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Niacin

Niacin

Description

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, is important for the normal function of many bodily processes. Like other B vitamins, it is water-soluble and plays a role in turning food into energy, as well as in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Niacin can also act as an antioxidant within cells, which means it can destroy cell-dam-aging free radicals. In conjunction with riboflavin and pyridoxine , it helps to keep the skin, intestinal tract and nervous system functioning smoothly.

General use

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of niacin for infants under six months is 5 mg. Babies from six months to one year of age require 6 mg. Children need 9 mg at one to three years of age, 12 mg at four to six years, and 13 mg at seven to 10 years. Women need 15 mg from 11-50 years, and 13 mg thereafter. Somewhat more is required for pregnancy (17 mg) and lactation (20 mg). Men require 17 mg from 11-14 years of age, 20 mg from 15-18 years, 19 mg from 19-50 years, and 15 mg at 51 years and older.

Niacin in the form of nicotinic acid can be taken in very large doses to decrease blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack . Niacin is an important part of the treatment of familial hyperlipidemia, an inherited disorder characterized by high blood cholesterol levels and increased risk of heart disorders. The amount of niacin required is between 2 and 3 g per day. Although treatment with niacin is considered the best strategy for normalizing blood cholesterol levels as of 2002, it should not be undertaken without professional medical advice and supervision. Niacin has been singled out as a dietary supplement for which people frequently exceed the upper limits of safe intake. One Canadian study found that 47% of adults who were taking dietary supplements were taking niacin above recommended levels.

Certain conditions preclude the use of high doses of niacin. These disorders include gout , diabetes, peptic ulcer, liver or kidney disease, and high blood pressure requiring medication. Even in the absence of these conditions, a patient on high doses of niacin should be closely monitored to be sure the therapy is both effective and without complications. A frequent side effect of this therapy is extreme flushing of the face and neck. It is harmless, but can be unpleasant. An alternative form of nicotinic acid that does not cause flushing is inositol hexaniacinate. "Slow release" niacin also causes less flushing, but should not be taken as there is higher risk of liver inflammation.

There is some evidence that niacinamide used on a long-term basis can prevent the onset of juvenile diabetes in many susceptible children. Those who have been newly diagnosed with juvenile diabetes may also benefit by extending the time that the pancreas continues to produce a small amount of insulin. The advice of a health care provider should be sought for these uses.

Inositol hexaniacinate can be helpful for people suffering from intermittent claudication. This condition causes leg pain with exercise due to poor blood flow to the legs. Dilation of the blood vessels caused by the inositol hexaniacinate relieves this condition to some extent, allowing the patient to walk farther with less pain.

Other conditions that may be benefited by supplemental niacinamide include vertigo, tinnitus, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) headaches, and osteoarthritis . Raynaud's phenomenon reportedly may be improved by large doses of inositol hexaniacinate. A health care provider should be consulted for these uses. Niacin is not effective for the treatment of schizophrenia .

Preparations

Natural sources

Tuna is one of the best sources of niacin, but many other foods contain the vitamin. Most processed grain products are fortified with niacin, as well as other B vitamins. Although niacin is not destroyed by cooking, it does leach into water, so cooking with minimal liquid best preserves it. The amino acid tryptophan is widely found in foods high in protein, and about half of the tryptophan consumed is used to make niacin. Cottage cheese, milk, fowl, and tuna are some of the foods that are highest in tryptophan.

Supplemental sources

Niacin can be purchased as an oral single vitamin product. A balanced B complex supplement is preferred over high doses of an individual vitamin unless there is a specific indication. Supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from light, and out of the reach of children.

Deficiency

A serious deficiency of niacin causes a condition called pellagra. Once quite common in all countries, it has become rare outside of areas in which poor nutrition is still the norm. Affected groups include refugees displaced by war as well as populations affected by such emergency situations as famine. The symptoms of pellagra include dermatitis, dementia , and diarrhea .

