Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

Human Health And Diseases of Class 10

Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

Vitamins can be defined as organic compounds required in minute quantities in the diet for normal metabolism, growth and good health.

Deficiency or lack of vitamins in diet for prolonged periods results in hypovitaminosis (deficiency of vitamins) or avitaminosis (lack of vitamins). Serious disorders develop on account of the above two conditions. Some of these are discussed below.

Vitamins are either fat-soluble (like vitamin A, D, E and K) or water-soluble (vitamin B complex and vitamin C).


Beri-beri is a disease caused by the deficiency of Vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 also called thiamine or anti beri-beri vitamin or antineuritic factor.

Vitamin B1 is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and hence in body growth.

The disease was first observed among Japanese sailors who were given polished rice in their diet.

During polishing or milling of rice, thiamine is readily lost. Being a water-soluble vitamin, it is further lost during washing and cooking of rice.

Thiamine loss also occurs when cereals are cooked with baking soda.


  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Retarded physical growth.
  • Oedema–swelling of legs due to water logging in the tissues, accompanied by pain in the legs.
  • Degeneration of nerves.
  • Heart troubles.
  • Disorders in disgestive tract
  • Muscle atrophy.

Prevention and Control

  • The main sources of this vitamin for Indian people are the cereal foods like rice and wheat.
  • Other good plant sources include pulses, nuts, green leafy vegetables; whole wheat bread and ‘dalia’ are the richest sources of vitamin B1.
  • Animal food sources include milk, egg yolk, liver and kidney.
  • Diet supplemented with above food items help to prevent and control the disease.
  • Polishing or milling of foods should not be done.

People should be educated to eat well balanced, mixed diets containing thiamine-rich foods.

Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

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