Friday, 2 November 2018

Meaning, Functions, Effects and Sources of Vitamin B3 Niacin

Our body requires nutrients in various amounts.The amount of nutrients is different in different foods.By consuming different food products in right proportion, we get proper nutrition and good health.So the detailed knowledge of nutrients is very important. So in this we are going to talk about Meaning, Functions, Effects and Sources of Vitamin B3 Niacin.

Meaning, Functions, Effects and Sources of Vitamin B3 Niacin


Niacin is also known as Nicotinic acid or Nicotinamide. It is white in colour, soluble in water, needle like crystalline substance. It is stable to acids, alkali, heat, light and oxidation but unstable to reduction. It is also not destroyed by normal cooking methods.
Daily intake of niacin in diet is necessary as very less amount of it can be stored in the body. Essential amino acid Tryptophan is the precursor of niacin. 60 gm Tryptophan synthesises I gm niacin in the body. 
(60 gm tryptophan 1 gm Niacin).

Functions of Niacin

Following are the funtions of Niacin are as fallow:

(a) Helps in energy metabolism

Niacin helps in carbohydrates, protein and fats metabolism and energy released by these nutrients is made available to the body.

(b) Acts as co-enzyme

Niacin is an important part of two co-enzymes NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinuclcotide) and NADP (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotid Phosphate). These co-enzymes are present in cytoplasm and mitochondria in the cell and are necessary for oxidation of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. 

(c) Safeguard against pellagra 

Niacin protects the body from pellagra and is required for skin, digestive system and nervous system. 

Effect of deficiency of Niacin 

Primary deficiency of niacin leads to headache, body ache, loss of appetite, loss of weight, mouth ulcers, etc. If deficiency of nincin prolongs, symptoms of pellagra starts appearing. It is also known as disease of 3 Ds because its major symptoms start with English alphabet D.

(a) Dermatitis (Effect on skin) 
(b) Diarrhoea (Effect on Digestive system) (c) Dementia (Effect on nervous system) 

(a) Dermatitis

  • Symptoms of dermatitis mainly appears on the parts of skin which are exposed to sunlight like hands, feet, face, arms, neck, ete. 
  • There is itching and burning sensation in the skin. 
  • It becomes red, swollen and cracked.
  • If deficiency of niacin continues, skin becomes dry, scaly, rough and thick. 

(b) Diarrhoea 

  • There is stomach ache and loss of appetite.
  • There is swelling and ulcer in the mouth and tongue.
  • Palpitation, vomiting, and loose motions start. 
  • Diarrhoea is profuse and watery and sometimes with blood and mucous the stools.
  • Hydrochloric acid is reduced in the stomach.
  • Food is not digested which leads to anaemia.

(c) Dementia 

  • Central nervous system is affected 
  • Memory loss is there . 
  • Leads to anxiety, depression and irritability.
  • Muscular co-ordination is lost which may lead to paralysis.
  • Prolonged illness may cause death. 


Dry yeast, peanuts, liver, sprouted cereals and pulses are best sources of niacin. Milk and milk products are deficient in niacin but rich in Tryptophan which is precursor of niacim. 

Recommended allowances 

Requirement of niacin depends on calorie requirement of a person. About 6.6mgm/ 1000 calories are recommended.

So these are the Meaning, Functions, Effects and Sources of Vitamin B3 Niacin.

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