Milder deficiencies of niacin can cause similar, but less severe symptoms. Dermatitis, especially around the mouth, and other rashes may occur, along with fatigue , irritability, poor appetite, indigestion , diarrhea, headache , and possibly delirium.

Risk factors for deficiency

Severe niacin deficiency is uncommon in most parts of the world, but some people may need more than the RDA in order to maintain good health. Vegans, and others who do not eat animal protein, should consider taking a balanced B vitamin supplement. Others that may need extra niacin and other B vitamins may include people under high stress , including those experiencing chronic illnesses, liver disease, sprue, or poor nutritional status. People over 55 years old are more likely to have a poor dietary intake. Certain metabolic diseases also increase the requirement for niacin. Those who abuse nicotine, alcohol or other drugs are very frequently deficient in B vitamins, but use of niacin with alcohol can cause seriously low blood pressure. A health care professional can determine if supplementation is appropriate.

Precautions

Niacin should not be taken by anyone with a B vitamin allergy, kidney or liver impairment, severe hypotension, un-stable angina , arterial hemorrhage, or coronary artery disease. Supplemental niacin can exacerbate peptic ulcers. Diabetics should use caution as supplements of either niacin or niacinamide can alter medication requirements to control blood glucose. Supplements can raise uric acid levels, and aggravate gout in people with this condition. Pregnant women should not take high doses of niacin, or any supplement, except on the advice of a health care provider.

Health care should be sought immediately if certain symptoms occur following niacin supplementation. These include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting , yellowing of the skin, faintness, or headache. Such symptoms may indicate excessively low blood pressure or liver problems. Heart palpitations and elevated blood sugar are also potential effects.

Side effects

High doses of niacin can cause a harmless but un-pleasant flushing sensation as well as darkening of the urine. The "no-flush" form can lessen this complication.

Interactions

Niacin supplements should not be taken by anyone on medication for high blood pressure, due to the potential for hypotension. Isoniazid, a drug used to treat tuberculosis , inhibits the body's ability to make niacin from tryptophan. Extra niacin may be required. Supplements may also be needed by women taking oral contraceptives. Concomitant use of niacin with statin class drugs to lower cholesterol can cause myopathy. Cholestyramine and cholestipol, older medications to lower cholesterol, should be taken at a different time than niacin or they will reduce its absorption. Transdermal nicotine used with niacin is likely to cause flushing and dizziness . Carbamazepine, an antiseizure medication, is more likely to cause toxicity in combination with niacin.

Resources

BOOKS

Bratman, Steven, and David Kroll. Natural Health Bible. Prima Publishing, 1999.

Griffith, H. Winter. Vitamins, Herbs, Minerals & supplements: the complete guide. Arizona: Fisher Books, 1998.

Jellin, Jeff, Forrest Batz, and Kathy Hitchens. Pharmacist's letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. California: Therapeutic Research Faculty, 1999.

Pressman, Alan H., and Sheila Buff. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. New York: alpha books, 1997.

PERIODICALS

Batiste, M. C., and E. J. Schaefer. "Diagnosis and Management of Lipoprotein Abnormalities." Nutrition in Clinical Care: An Official Publication of Tufts University 5 (May-June 2002): 115-123.

Gotto, A. M. Jr. "Management of Dyslipidemia." American Journal of Medicine 112 (June 3, 2002) (Supplement 8A): 10S-18S.

Hopkins, P. M. "Familial Hypercholesterolemia." Curren Treatment OPtions in Cardiovascular Medicine 4 (April 2002): 121-128.

Prinzo, Z. W., Z. W. Prinzo, and D. Benoist. "Meeting the Challenges of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Emergency-Affected Populations." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 61 (May 2002): 251-257.

Troppmann, L., K. Gray-Donald, and T. Johns. "Supplement Use: Is There Any Nutritional benefit?" Journal of the American Dietetic Association 102 (June 2002): 818-825.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Dietetic Association. 216 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606. (312) 899-0040. <www.eatright.org>.

