VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine) facilitates the flow of sodium and chloride ions across the cell membranes of nerve and muscle cells, thus facilitating nerve conduction and voluntary muscle contraction. Thiamine (together with magnesium) also plays a vital role in energy production, as well as collagen synthesis. High consumption of alcohol depletes the body of Vit B1.
The hallmark of severe thiamine deficiency is beriberi, which may lead to congestive heart failure (wet beriberi), profound mental impairment (cerebral beriberi), as well as peripheral neuropathy (dry beriberi). Early signs of the latter form are “burning feet” syndrome, abnormal/exaggerated reflexes, muscle weakness, and decreased sensation in the legs and arms. Extreme thiamine deficiency may lead to seizures.