Thiamine and phosphate esters concentrations in whole blood and serum of patients with alcohol use disorder: a relation with cognitive deficits

Nutr Neurosci. 2021 Jul;24(7):530-541. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2019.1652438. Epub 2019 Aug 16.


Background: In this study, we investigated (1) the effect of chronic and excessive alcohol consumption on whole blood (WB) and serum concentrations of thiamine and its metabolites after supplementation, and (2) the relationship between the perturbations of thiamine metabolism and neuropsychological abilities.Methods: WB and serum samples were collected in patients with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and in healthy control subjects (after oral thiamine supplementation, or without supplementation). Thiamine (Th), thiamine monophosphate (TMP) and thiamine diphosphate (TDP) were quantified. The Brief Evaluation of Alcohol-Related Neuropsychological Impairments (BEARNI) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were performed by each AUD participant. Based on the BEARNI score, two groups of AUD patients were studied: AUD patients with no or mild cognitive impairment (AUD COG+), and AUD patients with moderate-to-severe cognitive impairment (AUD COG-).Results: In WB, Th concentrations were significantly higher, and percentages of phosphate esters of thiamine were significantly lower in AUD COG- patients compared to controls. In serum, Th concentrations were significantly higher in AUD COG- patients compared to controls. The percentage of Th in serum was significantly higher in AUD COG- patients compared to AUD COG+ patients, and to the groups of controls. When adjusted on education level, the percentage of Th in serum in AUD patients negatively correlated with the scores at BEARNI and MoCA, and Th concentration in serum negatively correlated with MoCA.Conclusions: These data support an impairment of metabolism and/or distribution of thiamine in AUD patients, and a relationship with the development of alcohol-related cognitive deficits.

Keywords: Thiamine; alcohol; alcohol use disorder; brief evaluation of alcohol-related neuropsychological impairment; cognition; montreal cognitive assessment; neuropsychological tests; vitamin B1.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / blood*
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood*
  • Esters / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Phosphates / blood*
  • Thiamine / blood*


  • Esters
  • Phosphates
  • Thiamine