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  1. Berdanier, Carolyn D. PhD


Beriberi was first described by Chinese physicians around 300 AD long before thiamine was discovered and long before medicine had advanced to the understanding of how nutrients in food were important to disease prevention. The connection between the loss in nutrient value due to the processing of specific foods had yet to be realized. As with many of our discoveries in nutrition, it took man centuries to identify the nutrient that when deficient caused beriberi. Once the initial link was made, then discoveries of how thiamine functions and how much humans need came together in rapid order.