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Eur J Med Res. 2013 Sep 23;18:32. doi: 10.1186/2047-783X-18-32.

Thiamine and its phosphate esters in relation to cardiometabolic risk factors in Saudi Arabs.

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Biomarkers Research Program, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Thiamine deficiency has suggested to be linked to several insulin-resistance complications. In this study, we aim to associate circulating thiamine levels among cardiometabolic parameters in an Arab cohort using a simple, sensitive, rapid and selective high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method that has recently been developed.


A total of 236 randomly selected, consenting Saudi adult participants (166 males and 70 females) were recruited and screened for the presence of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) using the modified National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III definition. Blood thiamine and its derivatives were quantified using HPLC.


A total of 140 participants (53.9%) had MetS. The levels of thiamine and its derivatives of those with MetS were not significantly different from those without. However, hypertensive subjects had significantly higher urinary thiamine (P = 0.03) as well as significantly lower levels of thiamine diphosphate (TDP) (P = 0.01) and total thiamine (P = 0.02) than the normotensive subjects, even after adjusting for age and body mass index (BMI). Furthermore, age- and BMI-matched participants with elevated blood glucose levels had significantly lower levels of thiamine monophosphate (P = 0.020), TDP (P < 0.001) and total thiamine (P < 0.001) and significantly elevated levels of urinary thiamine (P = 0.005) compared to normoglycemic participants.


Low thiamine levels are associated with elevated blood glucose and hypertension in Saudi adults. Determination of thiamine status may be considered and corrected among patients with, or at high risk for, MetS, but the question whether thiamine deficiency correction translates to improved cardiometabolic status needs further longitudinal investigation.

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