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Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 May;58(2):427-33.

Optimum nutrition: thiamin, biotin and pantothenate.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, UK.


The metabolism of glucose is deranged in thiamin deficiency, but once any deficiency has been corrected there is no further effect of increased thiamin intake on the ability to metabolize glucose through either pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC and the citric acid cycle, or the pentose phosphate pathway, in which transketolase (EC is the thiamin-dependent step. It has been suggested that the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is associated with a genetic variant of transketolase which requires a higher than normal concentration of thiamin diphosphate for activity. This finding would suggest that there may be a group of the population who have a higher than average requirement for thiamin, but the evidence is not convincing. There are no estimates of biotin requirements, but either coenzyme saturation of erythrocyte pyruvate carboxylase, or the excretion of 3-hydroxy-isovalerate (perhaps after a test dose of leucine) could be used to assess requirements in depletion-repletion studies. Biotin deficiency leads to impaired glucose tolerance, but it is unlikely that glucose tolerance could be used to assess optimum biotin status, since other more common factors affect glucose tolerance to a greater extent. Plasma triacylglycerol and nonesterified fatty acids are moderately elevated in pantothenic acid deficiency. However, this is unlikely to be useful in assessing pantothenate status, since again, other more common factors affect plasma lipids. To date there are no biochemical indices of adequate pantothenate nutrition, and no estimates of requirements.

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