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DRI Dietary Reference Intakes: For Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline
beriberi, muscle wasting is obvious. In infants, cardiac failure may occur rather suddenly (McCormick and Greene, 1994). Severe thiamin deficiency in industrialized countries is likely to be related to heavy alcohol consumption with limited food consumption, as was noted for at least four of five Welsh cases reported by Anderson and colleagues (1985). In those cases renal and cardiovascular complications were life threatening.
SELECTION OF INDICATORS FOR ESTIMATING THE REQUIREMENT FOR THIAMIN
Biochemical changes in thiamin status occur well before the appearance of overt signs of deficiency. Thiamin status can be assessed by determining erythrocyte transketolase activity, by measuring the concentration of thiamin and its phosphorylated esters in blood or serum components using high-performance liquid chromatography, or by measuring urinary thiamin excretion under basal conditions or after thiamin loading. Commonly used reference values indicating marginal deficiency for these indicators are given in Table 4-1. Other methods have also been reported and are covered briefly below.
No currently available indicator, by itself, provides an adequate basis on which to estimate the thiamin requirement.
Urinary Thiamin Excretion
The urinary excretion of thiamin is the indicator that has been used most widely in metabolic studies of thiamin requirements and
TABLE 4-1 Reference Values for the Primary Measures of Thiamin Status