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Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)

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Why is Niacin important to your health?

Niacin or Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin plays. It is a powerful antioxidant, which protects the liver from free radical damage. It helps to regulate blood glucose levels, and lower LDL cholesterol. It can be used to help treat circulatory disorders by improving blood flow to the skin, heart and brain.

Physiological Functions

Niacin is an essential vitamin that supports energy metabolism and reactions involving biosynthesis and degradation as part of the pyridine nucleotide coenzymes, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). The levels of oxidized and reduced forms of these coenzymes establish the redox potential in cells that regulates metabolic activities involving mitochondrial electron transport and numerous enzyme reactions.

High doses of niacin are also used as a pharmacological agent in blood lipid-lowering therapy.

Factors Affecting Availability

Because niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, significant amounts can be lost if large volumes of liquids are used in preparation and cooking of food sources. As with other B vitamins, niacin is lost in the milling of grains. To compensate for these losses, white flour and rice are enriched with the vitamin.

Niacin can be obtained from consumption of food sources or from biosynthesis with the amino acid tryptophan as a precursor. Approximately 60 mg tryptophan are required for synthesis of 1 mg of niacin. Niacin biosynthesis from tryptophan is dependent on availability of vitamin B6 and riboflavin.


Clinical evidence of niacin deficiency includes fatigue, poor appetite, diarrhea, irritability, headache, emotional instability and possible memory loss. Pellagra is the clinical manifestation of advanced niacin deficiency that is characterized by dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. Niacin deficiency rarely occurs without accompanying riboflavin deficiency. Pyridoxine deficiency may also be present.


Niacin toxicity is rarely observed at doses generally consumed. Administration of pharmacological doses of nicotinic acid (1-2 g three times a day) is used in treatment of high blood cholesterol. At this level of intake, histamine release may be triggered resulting in flushing of the skin which can be harmful to patients with asthma or peptic ulcer disease. Niacin also promotes hepatic toxicity when consumed at high doses found in some supplements.

The upper limit of safety for niacin established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine is 35 mg daily for adults.

Dietary Sources

Niacin is obtained from, liver, meat, peanuts and other nuts, and whole grains. In general, foods rich in protein, with exception of tryptophan-poor grains, can satisfy some of the demand for niacin. 

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Dietary supplements are not to be used to prevent or treat any disease. The Statements on this web page have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any information provided on this website is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individuals are advised not to self-medicate in the presence of significant illness. Ingredients in supplements are not drugs and may not be foods.
CELLFOOD DNA/RNA contains Niacin among other things and is marketed internationally by J. Wood & Associates.  To order CELLFOOD DNA/RNA for your store please call 405-285-7052 or email us at

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