The vitamin B3also called niacin or vitamin PP has a function in the degradation of glucose and blood circulation. One of the essential manifestations of a deficiency in this micronutrient is pellagra. This guide details all the principles of this vitamin, but also the recommended nutritional intakes, as well as the different cases of deficiency.
What is Vitamin B3?
The vitamin B3 is still one of the water-soluble vitamins. The niacin is divided into two large, fairly similar groups: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. The latter also exhibit the same biological activity. Formerly known as vitamin PP, this vitamin was given for the prevention of pellagra. Moreover, it is mainly found in the form of niacin in food, but it is also produced by the body. The source being the amino acid tryptophan.
The properties of vitamin PP
The vitamin B3 plays an important role in the liver. It is inserted into the structure of two coenzymes, namely NAD and NADP. These are essential for the proper functioning of many enzymes.
When found in these forms, the vitamin is partly responsible for the production of energy in the cells. It also guarantees the production of certain lipids and their derivatives. This is particularly the case of bile salts, which are necessary for the proper digestion of fats. The same goes for steroid hormones, such as corticosteroids or even estrogen and testosterone.
One of the properties of vitamin PP is its ability to repair damaged DNA. It also plays a role in the functioning of the nervous system. Finally, the latter interacts with the other vitamins of group B, namely B1 and B2.
The recommended nutritional allowances and food sources of the vitamin
This vitamin is found in large quantities, mainly in foods of animal origin. Organ meats, poultry or fatty fish are very interesting sources. Canned tuna in oil contains 17 mg/100 g. Cooked chicken breast 10.6mg/100g.
In addition, whole grain foods are twice as rich in this micronutrient as refined products. Breakfast cereals are notably enriched. Wholemeal bread contains about 2.4 mg/100 g and fortified breakfast cereals 9 to 19.5 mg/100 g. Brewer’s yeast can, for its part, supplement the contributions.
Finally, you should know that recommended nutritional intake for an infant is of the order of 3mg/day of niacin. It increases to 12 mg for a child of 10 to 12 years old, to reach 17.4 mg for an adult.
How does a vitamin B deficiency present?
A vitamin B deficiency usually manifests as tingling, either in the hands or in the feet. Its deficit is also associated with restless leg syndrome. It is possible that a loss of appetite appears, as well as fatigue or even headaches and dizziness.
It is only when the deficiency is severe that pellagra appears. This is also seen in people with hereditary Hartnup disease.