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Beriberi is caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1), which in turn causes neurological, mental, and cardiovascular problems.

Symptoms of beriberi range from mild to severe.

Mild symptoms include fatigue, irritation, slow learning and confusion, poor cold tolerance, nausea, vomiting, and whiteheads on the face or upper torso.

Severe symptoms include memory loss, heart pain, weight loss, abdominal and heart discomfort, poor digestion, gas, diarrhea, constipation, extreme fatigue, mood swings, mental confusion, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), and heart failure, and if left untreated, can even result in death.

Parasites, gastrointestinal or liver disease, food allergies, and/or severe stress can all be causes or co-factors of beriberi.

Beriberi is divided into two classifications – primary beriberi and secondary beriberi.

Primary beriberi is caused by the inadequate intake of vitamin B1 through food. It occurs most often in people who eat highly refined and processed foods. It is especially prevalent in people who subsist on polished (white) rice, as vitamin B1 is lost in the milling process that produces white rice.

Secondary beriberi is related to the loss of B1 due to poor utilization of the nutrient in the body due to such factors as liver disease, gastrointestinal problems, alcoholism and/or drug addiction, pregnancy, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), breast-feeding, fever, stress (emotional and physical), genetic predisposition, and impaired absorption, such as with diarrhea, parasites, gastrointestinal loss of friendly bacteria, damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract by drugs, alcohol, stress, parasites, food allergies, celiac disease (wheat intolerance), or other gut problems.

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Eat foods rich in thiamine and other B vitamins such as brown rice, whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, and yogurt. Drinking excessive liquids (more than one glass) with meals may wash out thiamine and other B vitamins. Also avoid raw fish.

  • Emphasize fresh, organic vegetables, such as carrots, leafy greens, onions, and orange squash, that are eaten raw or lightly steamed. You can also make fresh vegetable juices and soups, which will help your body remain in a slightly alkaline state, free of over-acidity.
  • Drink plenty of pure water during the day, and avoid mucus-forming foods such as milk and dairy products, wheat, and most grains (millet and brown rice are acceptable exceptions).
  • Eliminate all processed foods and commercial poultry and meats, choosing organic whole foods and free-range chicken, turkey, and beef
  • Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
  • Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate
  • Do not drink any carbonated beverages
  • Avoid all fast food restaurants
  • Avoid all canned food
  • Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows.  If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy
  • Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef. The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey. Check out www.grasslandbeef.com
  • Avoid all sugars and simple, refined carbohydrates, as well as alcohol and coffee and other caffeine products
  • Minimize your salt intake and use only pure sea salt, such as Real Salt. Try also Saltic Sea salt, Alaska Sea Salt, Cornish Sea Salt etc. Rotate the salts you use as they each contain different minerals

Add Fresh Juices:

  • Water melon juice made fresh – 1 to 3 6oz glasses a day
  • Celery juice made fresh – 1 to 3 6oz glasses a day

Try and include the following in your diet:

  • Brown Rice: Brown or husked rice is considered to be the best source of thiamine, and therefore it should be made part of our regular diet. Try avoiding polished or dehuskedrice as it lacks vitamin B1
  • Rice bran: This is the best of all known home remedies for beri beri. It has been practiced since long. Rice is boiled in excess of water and the water containing rice extract is drained and collected in a vessel. This water can be drank and has appropriate quantities of Vitamin B1
  • Legumes: Most of the legumes, seeds and nuts contain thiamine in there outer covering. These can be brought into use frequently if not regularly
  • Milk: Milk is a rich source of vitamins and other mineral nutrients and must be consumed on regular basis
  • Whole Grain Brown Bread: As mentioned by eMedicine, grains that contains outer layer of grains are very rich in thiamine. Feeding the individual with thiamine rich brown bread can also contribute to the vitamin content in the body
  • Alagau: Alagau is a herb found only in Phillippines has been effective in treating this thiamine deficiency disease
  • Avoid drinking after meals: Vitamin B1 being water soluble compound tends to get drained out of body if excess liquid is drunk after meals
  • Avoid Fish: Shellfish, clams, mussels, shrimps, and raw tissue of animals contains an enzyme thiaminase which causes breakdown of thiamine, and hence there consumption must be avoided in order to retain the existing vitamin B1 in the body


For cases of mild symptoms, take thiamine (30 mg a day in divided doses). For severe symptoms, take thiamine (30-100 mg per day in divided doses), along with vitamin B complex, a multivitamin and multimineral complex, and vitamin C.

In extremely severe conditions of beriberi, with symptoms such as severe cardiac and mental dysfunction, such as in cardiovascular beriberi or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (marked reduction of blood flow to the head with dramatic symptoms), B1 needs to be given by injection, 50-100 mg two times daily. See a physician immediately if you suffer from such symptoms.

Prescription and non-prescription medication:

What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking?  Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications, but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.

We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:

  • Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner
  • Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
    • Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here
    • . Find out more by clicking here
  • Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
  • Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage.  Find a practitioner here
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress.  Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
  • Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here

Learn to love yourself and stop berating yourself.  What you say to yourself is what you are or what you become.  Watch mindfulness films such as What the Bleep Do We Know www.whatthebleep.com and You Can Heal Your Life www.youcanhealyourlifemovie.com and start using powerful positive affirmations such as “I take loving care of my body” and “I am ready to change” Say the phrase over and over again until you start to believe them. Never underestimate the power of your mind.

  • Meditate and allow yourself to be still. This may be really difficult for you at first but stick with it building up your time slowly.  Often people create an eating disorder in order to fill a void, to stop them from thinking and feeling, and to give them something to focus on.  Try guided meditations to help you to relax and let go of negative programming.

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Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – Aromatherapy

Carrie Vitt [email protected] – Organic food recipes.

David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – Meditation, stress

Judith Hoad [email protected] – Herbalist.

Kath May [email protected] – Reiki, Tai Chi.

Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.

Monika [email protected] – Aromatherapy.

Rakesh  [email protected] – Ayurvedic practitioner.

Joanne Callaghan – [email protected]www.RogerCallahan.com – Thought Field Therapy (TF): releasing unresolved emotions, stress and illness.

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