Vitamin B3 - niacin

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Occurrence and structure

niacin is found mainly in fish and coffee beans. It is interesting that a modified form of niacin can be produced from the essential amino acid tryptophan (which essentially means that the body cannot produce it itself and has to take it in with food), albeit in too small quantities so that it can be supplied from outside is necessary.
Niacin is a synonym for nicotinic acid. It contains one Pyridine ring (contains one nitrogen atom) to which a short side chain is attached.
Furthermore is Vitamin B3 contained in: Poultry, fish, mushrooms, eggs, liver, whole grain products, peanuts, dates, wheat bran


niacin could be a relative of Riboflavin to be discribed. It is just like that part of electron carriers, albeit different. Namely NAD+ and NADP+. The same applies here that these can absorb electrons. In this case only 1 proton (H +) and two Electrons (e-) what a Hydride ion (H-) corresponds to. So it applies analogously to FAD: NAD+ à NADH. This means that too NAD and NADP in a variety of dehydration reactions (Oxidations) are involved, with NAD cofactor of catabolic (i.e. degrading) reactions, such as beta-oxidation (Fatty acid breakdown) is while NADP Is a cofactor of anabolic (anabolic) reactions. Most well-known metabolic pathway on that NADP contributes and to NADPH is reduced, is the - already mentioned - pentose phosphate route.

Deficiency symptoms

With a pronounced lack of niacin Pellagra occurs. It is characterized by the triad of symptoms dermatitis (Inflammation of the skin), Diarrhea (diarrhea) and dementia. In the case of a slight deficiency, symptoms such as insomnia, Loss of appetite and dizziness.

Overview of vitamins

Water-soluble (hydrophilic) vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1 - thiamine
  • Vitamin B2 - riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 - niacin
  • Vitamin B5 - pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin B6 - pyridoxal / pyridoxine / pyridoxamine
  • Vitamin B7 - biotin
  • Vitamin B9 - folic acid
  • Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin

Fat-soluble (hydrophobic) vitamins:

  • Vitamin A - retinol
  • Vitamin C - ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin D - calcitriol
  • Vitamin E - tocopherol
  • Vitamin K - phylloquinone / menaquinone