Detailansicht für den Begriff

Name des Begriffes: Niacin

Short introduction

  • Niacin (or vitamin B3) is a water-soluble vitamin of the B-complex and refers to nicotinic acid and nicotinamide.
  • The names are similar but none of the forms are related to the nicotine found in tobacco.
  • Dietary tryptophan (amino acid) can be converted to niacin (nicotinic acid).

Main natural sources

  • Found naturally in: liver, chicken, beef, fish (salmon, tuna), seeds, peanuts.
  • Also synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan (found in protein in e.g.: poultry, red meat, eggs, dairy products).

Main function

  • Component of coenzymes (helper enzymes) that are necessary for energy-producing reactions and synthesis of all macromolecules.
  • Substrate for enzymes involved in e.g.: cell signalling (e.g. coordinating cell activities), DNA (genetic material) repair and cellular stress responses (the changes that cells undergo as an adaptive purpose of protecting the cell against environmental conditions).
  • As such, niacin contributes to energy production, proper functioning of the nervous system, normal skin and mucous membranes, proper psychological functions, reduction of tiredness.

Deficiency disease

  • Symptoms of a mild deficiency: indigestion, fatigue, headaches and poor concentration.
  • The late stage of severe niacin deficiency is known as pellagra, described by the three Ds: diarrhoea, dermatitis and dementia.
  • Niacin deficiency has a link with vitamin B2 and B6 insufficiency.
  • At risk: patients with Hartnup disease (defective tryptophan absorption), alcoholics.

Recommended daily intake

Latest Dietary Reference Intakes  (DRIs)
Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Age categorayPer day
Pregnancy
Lactation
18 mg (RDA)
17 mg (RDA)
Infants 6 – 12 months4 mg (AI)
Children
 1 – 3 years
 4 – 8 years
6 mg (RDA)
8 mg (RDA)
Males
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
12 mg (RDA)
16 mg (RDA)
16 mg (RDA)
16 mg (RDA)
16 mg (RDA)
16 mg (RDA))
Females
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
12 mg (RDA)
14 mg (RDA)
14 mg (RDA)
14 mg (RDA)
14 mg (RDA)
14 mg (RDA)

 

As niacin equivalents (NE).
AI = Adequate Intake.
RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance.

Synonyme: B3, Vitamin B3, Niacin, Nicotinic acid, Nicotinamide

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