Thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP), synthesized from free vitamin B1 (thiamin), requiring magnesium, acts as coenzyme for a small number of very important enzymes (e.g., pyruvate dehydrogenase). Each comprises a different enzyme complex, located in the mitochondria, metabolizing products that play critical roles in the production of energy from food (1). The coenzyme ‘transketolase’ catalyzes critical reactions in the synthesis of high-energy metabolites (e.g., ATP) and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) (2, 3).
Because transketolase decreases early in thiamin deficiency, measurement of its activity in red blood cells has been used to assess thiamin nutritional status (1).
Certain non-coenzyme functions of thiamin are important for nerve tissues and muscles: thiamin pyrophosphate plays a role in the conduction of nerve impulses in the metabolism of neurotransmitters.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of vitamin B1 in contributing to:
Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed by Giorgio La Fata on 06.06.2017