Thiamine or vitamin B1 is one of the important B vitamins. Thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) works as a co-enzyme and it plays an important role in tissue respiration and generation of energy. Read on to know more about the structure and functions of TPP…
Thiamine pyrophosphate is a vitamin B1 derivative that is required for carbohydrate metabolism and release of energy. Human body synthesizes Thiamin Pyrophosphate (TPP) with the help of bacteria in the large intestine. TPP (or thiamine diphosphate/TDP), which is present in red blood cells, is a biochemical compound which takes part in the enzymatic reactions in the body and performs several important functions related to cell metabolism and glucose oxidation. TPP is produced by the enzyme thiamine pyrophosphatase.
Thiamine Pyrophosphate Functions
The molecular formula of TPP is C12H19N4O7P2S and the molecular weight of TPP is 425.316 g/mole. TPP structure can be described in simple words. One molecule of TPP contains thiamine and 2 phosphates or pyrophosphate. TPP is involved in several biochemical reactions in the body. It is essential for production of energy and also for the proper functioning of the heart and the nervous system. It plays an important role in muscle coordination. Thiamine deficiency can lead to various health complications including memory loss, depression, digestive system problems, etc.
Thiamine Deficiency Symptoms
Dairy products, fruits and vegetables do not provide the required quantity of thiamine, unless you consume them in large amounts. Fortified breads, cereals, pasta, whole grains (especially wheat germ), lean meats (especially pork), poultry, egg yolk, liver, fish, dried beans, peas, nuts and soybeans are listed under thiamine rich foods. Following a diet that is lacking in thiamine rich foods is one of the main causes of thiamine deficiency. Thiamine being a water-soluble vitamin is not stored in your body and so you need to include foods high in thiamine in your diet regularly. Alcohol abuse, malnutrition, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, kidney problems, liver diseases, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, lactation and fever can lead to a thiamine deficiency. Aging can also cause thiamine deficiency in adults. A chronic deficiency of vitamin B1 can result in certain serious health problems like beriberi which in turn can affect the heart as well as the nervous system. Severe deficiency can damage the brain.
The symptoms of thiamine deficiency include:
- Increased irritability
- Digestive problems like constipation, indigestion, etc.
- Emotional disturbances, mood swings, depression
- Heart diseases
- Korsakoff’s syndrome leading to memory loss
- Multi system complications
- Loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal pain
- Poor concentration
- Excessive fatigue
- Peripheral neuropathy (damaged peripheral nerves)
- Muscle weakness, especially in legs
- Numbness or tingling/burning sensation in legs
- Reflex deterioration
- Affected vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Breathing difficulty, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, profuse sweating when the cardiovascular system is damaged.
- Thiamine deficiency can lead to Wernicke’s encephalopathy which in turn may lead to memory loss, learning problems, vision problems, finally resulting in dementia.
Need for thiamine may vary from person to person. Those who are very active, those who carry out muscular activity and those who consume large amounts of carbohydrates, need to include thiamine rich foods in their regular diet. Mild deficiencies can be reversed by including more thiamine-rich food in the diet and taking vitamin B supplements. Intravenous administration of thiamine is essential in case of severe deficiency. Physical symptoms help detect vitamin deficiencies. Diagnostic procedures such as blood tests and urine tests help confirm the diagnosis of thiamine deficiency.
The recommended dietary intake of thiamine for adults is 1.5 mg per day which can easily be fulfilled through healthy diet. Polished rice and other highly processed cereal products do not contain thiamine. Doctors generally prescribe thiamine pyrophosphate to treat thiamine deficiency. Pork, yeast sources and whole grains are the best sources of thiamine. Following a healthy diet is the best way of avoiding vitamin deficiencies.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.