World Health Organization (WHO). Avenue Appia 20, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. (+41 22) 791-2111. <www.who.int>.

Judith Turner

Rebecca J. Frey, PhD

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Niacin

Niacin

Jazz group

Jazz fusion supergroup Niacin, composed of star rock bassist Billy Sheehan, keyboard guru John Novello, and funk rock drummer Dennis Chambers, has both returned fusion to its roots with the resurrection of the venerable Hammond B-3 organ and given it a shot in the arm with an injection of hard rock sensibility. Formed in the mid-1990s, the group has continued to produce albums and tour into the 2000s, racking up accolades along the way–even as its members nurture solo careers and contribute to other bands.

Niacin was formed in the middle of the 1990s when rock bassist Billy Sheehan teamed up with keyboard player John Novello to create a vehicle for their work in jazz fusion and progressive rock. The duo brought in drummer Dennis Chambers to complete the trio. All three musicians were well established in rock and jazz circles at the time of the group's formation, crossing easily between the two musical styles. The centerpiece of the band is the Hammond B-3 organ, an instrument that has graced many a jazz and progressive rock recording and, until the late 1970s, was almost as essential to rock and jazz as the guitar or drum. The instrument also lent the group its name; niacin is also known as vitamin B3.

The man behind the Hammond B-3, John Novello, cites as his major influences rock greats such as Deep Purple, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Led Zeppelin. Asked to sum up his band's sound in a sentence, he told the Boston Globe's Steve Greenlee that Niacin is "sort of a progressive retro fusion band" and that it was "guaranteed not to play elevator music." By all accounts, the group has more than succeeded: critics have raved about the group's high energy sound, unusual for a trio. Music critic Jeff Miers, for instance, wrote in the Buffalo News that the group is "blazing, passionate, virtuosic and groovy as all get out."

True to form, Niacin's concerts are typically a workout for the musicians. "When we get on stage," Novello told the Boston Globe's Greenlee, "we just let loose." In fact, some have mistaken the trio for a quartet; Novello doubles on guitar synthesizers, prompting at least one record executive to ask the band members for the name of their guitar player.

Niacin signed with famed jazz man Chick Corea's Stretch label to release its eponymous debut in 1997. The group followed up the next year with High Bias, which features a composition by Corea called "Hang Me Upside Down." Corea also plays keyboard on the track. The rest of the album, with the exception of a cover of Joe Zawinul's "Birdland," was composed by Novello and Sheehan. Critics lauded High Bias's cohesion, with Mike Joyce of the Washington Post singling out Dennis Chambers's "sleight of hand finesse." Following the release of High Bias, the group launched a world tour to promote the album, with dates throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Also in 1998 came a live album called Live!: Blood, Sweat and Beers. This album was particularly well regarded by music critics like Ken Hughes of Keyboard magazine, who raved about the band's crowd-energizing performances and called Chambers the "most exciting drummer on the planet."

Moving from the Stretch to the Magna Carta label, the group put out Deep in 2000. Glenn Hughes of rock group Deep Purple contributed vocals to this release, making it the first Niacin album to feature a vocalist. Guitarist Steve Lukather of the rock group Toto was also a guest on the album.

The group's next effort was Time Crunch. Released in 2001, the album features nine original compositions along with a pair of covers: "Red" by King Crimson, and "Blue Wind" by Jeff Beck.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Billy Sheehan has established a reputation as one of the strongest bass players in jazz and rock music. He began his career in the 1970s with the highly regarded Buffalo-based rock band Talas. That group became the first band to be inducted into Buffalo's Music Hall of Fame.

Sheehan first gained widespread renown as a bassist for star rocker David Lee Roth. Roth lured him away from Talas to join the David Lee Roth Band when Roth left Van Halen in 1985. Sheehan stayed with Roth through two platinum albums before leaving to found Mr. Big in 1989. Mr. Big scored a number one hit with "To Be with You," a single from their second album, Lean into It, released in 1991.

