How To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (2023)

How to Prevent Beriberi in Pregnancy: Beriberi is a disease that causes inflammation of the heart and nerves. B Vitamins are essential for a good pregnancy. Beriberi disease is caused by a deficiency of Thiamine or B1 vitamin. How to prevent beriberi in pregnancy?

The B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that are needed during pregnancy. A deficiency of B vitamins is associated with pregnancy complications and adverse outcomes.

The only way to prevent beriberi in pregnancy is to get adequate Thiamine or B1.

How to Prevent Beriberi in Pregnancy

Beriberiis prevalent in the Philippines and Japan because of the white polished rice. Sufficient B1 or thiamine (This thiamine is sold internationally) is crucial for a good pregnancy.

Beriberi in pregnancy or beri beri sa buntis is very serious and can lead to serious problems for the baby.

Beriberi is not normal during pregnancy, and it can be prevented. The only home remedy for beriberi is B1 or thiamine, foods fortified in B1, or foods high in thiamine.

When alcohol is consumed, or if there is an inadequate diet, a thiamine deficiency can occur. Beriberi or Thiamine deficiencycan lead to brain damage because thiamine is involved in the development of myelin.

According to Webster’s dictionary, myelin is “a mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted”. Babies need myelin in order to develop properly.

Thiamine deficiencyoccurs in populations in which the diet consists of milled white cereals. These foods includepolished rice and wheat flour.

A thiamine deficiencycan occur within 2-3 months of inadequate thiamine intake. Following these recommendations will prevent beriberi in pregnancy.

The only way to avoid beriberi during pregnancy is to get adequate B1 or thiamine.

Vitamin B1 ThiamineHow To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (2)

How To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (3)

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Consequences of Thiamine Deficiencyin Pregnancy

Beriberi in pregnancy or beri beri sa buntis can be prevented in pregnancy when adequate B-Complex with Folic Acid How To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (4)is consumed. Whenalcohol is consumed in pregnancy, a thiamine deficiencycan occur.

Thiamine deficiencycauses oxidative stress and nerve dysfunction which does affect fetal brain development.

Not only does drinking alcohol while pregnant producea thiamine deficiency, but it also resultsin Fetal AlcoholSyndrome.

Consequences of Thiamine Deficiencies in Infants

Infantile beriberi occurs when infants breastfed by mothers have a deficiency of thiamine. Thiamine deficiencyin babies is a major cause of infant mortality.

Beriberi disease has decreased in the last decades because of the increased awareness of thiamine deficiency.

Beriberi is an acute illness where the symptoms have a rapid onset and death can occur withindays of the onset of symptoms.

In Israel, there was an outbreak of thiamine deficiency due to Soy formula. This outbreak had a high fatality rate. The French Island of Mayotte had an outbreak due to inadequate nutrition.

There have been cases of infants going into cardiac failure due to thiamine deficiency.

How to prevent beriberi in pregnancy is to get adequate thiamine or B1.

Signs and Symptoms of Mother and Baby Beriberi Thiamine Deficiency

Thiamine deficiency in pregnant women can produce the following signs and symptoms.

  • Loss of reflexes
  • Motor deficits
  • Arm numbness or plantar pain
  • Signs of heart failure
  • Unable to rise after squatting

Signs of thiamine deficiency in babies are:

  • Heart failure
  • Enlarged liver
  • Irregular respirations

Sources of Thiamine Vitamins

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Thiamineis only recommended for use duringpregnancywhen benefit outweighs the risk.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) forthiamineduringpregnancyis 1.4 mg/day regardless of a woman’s age.

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Women carrying more than one fetus may have increasedneedsforthiamine”.

Mothers with a thiamine deficiency were treated with Thiamine 100mg twice a day supplements.

Infants suspected of thiamine deficiency were treated with Thiamine 30mg per day for 20 days.

Patients with acute symptoms were treated with intravenous thiamine.

B Vitamins (vegan) is a good brand of B vitamins including folic acid that is vegan. Obstetriciansoften recommend pregnant women to take B vitamins and folic acidbecause it is difficult for pregnantwomen to get adequate amounts of these vitamins. About this product:

    • B COMPLEX VITAMINS:These vitamins are shipped internationally. Our vitamin b complex provides mental and physical energy, supports blood health, heart health, immune system health and healthy stress response
    • ENERGY SUPPLEMENT: Use our b-complex with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B-12, folate, and biotin to bump up energy and support metabolism and stress response
    • HEART HEALTH: Combine our b vitamin complex, containing 400mcg (100%DV) of folate with vitamins B6 and B-12 for a healthy heart
    • PROBIOTICS AND ENZYMES: Our plant-based b complex includes a RAW probiotic and enzyme blend for digestive support and vegetable blend for additional nutritional support
    • VEGAN B-COMPLEX: Our real food vegan b complex is RAW, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and non-GMO with No Binders or Fillers

Coenzymate B ComplexHow To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (6) is an excellent source for thiamine and it is shipped internationally. This product is shipped to the Philippines and Japan.


