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A member of the B vitamins that is used in the production of fatty acids, steroids and cholesterol, and present in meat, fish, eggs, many vegetables, mushrooms, and tree nuts


Niacin or vitamin B3 belongs to B vitamins group. B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins, which mean they are soluble in water. They are rather readily eliminated from the body than fat-soluble vitamins. Other B vitamins include vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), and vitamin B12 (cobalamins). Niacin is different from the other B vitamins in its composition. It is made up of two structures: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Niacin acts as co-enzyme and occurs as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), which are involved in the energy transfer reactions in the metabolism of glucose, fat and alcohol.1 The recommended dietary Allowance (RDA) for niacin is 16 mg/day for adult males and 14 mg/day for adult females.2 Meat, fish, eggs, many vegetables, mushrooms, tree nuts, etc. are high in nicin.

Deficiency in niacin causes pellagra, which is characterized by diarrhea, dermatitis, and mental disturbance.

IUPAC name: pyridine-3-carboxylic acid

Chemical formula: C6NH5O2

Also called:

  • vitamin B3
  • nicotinic acid
  • bionic

See also:

Related term(s):

1 Whitney, N; Rolfes, S Crowe, T Cameron-Smith, D Walsh, A (2011).Understanding Nutrition. Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
2 Bellows, L. and Moore, R. (2012). Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C. Retrieved from [[1]]