Beriberi, also called thiamin deficiency, is usually caused by poor diet or drinking too much alcohol. Beriberi is most common in places where people eat white rice as their main food because there's not enough other foods to eat. Beriberi can be dry or wet. Dry beriberi affects the nervous system. Wet beriberi affects the heart.


People with dry beriberi might have trouble walking or lose feeling in their hands or feet. They might not be able to move their legs, called paralysis. People with wet beriberi might have a fast heartbeat, called tachycardia. In time, they can have heart failure.


Treatments include taking vitamin B-1 supplements. Eating foods that have vitamin B-1 can help. Good sources of vitamin B-1 include whole-grain cereals, meat and fish. In many countries, including the United States, vitamin B-1 is added to foods such as cereals, breads and infant formula.