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March 1941


Author Affiliations


Arch Ophthalmol. 1941;25(3):450-468. doi:10.1001/archopht.1941.00870090074008

The vitamin B complex is a group of water-soluble substances necessary in minute quantities for health and growth in man and in other animals. Some of these substances have been identified chemically ; the existence of others is predicated on disease in laboratory animals fed deficient diets. At present the following components have been identified or are presumed to exist:

Thiamine (or vitamin B1) is the antineuritic and beriberi-preventing vitamin. It acts as a catalyst in the combustion of carbohydrate, which in its absence is arrested at the pyruvic acid stage, the metabolite having a toxic effect on nerve tissue. Thiamine deficiency in man causes a noninflammatory peripheral neuritis and paralyses, but not nerve degeneration. The neuritis is most apt to occur in the presence of noxious substances, such as alcohol, an elevated concentration of blood sugar or the toxins associated with toxemia of pregnancy. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including hypermotility, hypomotility

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