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Niacin: occurrence, function and more



Niacin is one of the water-soluble vitamins and is present in many, but especially animal foods. Especially in the liver, but also abundant in lean meat and fish, but less so in milk, dairy products or eggs. However, since our body can manufacture niacin also from the protein building block tryptophan, eggs and dairy products are also good sources, ultimately, to meet the demand. The plant foods can be found particularly in niacin nuts and mushrooms. Even bread and potatoes are important niacin, although the vitamin is less readily available in plant foods than animal.


Niacin plays a critical role in energy metabolism by controlling the conversion and breakdown of carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids. In addition, it is responsible for the smooth development and restructuring of our genetic material.

Recommended supply

The Europe Nutrition Society just with your recommendation in mg equivalents, as niacin both occur directly as a substance, or can be made on the inclusion of tryptophan in the body (1 mg niacin or 60 g of tryptophan are 1 mg equivalent). The Society recommends 13 mg-equivalents for children (10-13 years) 15, for 14-18 years and 18 adults between 15 and 17 and 65 years. These details refer to the male sex. For the female gender from 10 years the recommended values ​​are about 13 mg equivalents. An additional requirement is present in 15-18 year-old girls and pregnant women (15 mg-equivalents) as well as in nursing (17 mg-equivalents).

Symptoms of deficiency

A niacin deficiency is virtually impossible at a reasonably normal diet and normal health. It is possible, however, a deficiency in alcoholics, in disorders of tryptophan metabolism or chronic diarrhea. The situation is different in countries with generally poor coverage and high corn or millet consumption. So is sufficient niacin as often very problematic in African refugee camps. Typical deficiency disease is pellagra, which is reflected in the skin and mucous changes to fatigue, confusion and depression. If the deficiencies are not remedied in good time, threatening acute danger to life.

Features and facts

Too much niacin can also cause serious damage, such as vasodilation, inflammation of the stomach or liver cell damage. About the diet is an “overdose” but can not be achieved in high-dose preparations, but caution is advised. Recommends not to exceed the daily dose of 35 mg niacin in the form of preparations without consulting a doctor.

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