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News2007August › Diabetes: A B1 deficiency may make it a killer › August 2007

Diabetes: A B1 deficiency may make it a killer

Diabetes can be a killer, causing heart and vascular problems - and now scientists think they know why

Diabetes can be a killer, causing heart and vascular problems - and now scientists think they know why. Diabetics are likely to be deficient in thiamine (vitamin B1), and it is this that makes diabetes - both types I and II - such a serious condition.

Researchers from Warwick University have found that diabetics have a 75 per cent deficiency of thiamine in their blood plasma, a lack that has been missed by the standard blood test.

It's not that diabetics are taking any less B1 in their diet than healthy individuals, it's more to do with the fact that their diabetes is rapidly moving the thiamine from the blood and into the urine.

Low thiamine levels can cause problems in endothelial cells, which line the body's entire circulatory system, and which can lead to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, or chronic inflammation of the artery walls.

(Source: Diabetologia, 2007; available online: doi: s00125-007-0771-4).

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