Niacin and energy
Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin required for the function of over 200 enzymes throughout your body. It is well-absorbed and metabolised in the liver to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). NAD and NADP are essential for energy metabolism in the body. Niacin helps convert food into energy and assists in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fats.
Niacin can be formed in the body from the amino acid tryptophan and it takes 60mg of tryptophan to make 1mg niacin. Poor protein intake, especially inadequate tryptophan, can increase the risk of niacin deficiency.
Niacin supports skin health as it can dilate small blood vessels, improving blood flow of nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
Niacin is a component of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) that supports sugar metabolism and digestion.
Niacin is often used in high doses for lipid metabolism and to assist the digestion of dietary fats. Niacin can inhibit the mobilisation of free fatty acids from peripheral tissues and reduces hepatic synthesis of triglycerides and the secretion of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).
Niacin vs nicotinamide
Niacin (nicotinic acid) and nicotinamide (niacinamide) are the two main forms of vitamin B3 found in the foods we eat, and both can be converted into active forms of vitamin B3 in the body. Both niacin and nicotinamide can perform all the essential biochemical functions of vitamin B3 in the body and prevent a deficiency, however, niacin has additional actions, such as blood vessel dilation.
Extended-release formulations of niacin release niacin into the body over an 8-hour period and are less likely to cause flushing when compared to immediate-release forms. Although this flushing effect is transient and harmless, it can be uncomfortable and concerning if people do not expect it. The body usually adapts to niacin intake over time and side-effects lessen in severity. Skin flushing is worse when niacin is taken on an empty stomach.
It’s important to differentiate between extended-release forms of niacin and sustained-release forms of niacin. Sustained-release forms of niacin release niacin into the body over a 24-hour period and are associated with a higher risk of liver toxicity and gastrointestinal intolerance when compared to unmodified niacin formulations. This may be because the liver is not given a break.
Extended-release niacin formulations allow the vitamin to be absorbed over an 8-hour period, which reduces the incidence of flushing seen with immediate-release forms of niacin, and liver toxicity, seen with sustained-release forms of niacin, as it still allows the liver to have a break. Increased risk of liver toxicity is not seen with extended-release forms of niacin. See more here: Niacin 100mg Extended Release