| Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin in the Body
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NiacinNiacin (nicotinic acid and the amide derivative nicotinamide) is one of the water soluble B-vitamins. In the blood, brain, kidney and liver it is converted to the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), both of which are involved in the generation of energy in cells. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is a provitamin of niacin.
Fig.1 The Chemical Structure of Nicotinic Acid
3D Structure of Nicotinic Acid
Fig.2 The Chemical Structure of Nicotinamide
Fig.3 The Chemical Structure of Tryptophan
Principal Sources in FoodBoth forms of niacin are widely occurring in nature. Nicotinic acid is the predominant form in plants and nicotinamide in animals. The major dietary sources of niacin are:
Niacin in the BodyDeficiency of niacin results in a disease called Pellagra, the symptoms of which include:
Did You Know? An earlier name for niacin was PP factor (pellagra-preventative factor).
StabilityNicotinic acid and nicotinamide are both stable to light, heat, air and alkali.
SynthesisNiacin can be synthesised by the oxidation of 5-ethyl-2-methylpyridine. A method for producing nicotinamide via 3-methylpyridine uses the starting products acrolein and ammonia.