrics and International Child Health. 2015; 35 (4): 283-284.

Jeyakumar D. Thiamine responsive ankle oedema in detention center inamtes. Med J Malays. 1995; 50 (1): 17-20.

Sunita AR., Mohannad SJ., Fadzilah K., et al. Beriberi Outbreak Among Unauthorised Immigrants in a Detention Camp in Malaysia. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2018; 20 (5): 1294-1297.

Doung-ngern P., Kesornsukhon S., Kanlayanaphotporn J., Wanadurongwan S., Songchitsombon S. Beriberi outbreak among commercial fishermen, Thailand 2005. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2007; 38 (1): 59-64.

Tang CM, Rolfe M., Wells JC, Cham K., Outbreak of beriberi in the Gambia, The Lancet 1989; 2 (8656): 206-7.

de Montmollin D., MacPhail J., McMahon J., Coninx R., Outbreak of beriberi in a prison in West Africa. Tropical Doctor. 2002; 32: 234-236.

Püsküllüoglu M, Nieckula J, Laprus I. Re-nourishment syndrome in cancer patients. [Refeeding syndrome in oncological patients]. Via Medica. 2011; 7 (1): 24-30. Polish.

Latt, N., & Dore, G. Thiamine in the treatment of Wernicke encephalopathy in patients with alcohol use disorders. Internal Medicine Journal. 2014; 44 (9): 911–915.

Soyka, M., Kranzler, HR., Hesselbrock, et al. Guidelines for biological treatment of substance use and related disorders, part 1: Alcoholism, first revision. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry. 2016; 18 (2): 86–119.

Brown G. Defects of thiamine transport and metabolism. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. 2014; 37 (4): 577-585.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Journal of Education, Health and Sport formerly Journal of Health Sciences

Declaration on the original version.

Editors indicates that the main version of the magazine is to issue a "electronic".

The journal has had 5 points in Ministry of Science and Higher Education parametric evaluation. § 8. 2) and § 12. 1. 2) 22.02.2019.

1223 Journal of Education, Health and Sport eISSN 2391-8306 7

ISSN 2391-8306 formerly ISSN: 1429-9623 / 2300-665X

Archives 2011 - 2014

PBN 2011 - 2014

POL-index 2011 - 2014

BASE 2011 - 2014

Indexed in Bases, Bazy indeksacyjne: ERIH Plus, Worldcat, PBN/POL-Index, ICI Journals Master List, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), ZBD, Ulrich's periodicals, Google Scholar, Polska Bibliografia Lekarska, EuroPub database, NLM Catalog Result - NCBI, BASE, Russian Sciences Index, Arianta.

US NLM = 101679844

101679844 - NLM Catalog Result - NCBI

Find a library that holds this journal:


PBN Poland



Redaction, Publisher and Editorial Office

Publisher and Editorial Office
Department of Physical Culture,
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management,
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland
Address: Str. Lwowska 1, 87-100 Toruń, Poland

  Open Access ISSN 2391-8306 formerly ISSN: 1429-9623 / 2300-665X

The journal has been approved for inclusion in ERIH PLUS.

The ERIH PLUS listing of the journal is available at

Indexed in Index Copernicus Journals Master List.,p24782242,3.html

ICV 2018 = 95.95 ICV 2017 = 91.30 ICV 2016 = 84.69 ICV 2015 = 93.34 ICV 2014 = 89.51 Standardized Value: 8.27 ICV 2013: 7.32 ICV 2012: 6.41 ICV 20115.48

RG Journal Impact: 0.18 *

*This value is calculated using ResearchGate data and is based on average citation counts from work published in this journal. The data used in the calculation may not be exhaustive.

RG Journal impact history

2020Available summer 2021
2018 / 20190.18

RG Journal impact over time

RG Journal impact

Indexed in Polish Scholarly Bibliography (PBN) (PBN Polska Bibliografia Naukowa) (

is a portal of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, collecting information on publications of Polish scientists and on Polish and foreign scholarly journals. Polish Scholarly Bibliograhpy is a part of POL-on - System of Information on Higher Education. It is operated by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw.

Indexed in Russian Sciences Index Российский индекс научного цитирования (РИНЦ)

Indexed in Arianta Polish scientific and professional electronic journals Aneta Drabek i Arkadiusz Pulikowski


Partnerzy platformy czasopism