Five times voted "Best Rock Bass Player" by the readers of Guitar Player magazine, Sheehan has consistently broken new ground in his music, a trend he has continued with Niacin. Sheehan released his first solo album, Compression on the Favored Nations label in 2001.

John Novello is author of The Contemporary Keyboardist: Stylistic Etudes, named by Sheet Music magazine the "Bible" of contemporary keyboard playing. He grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and studied jazz and big band music at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston in the late 1970s

It was while at Berklee that Novello fell in love with the Hammond B-3 organ, and he played it at Boston area clubs while he was still in school. But, Novello later told Billboard 's Steve Graybow, "In 1978, the disco era started, and live music became at thing of the past. Next the DX7 came out, and no one wanted my big Jurassic monster dragged into their clubs." After graduating from school, Novello relocated to California, where he found work as a session player. His biggest claim to fame at that time was as the music director for the disco band A Taste of Honey, which found a hit in the song "Boogie Oogie Oogie."

Novello went on to become a celebrated a jazz and contemporary keyboard instructor, and established a reputation as a powerhouse composer, arranger, producer, and session player, laying down tracks for artists such as Chick Corea, rocker Edgar Winter, and pop star Donna Summer. Through it all, he never lost his appreciation for the distinctive sound of the Hammond B-3. And with Niacin, he finally got his chance to once again make the instrument sing. Along with his work for Niacin, he heads the John Novello Band, a jazz and blues group.

Self-schooled drummer Dennis Chambers has not been far from a drum kit from the time he could hold a pair of sticks. Straight out of high school in 1978, he joined George Clinton's legendary funk band Parliament/Funkadelic. He cut loose from Parliament/Funkadelic in 1985, and has played with numerous other acts since then, including Special EFX, the David Sanborn Band, Bill Evans, and many others. His fist solo recording, Getting Even, was released by Pioneer Records in 1998. Outbreak came next, in 2002, quickly followed by Front Page in 2003.

Each of Niacin's members continues to pursue solo efforts and to play in other bands in addition to his work with Niacin. But the fusion band remains the place for them to, as they put it on Niacin's website, feel "free to play and jam as we please, reach for new heights, and go musically where others wouldn't dare."

For the Record …

Members include Dennis Chambers , drums; John Novello , keyboards; Billy Sheehan , bass.

Group formed in the mid 1990s; signed with Stretch record label, released Niacin, 1997; released High Bias and Live!: Blood, Sweat and Beers, 1998; moved to Magna Carta label, released Deep, 2000; released Time Crunch, 2001.

Addresses: Record company—Magna Carta Records, 280 E. 51st St., PMB#1820, New York, NY 10022-6500. Website—Niacin Official Website: http://www.niacinb3.com.

Selected discography

Niacin, Stretch, 1997.

High Bias, Warp, 1998.

Live!: Blood, Sweat and Beers, 1998; rereleased, Magna Carta, 2000.

Deep, Magna Carta, 2000.

Time Crunch, Video, 2001.

Sources

Periodicals

Bangkok Post, January 9, 1998, p.1.

Billboard, August 29, 1998.

Boston Globe, November 22, 2002, p. C15.

Buffalo News, November 15, 2002, p. G34; March 2000, p. G16.

Keyboard, August 2003, p. 8.

Washington Post, August 7, 1998, p. N14.

Online

Dennis Chambers Official Website, http://www.dennischambers.com (August 26, 2004).

John Novello Official Website, http://www.keysnovello.com

(August 26, 2004). "Niacin," All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (August 26, 2004).

Niacin Official Website, http://www.niacinb3.com (August 26, 2004).

—Michael Belfiore

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Niacin

Niacin

Niacin, or nicotinic acid, is a member of the water-soluble vitamin B family. For the most part, niacin functions as part of two important coenzymes. Both enzymes play vital roles in a number of metabolic pathways, in particular, those pathways concerned with cellular respiration (the process by which tissue cells "burn" carbohydrates and proteins in order to release energy) and, to a lesser extent, those pathways involved in the synthesis (blending) of fatty acids and steroids.

