Dr.Abhay Kumar Pati, Author, Best Nutrition Inc USA,,,


Niacin comes in two forms, an acid (nicotinic acid) and an amide (nicotinamide), neither of which has anything in common with nicotine. Niacin was also referred to as “PP” because it prevented pellagra, a niacin-deficiency disease whose symptoms include diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia. In common with other B vitamins, niacin is water-soluble. In addition to preformed niacin occurring in foods, niacin may also be made in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Sixty molecules of tryptophan are required to make one molecule of niacin.

The acid form, nicotinic acid, plays an important role in the nervous system and circulation. The amide form, nicotinamide, processes carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the production of energy.

These include diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia as seen in pellagra, as well as nervousness.

  • improved mobility in arthritis sufferers
  • some cases of schizophrenia and alcoholism (megadose supplementation must be under strict medical supervision)
  • high blood cholesterol (again, megadose supplementation must be under strict medical supervision)


  • schizophrenics
  • alcoholics


Age Niacin/Vitamin B3 (mg/day)
0-6 months 5
6-12 months 6
1-3 years 9
4-6 years 12
7-10 years 13
11-14 years (males) 17
15-18 years (males) 20
19-24 years (males) 19
25-50 years (males) 19
51+ years (males) 15
11-14 years (female) 15
15-18 years (females) 15
19-24 years (females) 15
25-50 years (females) 15
51+ years (females) 13
Pregnancy 17
Lactation, 0-6 months 20
Lactation, 6-12 months 20



Food (mg/100g) Niacin Tryptophan Niacin equivalent*
coffee, instant 24.8 186 27.9
chicken 5.9 221 9.6
beef 4.2 258 8.5
pork chop 4.2 180 7.2
cheese, cheddar 0.1 367 6.2
fish, white 2.9 189 6.0
mung beans, dry 2.0 210 5.5
eggs 0.1 217 3.7
peas, frozen 1.6 58 2.6
bread, whole-meal 4.1** 108 1.8
potatoes 0.6 52 1.5

* The niacin equivalent is the niacin plus the tryptophan contribution in each food source.
** The niacin in whole-meal bread is unavailable to the body; the niacin equivalent figure comes from the tryptophan contribution.

Nicotinic acid can cause facial flushing if taken in large doses. The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association therefore recommends the maximum dosage should be 100 mg in an immediate release form and that timed-release nicotinic acid should not be available.  Nicotinamide is considered safe up to 2,000 mg/day.
Niacin works with the other B-complex vitamins, but may be taken separately as part of a nutritional therapeutic program. If taken individually, it should be combined with thiamin and pyridoxine to ensure nervous stability and the conversion of L-tryptophan to nicotinic acid. People suffering from diabetes, gout, stomach ulcers and liver problems should not take nicotinic acid.

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