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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) was one of the first B vitamins to be discovered. A severe deficiency in thiamine results in a condition known as beriberi which is characterised by a severe loss of appetite, muscle pain and psychosis along with a range of other life threatening symptoms.  A Japanese naval doctor first reported that beriberi could be reduced in sailors by giving them additional meat. The Dutch physician Christaan Eijkman’s experiments in the 1890’s began to clarify the role of diet in the development of beriberi. It is interesting to note that up to 97% of Thiamine is lost when bran and germ are removed from wheat. Vitamin B1 can be found in sunflower seeds, peanuts and soybeans. Thiamine can be depleted by alcohol and sulphites and is destroyed by antithiamine factor in uncooked freshwater fish and shellfish.

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