Pellagra

A deficiency of niacin causes pellagra, a serious disease which has plagued mankind for centuries. In most cases pellagra strikes people whose diet consists mainly of corn and cornmeal. Until fairly recently, pellagra was a major health problem in the United States. In the 1920s the disease killed thousands of people in poor rural areas. At that time, pellagra patients filled both hospitals and, because mental confusion was one of its symptoms, mental institutions as well.

Although no one knew the exact cause of the disease, by the beginning of the twentieth century more and more researchers began to suspect that a dietary deficiency was responsible. The search for an "anti-pellagra factor" intensified in both Europe and the United States. In 1912, Casimir Funk (1884-1967), the Polish-born biochemist who coined the term vitamin, managed to isolate the right factornicotinic acidfrom rice polishings. Unfortunately, at the time Funk was actually hunting for a substance that would cure beriberi, another serious deficiency disorder. When he found that nicotinic acid had only a minimal effect on beriberi, Funk pushed the compound aside. In the years that followed, the compound was largely ignored.

Niacin and Vitamins

In the 1930s, a number of researchersamong them Hans Euler-Chelpin, Otto Warburg, and Arthur Hardenbegan reporting that nicotinic acid appeared to be part of quite a few vital coenzymes. Perhaps, the researchers suggested, the compound was a lot more important than was originally supposed.

Niacin wasn't fully established as a vitamin until 1937. It was then that a team of researchers headed by American biochemist named Conrad Arnold Elvehjem (1901-1962) administered 30 miligrams of nicotinic acid to a dog suffering from blacktongue (the canine equivalent of pellagra). The dog improved immediately and, with further doses, was soon completely cured.

Other biochemical researchers quickly confirmed that niacin was the anti-pellagra vitamin for humans. They also confirmed that adding foods high in niacin to the diet, such as meat, green vegetables, yeast, and most grains, dramatically cured the disease. Moreover, since tryptophan is converted by the body into niacin, adding milk and other tryptophan-rich foods to the diet worked equally well.

Very quickly, pellagra cases began declining. In 1941 breads and cereals routinely began to be fortified with the vitamin. It was then that pellagra ceased to be a problem in the United States. The disease does crop up occasionally in other parts of the world, usually where poor diet is a problem.

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niacin

niacin A vitamin; one of the B complex without a numerical designation. It is sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as vitamin B3, and formerly vitamin PP (pellagra preventative). Deficiency leads to pellagra, which is fatal if untreated. Niacin is the generic descriptor for two compounds that have the biological activity of the vitamin: nicotinic acid and its amide, nicotinamide. In USA niacin is used specifically to mean nicotinic acid, and niacinamide for nicotinamide.

The metabolic function of niacin is in the coenzymes NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate), which act as intermediate hydrogen carriers in a wide variety of oxidation and reduction reactions.

Niacin can also be formed in the body from the amino acid tryptophan; on average 60 mg of dietary tryptophan is equivalent to 1 mg of preformed niacin. The total niacin content of foods is generally expressed as mg niacin equivalents; the sum of preformed niacin plus one‐sixtieth of the tryptophan. This means that most foods that are good sources of protein are also good sources of niacin. In cereals niacin is largely present as niacytin, which is not biologically available; therefore the preformed niacin content of cereals is generally ignored when calculating intakes. Free niacin is added to white flour and enriched breakfast cereals in many countries.

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niacin

ni·a·cin / ˈnīəsin/ • n. another term for nicotinic acid.

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niacin

niacin (ny-ă-sin) n. see nicotinic acid.

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niacin

niacin: see coenzyme; vitamin.

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niacin

niacin See nicotinic acid.

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niacin

niacin See NICOTINIC ACID.

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niacin

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