Having trouble remembering the Vitamins? You’re not alone, since there’s a lot of names and facts that frequently come up on exams about Vitamins. In this post, I’ll share a visual mnemonic to learn every vitamin for the USMLE Step 1, COMLEX, or NBME Shelf exams. With this memory trick, you’ll be able to get the score you deserve come test day.
Visual Mnemonic for Vitamin Biochemistry
Since there’s a lot of different vitamins, I suggest chunking the information and focusing on one vitamin at a time. Watch our video below for my mnemonic for Thiamine or Vitamin B1 Biochemistry. You can view the accompanying image here.
In short, we’ve put all the information about Vitamin B1 into a single picture mnemonic. Here’s a summary of the facts for Thiamine Biochemistry we covered in the mnemonic above:
Thiamine (thighs), or Vitamin B1 (bee gun = B1), is a water-soluble vitamin that functions biologically as part of thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP = teepees). TPP is a cofactor important for dehydrogenase enzymes (hydra). In particular, TPP is an important cofactor for pyruvate dehydrogenase (pirate), α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (alpha key), and branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase (branch chain key). Besides dehydrogenase reactions, TPP also serves an important role as a cofactor for transketolase (train key).
Just remember our hero with their big thiamine thighs about to face off against our dehydrogenase hydra, and you’ll be set.
How to Remember Vitamin Deficiencies
As I mentioned above, it is easier to learn the vitamins and their deficiencies if you break the information up into smaller pieces. This follows a memory phenomenon known as chunking, which is why phone numbers are broken up (e.g. 1-800-867-5309 compared to 18008675309).
As such, we’ve separated the vitamin deficiencies into separate mnemonics. Watch the below video for our mnemonic for Thiamine or Vitamin B1 Deficiency. The interactive image for review can be found here.
Once again, here’s all the facts we’ve covered for Thiamine Deficiency above:
Thiamine Deficiency (thigh deficiency) is common in alcoholics (wine), and presents with a variety of findings. The disease process is known as beriberi (berry), for which there are two subtypes: wet beriberi and dry beriberi. Wet beriberi describes effects on the heart (wet berries above heart sign), which include dilated cardiomyopathy and high-output heart failure (HOHF). Dry beriberi describes neurological symptoms (dry berries above wire), and classic examples are Wernicke encephalopathy (worm) and Korsakoff syndrome (core). The first, Wernicke encephalopathy, describes a triad of confusion (confused driver), ataxia (taxi), and nystagmus (misaligned headlights). The latter, Korsakoff syndrome, describes the finding of confabulations, or false memories (pinocchio). Imaging of the brain will show lesions of the mamillary bodies (feeder nipple), as well as the thalamus (fowl-amus).
Picture yourself working out those deficient thighs and you’ll have thiamine deficiency under wraps.
Use Image Learning to Score Higher
So why does this all work? Well, our brain is better at remembering pictures than words. This is known as the picture superiority effect, and you can take advantage of this by using visual mnemonics to remember facts. But making images like this takes time, which is why Pixorize has already made video mnemonics for all the vitamins. This includes all the B vitamins, like Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, and Cobalamin, as well as other vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. In conclusion, visual mnemonics are a powerful asset for students seeking to strengthen their grasp of basic sciences. See the full catalog of Pixorize’s USMLE Step 1 mnemonics here.