A study was done on Cambodia women and infants who were thiamine deficit. They received thiamine for 5 days. The thiamine treatment was effective for women, but not the babies.

The thiamineconcentrations in breast milk did increase, but it did not increase the infants’ thiamine status.

Beriberi remains prevalent in Southeast Asia where it has been associated with eating polished rice and other foods that have anti-thiamine properties such as alcohol use and betel nut use.

  • Bariatric surgery causes thiamine deficiency

  • Total parental nutrition causes deficiency

Beriberi can be prevented in pregnancy. Supplementing with B complex will prevent beriberi in pregnancy.

B1 or Thiamine Fortification Prevents Beriberi in Cambodian

Over 100 years ago, Mr. Funk proposed his theory that certain diseases were caused by thiamine deficiencies.

When Mr. Funk, who was a researcher, noticed that when chickens were fed polished rice or white rice, they developed neurological symptoms known as polyneuritis. Polyneuritis is a known thiamine deficiency.

Polyneuritis is any disorder that affects the nervous system. When they ate polished rice and white rice they developed beriberi which is a thiamine deficiency.

In Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia, beriberi is a serious concern for pregnant women.

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A study was done on pregnant Cambodian women and it was found that the women who supplemented with thiamine did not develop beriberi.

Beriberi Complicating Pregnancy

  • Low Birthweight

  • Decrease muscle strength

  • Decreased muscle tone to the baby

  • Heart Problems

There are more men who suffer from beriberi than women. However, ironically women get the disease during pregnancy. The cause of beriberi is due to a deficiency of thiamine. In the majority of these cases, the mother was affected during the last trimester.

Often times, the mother has premature labor.

Infantile thiamine deficiency or Vitamin B1 (beriberi), is rarely seen today after decades of strong public health attention. Infantile beriberi occurs mainly in infants breastfed by mothers with an inadequate intake of thiamine.

Beriberi in pregnancy is a very serious disorder. Beriberi can be fatal to the baby, and sometimes the mother.

Beriberi is only treated with thiamine or B1. Health care providers should be on the lookout for this disease in pregnant women.

The only way you can avoid contracting beriberi is f you have adequate Thiamine or B1 in your diet or in supplements. You can prevent beriberi in pregnancy by having adequate thiamine in your diet.

How can you prevent Beriberi

The only way to prevent beriberi in pregnancy is to get adequate B1 or Thiamine. Avoid polished white rice and alcohol. Alcohol depletes thiamine. Eat plenty of fortified foods such as bread and fortified rice.

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How To Prevent Beriberi Disease During Pregnancy (7)

Phyllis Robinson MSN, RN

My name is Phyllis Robinson MSN, RN. I have been a Registered Nurse for 27 years in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I am passionate about cardiac care and heart disease. I also want this blog to be an educational tool that people can refer to for traditional and alternative treatment. I will blog on heart disorders such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and high cholesterol.

I received my Nursing degree from Baltimore Community College.

I went on to receive my Masters in Nursing from Walden University

I have worked for almost 30 years in Critical Care with a focus on heart health. I am an advocate of preventive healthcare.

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How can we avoid beriberi in pregnancy? ›

To prevent beriberi, eat a nutrient-dense, balanced diet that includes foods rich in thiamine. These include: beans and legumes. seeds.

What is beriberi and how can it be prevented? ›

Lack of thiamin, or vitamin B1, in the diet will lead to beriberi, no matter where you live in the world. You need a daily intake of thiamin-rich foods, which can be easily accomplished with a varied diet. While your body stores thiamin in the liver, it doesn't hold enough to prevent a deficiency.

How much B1 can a pregnant woman take? ›

Thiamine is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for thiamine during pregnancy is 1.4 mg/day regardless of a woman's age. Women carrying more than one fetus may have increased needs for thiamine.

Is vitamin B1 good for pregnant woman? ›

Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) plays a huge part in your baby's brain development. Pregnant women need about 1.4 milligrams of vitamin B-1 daily. Natural sources of vitamin B-1 are found in: whole grain pastas.

