Dictionary > Niacin


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:

  • vitamin
  • B vitamins
  • Related term(s):

    • Niacin deficiency
    • Niacin test


    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 ://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/FOODNUT/09312.html

    You will also like...

    Freshwater aquatic plankton
    Freshwater Communities & Plankton

    Planktons are microscopic organisms that live suspended in aquatic habitats. There are two groups: the phytoplanktons an..

    Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

    Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

    Gene Pool and Speciation
    The Gene Pool and Population Genetics

    According to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, preferable genes are favored by nature in the gene pool, and ..

    Ecological Research Measuring & Analysis
    Ecological Research: Measuring & Analysis

    This lesson is about the methods used for ecological research, such as quadrat and transect sampling, canopy fogging, an..

    genes controlling growth and development
    Control of Growth & Development

    Control of Growth & Development tutorials look at how the genetic makeup determines the biological processes on a da..

    Chemical effects on plant growth and development
    Effect of Chemicals on Growth & Development in Organisms

    Plants and animals need elements, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium for proper growth and developme..