Vitamin B3 Benefits

vitamin b3

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin is the generic term for nicotinic acid and its amide derivative nicotinamide that also exhibits nutritional activity of nicotinic acid and to which nicotinic acid is converted. Nicotinic acid is a vasodilator and produced flushing which is accompanied by sensation of itching and burning. When given in large doses, this vitamin produces lower plasma cholesterol and is sometimes used for this purpose although it may cause peptic ulcer disease. Nicotinamide does not posses these properties and is heat stable. These compounds are excreted in the urine.

Sources

  • Animal sources: Kidney and liver are the richest sources of this vitamin along with meat, fish, egg, milk, tea, and coffee.
  • Plant sources:  these include whole wheat, dried legumes, unpolished rice, peanuts, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.

In the body niacin can be derived from tryptophan 60 mg of tryptophan provides 1 mg of this vitamin B2. In many cereals such as maize especially, niacin occur in bound form which is unavailable to the consumer.

Functions

  • Niacin is an important vitamin for the metabolism of nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats as well as protein.
  • Vitamin B3 is necessary for the performance of normal functions of the skin, intestine and the nervous system.
  • This vitamin differs from its other B group vitamin in that an essential amino acid, the tryptophan serves as a precursor.
  • Another feature of niacin is that it is not excreted via the urine as such but it is metabolized to at least two major methylated derivatives which are
  • N-methyl-nicotinamide
  • N-methyl pyridines.    
  • Nicotinamide is the part of structure of the two important coenzymes NAD+ and NADP+ which play important role in biological oxidation.

Deficiency

Vitamin B3 deficiency results in pellagra in human. This disease is characterized by 3D’s namely diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia; the fourth D signifying death should also be kept in mind as severe from of this disease may prove fatal. It is endemic in those areas where maize is the main diet and intake of good quality protein is low. This disease is mostly found in women of child bearing age and in growing children.

Following body organ system are affected due to pellagra.

Skin

There is dermatitis, pigmentation and thickening of the skin. Skin lesions are symmetric and tend to be localized over exposed areas due to photosensitivity. Pigmentation is specially marked over malar and supraorbital regions. An erythematous eruption resembling sunburn first appears on the back of the hands followed by other regions exposed to the sunlight.

Digestive System

There is inflammation and smooth atrophy of the mucosa of the tongue and mouth showing fissures along with stomatitis, glossitis, and pain on swallowing, anorexia, diarrhea and proctitis are observed.

Nervous system

This system is involved lately. There occurs myelin degeneration in various regions of the spinal cord and cerebrum which leads to parenthesis and anesthesia. Mental disorders such as general nervousness, confusion, depression, insomnia, delusions, hallucinations and dementia are seen and these symptoms are may be due to a decreased formation of serotonin from tryptophan. Pellagra is the most serious deficiency disease met with in the United States.

Surplus

Large doses of niacin have been found to result in effects produced by histamine released in large amount such as flushing, pruritus, aggravation of asthma and gut disturbances. Acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition may also occur. It may lead to even hyperuricemia, hyperglycemia and hepatic toxicity.

Requirement

The daily requirement of this vitamin is 6.6 mg/1000Kcal of energy intake.

Related posts:

Vitamin D Benefits
There are two nutritionally important forms of Vitamin D in man, namely Calciferol/Ergocalciferol (vitamin D2):  It is...
Vitamin F Benefits
Vitamin F or Fatty Acids are the acids occurring in natural triglycerides and are monocaroboxylc acids ranging in chain length from 4 to usually 24 ...
Inositol Benefits
Inositol vitamin is a hexahydroxy cyclohexane. Of the nine possible isomers only the optically inactive isomer namely myo-inositol is the biological...
Vitamin L2 Benefits
Vitamin L2 having a Chemical name Adenyl Thiomethylpentose is not so essential vitamin of the body. It is now reclassifies as being the RNA metaboli...
Vitamin PABA Benefits
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is the vitamin which is commonly known as the sunscreen vitamin. It is not protein but is found to be the part of vita...
Vitamin T Benefits
Vitamin T is a substance which is considered as a vitamin but still it doesn't meet the standard definition for the vitamin. Its chemical names are ...