Which foods contain vitamin B1? ›

Food Sources
  • Fortified breakfast cereals.
  • Pork.
  • Fish.
  • Beans, lentils.
  • Green peas.
  • Enriched cereals, breads, noodles, rice.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Yogurt.

Can I take B6 while pregnant? ›

Studies suggest that taking vitamin B6 for morning sickness greatly improves nausea, though not vomiting, for many pregnant women. There has been no sign of harm to the fetus with vitamin B6 use. A typical dose of vitamin B6 for morning sickness is 10 mg to 25 mg, 3 times a day.

What is beriberi in pregnancy? ›

Severe deficiency, also called beriberi, causes difficulty walking, loss of feeling in hands and feet, loss of muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs, mental confusion, speech difficulties, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath with activity.

What is beriberi answer? ›

What is Beriberi? It is a nutritional deficiency disease mainly characterized by low levels of a vitamin B-1 or thiamine in the body cells. Therefore, it is also called as the Thiamine deficiency disorder. Beriberi may be a life-threatening nutritional deficiency disease if it is left untreated.

How can you prevent B1 deficiency? ›

Symptoms can worsen with a more severe, chronic deficiency, and may include conditions like nerve damage, heart problems, and even paralysis. The best approach is to eat a variety of thiamine-containing foods or take a multivitamin to prevent a deficiency from occurring.

What is the most important vitamin while pregnant? ›

Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (also called NTDs).

What vitamins should I take during pregnancy? ›

Folic acid before and during pregnancy

It's important to take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you're pregnant and until you're 12 weeks pregnant. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, including spina bifida.

Can I take vitamin B while pregnant? ›

When it comes to nutrition for pregnant women, B vitamins, or vitamin B complex, holds particular importance. Specifically, vitamin B6, B9 (Folic acid), and B12 are known to help with pregnancy symptoms and reduce the risk of birth defects.

Can I take folic acid and B complex together? ›

No interactions were found between folic acid and Vitamin B Complex 100. However, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult your healthcare provider.

What is vitamin B complex used for pregnancy? ›

B vitamins are especially important for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. These vitamins aid in fetal brain development, and they reduce the risk of birth defects. For people who are expecting, B vitamins may help manage energy levels, ease nausea, and lower the risk of developing preeclampsia.

How much B1 is in an egg? ›

Eggs = 0.020mg of vitamin B1 per egg (50g)

What should I avoid while taking folic acid? ›

Folic acid can also affect the way other medicines work. Do not take your folic acid within 2 hours before or after taking indigestion remedies (antacids containing aluminium or magnesium), as they may stop the folic acid being properly absorbed.

Which fruit is rich in vitamin B? ›

Citrus fruits — such as oranges, clementines, and lemons — check off at least six of the eight B vitamins. They contain: Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2)

What vitamins should be avoided during pregnancy? ›

If you're pregnant, you should avoid supplements and multivitamins containing vitamin A (retinol) - as too much of it can harm your baby's development. You should also avoid liver and liver products (including fish liver oil), as they are high in vitamin A.

What is vitamin B12 for pregnancy? ›

Vitamin B12 during pregnancy is essential for your baby's developing brain and spinal cord. It also helps make healthy red blood cells and DNA. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal foods (fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy) and fortified plant foods.

How much vitamins do we need daily? ›

One shall definitely include vitamin rich sources of vitamins in his/her diet.
Complete Answer.
AMales - 900 mg, Females - 734 mgCarrots, Apples
B1.5- 2.5 mgBroccoli, Egg, milk
C65-90mgCitrus fruits
3 more rows

How do you treat beriberi naturally? ›

Beriberi is a disorder that can occur when a person has a lack of thiamine, or vitamin B-1. A severe deficiency in this nutrient can lead to lasting damage in the nervous system and heart.
Foods that naturally contain thiamine include:
  1. meat.
  2. nuts and seeds.
  3. beans and legumes.
  4. seafood.
  5. dairy products.
23 May 2019

Does eating too much rice cause beriberi? ›

Beriberi is caused by a lack of thiamine. It is common in people whose diet consists mainly of polished white rice, which contains little or no thiamine, in chronic alcoholics with impaired liver function, and is a known (though rare) potential side-effect of gastric bypass surgery.

What is beriberi in simple words? ›

: a disease marked by weakness, wasting, and damage to nerves and caused by a lack of thiamine in the diet or by an inability to absorb and use it.

Why is it called beriberi? ›

(The term beriberi is derived from the Sinhalese word meaning “extreme weakness.”) In the form known as dry beriberi, there is a gradual degeneration of the long nerves, first of the legs and then of the arms, with associated atrophy of muscle and loss of reflexes.

