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DSM in Food, Beverages & Dietary Supplements

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

We are a leading provider of vitamin B3, otherwise known as niacin - one of the water-soluble B vitamins.

The term niacin refers to ‘nicotinic acid’ and ‘nicotinamide’ (also called niacinamide). Both are used to form the coenzymes.

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Yeast, liver, poultry, lean meats, nuts and legumes contribute most of the niacin obtained from food. In cereal products (corn, wheat), niacin is bound to certain components of the cereal and is thus not bioavailable.


The amino acid tryptophan contributes as much as two thirds of the niacin activity needed by adults in typical diets. Important food sources of tryptophan are meat, milk and eggs.

Health functions of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important for the body because it helps to:

  • Convert food into glucose, used to produce energy
  • Produce macromolecules, including fatty acids and cholesterol
  • Facilitate DNA repair and stress responses.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which provides scientific advice to policy makers, has confirmed that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of niacin (vitamin B3) in contributing to:

  • Normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • The normal function of the nervous system
  • The maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
  • Normal psychological functions
  • The reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

In developed countries, where vitamin B3 deficiency is rare, alcoholism is the prime cause of deficiency. Symptoms of mild deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, and depression.

Supplements and food fortification

Single supplements of nicotinic acid are available in tablets, capsules and syrups. Multivitamin and B-complex vitamin infusions, tablets and capsules also contain nicotinamide. Niacin is used to fortify grain, including corn and bran breakfast cereals and wheat flour.