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- Aiding in the catabolism (breakdown) of carbohydrate, fat, protein, and alcohol to produce energy
- Supplying energy to all body cells
- Assisting in fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis
- Helping the formation of red blood cells
- Assisting in the metabolism of several drugs and toxins
- Maintaining the integrity of all body cells
|Age Group (in years)||Recommended Dietary Allowance|
|1-3||6 mg||6 mg|
|4-8||8 mg||8 mg|
|9-13||12 mg||12 mg|
|14 and older||16 mg||14 mg|
- Thick, dark, scaly pigmented rash on skin areas exposed to sunlight, heat, or mild trauma
- Bright red tongue
- Memory loss
Flushing of the skin, primarily on the face, arms, and chest
*This side effect may occur at doses as low as 30 mg/day
- Skin rash
- Dry skin
- Signs of liver toxicity, including jaundice and elevated liver enzymes
Major Food Sources
|Breakfast cereal (unfortified)||1 cup||5-7 (check Nutrition Facts label)|
|Chicken, roasted without skin||3 ounces||7.3|
|Tuna, packed in water||3 ounces||11.3|
|Salmon, broiled||3 ounces||8.5|
|Turkey, roasted white meat||3 ounces||10|
|Peanuts, dry roasted||1 ounce||3.8|
|Pasta, enriched, boiled||1 cup||2.4|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||2.1|
|Lima beans, cooked||1 cup||1.8|
|Bread, whole wheat||1 slice||1.3|
Health ImplicationsHigh Cholesterol
- People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol
- People taking the antituberculosis drug isoniazid
- People with Hartnup's disease
Tips For Increasing Your Niacin Intake:
- Use mashed avocado in place of cream cheese, butter, or margarine on your morning bagel, or mayonnaise on your lunchtime sandwich.
- For lunch, have a few slices of lean turkey with lettuce and tomato on wheat bread.
- Grill salmon, halibut, or trout for dinner. Crack a bit of pepper, sprinkle some salt, squeeze a touch of lemon, and finish off with a splash of olive oil.
- Munch on a handful of peanuts as an afternoon snack.
- Bake a potato and top with black beans, salsa, and cheese or steamed broccoli, carrots, and a spoonful or 2 of low-fat sour cream.
- If you take a vitamin supplement, make sure it contains niacin (but no more than 100% of the RDA).
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2016
- Update Date: 06/05/2014