What kind of disease is beri beri? ›

Disease at a Glance

Beriberi is a condition that occurs in people who are deficient in thiamine (vitamin B1). There are two major types of Beriberi: wet Beriberi which affects the cardiovascular system and dry Beriberi which affects the nervous system.

What is vitamin B1 used for? ›

Vitamin B1 helps the cells in the body convert food into energy. If you do not have enough vitamin B1 this process cannot work properly. You may have symptoms such as tiredness, loss of appetite and muscle weakness. Taking man-made thiamine helps restore normal levels of vitamin B1 in your body.

Why is vitamin B1 important? ›

Thiamin (vitamin B-1) helps the body generate energy from nutrients. Also known as thiamine, thiamin is necessary for the growth, development and function of cells. Most people get enough thiamin from the food they eat.

How much vitamin B1 do you need a day? ›

How much vitamin B1 do we need? In the U.S., the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of thiamin taken by mouth is 1.2 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females over the age of 18 years. Pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age should consume 1.4 mg each day.

What happens if you don't take folic acid during pregnancy? ›

What can happen if I do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy? If you do not get enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are serious birth defects that affect the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may cause death.

What is the best folic acid to get pregnant? ›

Healthline's picks of the best fertility supplements
  • EU Natural CONCEPTION Female Fertility Prenatal.
  • FullWell Vitality + Virility.
  • Natalist Prenatal Daily Packs.
  • Garden of Life Raw CoQ10.
  • Ritual Prenatal Multivitamin.
  • Nature's Craft Fertility Booster.
  • Premama Prenatal Vitamin.
  • Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA.

When should I take folic acid morning or night? ›

5. When should I take Folic acid, morning or night? It is advised to consume Folic acid during the day, as it digests better. Metabolism and digestion slow down at night, making it difficult for the supplement to digest.

What vegetables are good for pregnancy? ›

No surprise here: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients you'll need. Even if you don't love eating them, they can often be squirreled into all kinds of dishes. Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.

What kind of medicine can I take while pregnant? ›

Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy
  • Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium carbonate (Gaviscon®)*
  • Famotidine (Pepcid AC®)
  • Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide (Maalox®)
  • Calcium carbonate/magnesium carbonate (Mylanta®)
  • Calcium carbonate (Titralac®, Tums®)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac®)
1 Jan 2018

Is Grapes good for pregnancy? ›

The nutrients in grapes can help to aid the biological changes that occur during pregnancy. They contain immune-boosting antioxidants, such as flavonol, tannin, linalool, anthocyanins, and geraniol, which also help prevent infections.

Is pineapple safe during pregnancy? ›

Pineapple is safe to eat while pregnant. But you may want to limit how much of it you eat. The most common species of pineapple in the US, the Smooth Cayenne, has a high acid content. Heartburn and acid reflux are common when pregnant, and acidic foods can make these problems worse.

Can you eat grapes while pregnant? ›

Grapes are generally fine to eat during pregnancy. They are a good source of fiber and water and they contain vitamins and antioxidants. 234 "You can safely include grapes in your diet during pregnancy by adding them to salads, mixing them into yogurts or porridge, and mixing them into a smoothie," suggests Dr. Kliman.

Is drinking vitamin C good for pregnancy? ›

During pregnancy, vitamin C is vital for both mom and baby. You need it for tissue repair and wound healing, and it helps your baby's bones and teeth develop, too. Vitamin C also aids in the body's production of collagen, helps bolster immunity and, on top of it all, improves your ability to absorb iron.

How much folic acid should I take during pregnancy? ›

CDC urges all women of reproductive age to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid each day, in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet, to help prevent some major birth defects of the baby's brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida).

Why is vitamin C important in pregnancy? ›

Not only does it boost your immune system and reduce your risk of suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia in pregnancy, Vitamin C is key to your baby's physical development too. Vitamin C: Aids in the production of collagen, which supports normal growth, healthy tissue and wound healing.

What are 3 benefits of folic acid? ›

Folic acid supplements are used for:
  • Preventing neural tube defects in babies.
  • Preventing and treating anemia.
  • Preventing side effects from taking methotrexate.
  • Treating a folate deficiency.
22 Mar 2022

What are the symptoms of folic acid deficiency? ›

Symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency
  • extreme tiredness.
  • a lack of energy.
  • pins and needles (paraesthesia)
  • a sore and red tongue.
  • mouth ulcers.
  • muscle weakness.
  • disturbed vision.
  • psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion.

