Thiamine (vitamin B1) concentrations in a population of Australians with alcohol use disorders are remarkably elevated

Philip M Crowley and Matt D Gaughwin
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb02966.x
Published online: 7 March 2011

To the Editor: In Australia, addition of thiamine to bread flour (at 6.4 mg/kg) was made mandatory on 1 January 1991 in an effort to reduce the incidence of Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff psychosis.1 Recently, an isocratic high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for the assessment of thiamine, thiamine monophosphate and thiamine diphosphate (TDP) in human erythrocytes has been described.2 This direct method of measuring thiamine in blood is superior to measuring red blood cell transketolase.

  • Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, Adelaide, SA.


We thank the staff and clients of the Driver Assessment Clinic, Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia.

  • 1. Harper CG, Sheedy DL, Lara AI, et al. Prevalence of Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome in Australia: has thiamine fortification made a difference? Med J Aust 1998; 168: 542-545. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Mancinelli R, Ceccanti M, Guiducci MS, et al. Simultaneous liquid chromatographic assessment of thiamine, thiamine monophosphate and thiamine diphosphate in human erythrocytes: a study on alcoholics. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2003; 789: 355-363.
  • 3. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition, text revision. Washington, DC: APA, 2000.
  • 4. Chromsystems Instruments and Chemicals. Instruction manual for the HPLC analysis of vitamin B1 in whole blood. Munich: Chromsystems Instruments and Chemicals GmbH, 2008.
  • 5. Krapf FE, Bieger WP, Tiller FW. [Laboratory data book][German]. München: Urban and Shwarzenberg, 1995: 361.


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