Niacin is the collective term for two substances called nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. They basically have the same effect, because they can both be transferred into each other in the metabolism. Both are necessary for the formation of coenzymes.
The daily need depends on the amino acid tryptophan intake, since this can also be converted into niacin. The body converts 60 mg of tryptophan into 1 mg of niacin. The amino acid tryptophan is part of the protein molecules in protein-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, cereals, fish eggs and meat.
Nicotinamide is found primarily in food products of animal origin (meat, offal) and is well absorbed by the body. Plants have a lower content of niacin or nicotinic acid. In cereals such as corn or wheat, nicotinic acid is also bound to other molecules and cannot be well absorbed by the body.

Functions in the Body

  • Regulates energy metabolism
  • Supports numerous metabolic processes, such as the development of fatty acids and cholesterol
  • Important for a normally functioning nervous system

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Physical weakness, fatigue, appetite loss, damage to the central nervous system, pellagra (dermatitis, diarrhoea, dementia).


There is no danger of overdose with food. High doses of niacin appear to be non-toxic. However, it can trigger “flush” symptoms, such as skin redness, heat sensation (flushing), or inflammation of the stomach lining. When the niacin concentration or supply decreases, the symptoms disappear.


+ None known.
– Lower iron, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6 resources lead to a reduction in the synthesis of niacin from tryptophan.


Liver, poultry, lean meat, nuts, legumes and yeast.
Food containing the amino acid tryptophan (legumes, nuts, cereals, fish, eggs and meat).

Recommended Daily Amounts

Young people 17 mg / 13 mg
Adults 15 mg / 12 mg
Adults over 65 years old 14 mg / 11 mg

«5 a Day» Helps Your Vitamin Supply

215 grams of Chanterelle mushrooms, 350 grams of mushrooms, 518 grams of sugar peas, 680 grams of peas, 875 grams of elderberries or passion fruit or dates, should be consumed in order to meet the daily niacin requirements.