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Niacin is a collective term for the vitamins nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, which can be converted into each other in the body. The two substances belong to the vitamins of the B-complex, even though strictly speaking they are not vitamins. They do not have to be ingested with food - an essential characteristic of a vitamin - but can also be formed in the liver from the amino acid tryptophan. Only in the case of a deficiency of tryptophan (e.g., in the case of a diet mainly based on maize) a supply of niacin with food is necessary.

Niacin is found in varying concentrations in almost all foods. In Germany, meat, fish, bread and baked goods, beer, potatoes, milk and dairy products are the main sources for niacin intake.

In the body, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide serve to form certain coenzymes which, together with enzymes, are involved in numerous metabolic processes in the body cells. In this form, niacin plays an important role, among other things, in the formation and breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids as well as in energy production in the human organism.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends that adults should take in between 11 and 16 milligrams (mg) of niacin per day with food. This intake is far exceeded in the diet commonly consumed in Germany, so that a sufficient supply of niacin is guaranteed.

If nicotinic acid is taken in high doses, e.g., via certain food supplements, health impairments can occur, such as reddening of the skin on the face, neck and arms, or a feeling of heat, hives with very itchy wheals and itching of the skin - symptoms that are often referred to as flushing.

Proposed maximum level for the addition of Niacin to food supplements (per daily dose of an individual product)

Niacin Höchstmenge_en

Due to substance-specific differences, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has issued separate maximum quantity recommendations for nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. In addition, there is a recommendation for the maximum quantity of inosithexanicotinate - another source of niacin that may be used in food supplements.

In order to allow consumers a significant additional nutrient intake via food supplements when needed and at the same time to protect well-supplied people from excessive intake, the BfR recommends not adding more than 160 mg of nicotinamide per daily dose to a food supplement. For nicotinic acid, 4 mg per daily dose should not be exceeded, for inosithexanicotinate 4.4 mg.



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