What is side effect of folic acid? ›

Many people using this product do not have serious side effects. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

Can I take folic acid and vitamin B12 together? ›

Taking folic acid at high doses can hide a vitamin B12 deficiency. So these vitamins are often taken together.

Can a pregnant woman take vitamin B12 injection? ›

Vitamin B-12 injections are safe during pregnancy. A severe vitamin B-12 deficiency may have disastrous consequences in pregnancy. It may increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm birth or may cause neural tube defects in the unborn baby.

What foods should you eat if you have beriberi? ›

Dietary thiamine
  • Whole-grain foods.
  • Meat/fish/poultry/eggs.
  • Milk and milk products.
  • Vegetables (ie, green, leafy vegetables; beets; potatoes)
  • Legumes (ie, lentils, soybeans, nuts, seeds)
  • Orange and tomato juices.
8 Feb 2022

Why is it called beriberi? ›

(The term beriberi is derived from the Sinhalese word meaning “extreme weakness.”) In the form known as dry beriberi, there is a gradual degeneration of the long nerves, first of the legs and then of the arms, with associated atrophy of muscle and loss of reflexes.

What are the symptoms of low B1? ›

Early symptoms of thiamin deficiency are vague. They include fatigue, irritability, poor memory, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, abdominal discomfort, and weight loss. Eventually, a severe thiamin deficiency (beriberi) may develop, characterized by nerve, heart, and brain abnormalities.

What is the main cause of thiamine deficiency? ›

Risk factors include alcohol dependence, malabsorption, and a diet low in thiamine (e.g., based on polished rice). As there is no rapid diagnostic test for the condition, presumptive treatment should be commenced immediately if vitamin B1 deficiency is suspected.

Can I take vitamin B1 everyday? ›

The amount that should be consumed on a daily basis is called the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). For adult males, the RDA is 1.2 mg daily. For adult females 18 years of age, the RDA is 1 mg daily. For adult females 19 years and older, the RDA is 1.1 mg daily.

Which lack of food causes beriberi? ›

Beriberi is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the body. Although beriberi can occur in anyone who is poorly nourished, it is very rare in the United States due to the addition of vitamins to many of the foods we eat. The most common cause of beriberi in the United States is alcoholism.

How much vitamins do we need daily? ›

One shall definitely include vitamin rich sources of vitamins in his/her diet.
Complete Answer.
AMales - 900 mg, Females - 734 mgCarrots, Apples
B1.5- 2.5 mgBroccoli, Egg, milk
C65-90mgCitrus fruits
3 more rows

What happens in beriberi disease? ›

Disease at a Glance

There are two major types of Beriberi: wet Beriberi which affects the cardiovascular system and dry Beriberi which affects the nervous system. People with wet Beriberi may experience increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and swelling of the lower legs.

How does beriberi affect the body? ›

There are two main forms of beriberi: Wet beriberi, which mainly affects the cardiovascular system, causing poor circulation and fluid buildup in the tissues. Dry beriberi, which primarily affects the nervous system, leading to the degeneration of the nerves.

Can white rice cause beriberi? ›

Beriberi is caused by a lack of thiamine. It is common in people whose diet consists mainly of polished white rice, which contains little or no thiamine, in chronic alcoholics with impaired liver function, and is a known (though rare) potential side-effect of gastric bypass surgery.

How much B1 is in an egg? ›

Eggs = 0.020mg of vitamin B1 per egg (50g)

When is the best time to take vitamin B1? ›

Because they're water-soluble, you can take them with or without food and at any time of the day. That said, it's often recommended to take B vitamins in the morning due to their important role in nutrient metabolism and energy production. What's more, some people may benefit from taking B vitamins on an empty stomach.

What's another name for vitamin B1? ›

1. About thiamine. Thiamine, also known as thiamin or vitamin B1, is one the of B vitamins. Thiamine helps to turn food into energy to keep the nervous system healthy.

What is the best source of thiamin? ›

Food sources of thiamin include whole grains, meat, and fish [2]. Breads, cereals, and infant formulas in the United States and many other countries are fortified with thiamin [2]. The most common sources of thiamin in the U.S. diet are cereals and bread [8].

Which food is the best source of vitamin B6? ›

The richest sources of vitamin B6 include fish, beef liver and other organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (other than citrus). In the United States, adults obtain most of their dietary vitamin B6 from fortified cereals, beef, poultry, starchy vegetables, and some non-citrus fruits [1,3,5].

What is vitamin B-12 good for? ›

Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information. Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products.


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