Glossary

Niacin Combination of nicotinamide and nicotinic acid.

Niacin equivalents (NE) mg niacin plus one-sixtieth of mg tryptophan in a defined quantity (e.g., mg/100g or mg/d) of food or diet.

Niacytin A macromolecular complex of niacin found in some cereals, notably maize (sweet corn), which is poorly bioavailable but liberates niacin on heating with alkali. Mexican tortillas are cooked by heating maize flour with lime, which liberates the niacin in a bioavailable form.

Jowar An Indian cereal (staple) that is associated with high pellagra risk and is rich in the amino acid leucine, but which contains only a marginally adequate amount of niacin + tryptophan.

Isoniazid A drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis that antagonizes vitamin B6 and is associated with pellagra symptoms, especially in Asian Indians.

Carbidopa, Benseride Anti-Parkinsonism drugs that can cause pellagra-like symptoms.

N-acetyl-pyridine A niacin antagonist, studied in animals.

NAD, NADH, NADP, NADPH The pyridine nucleotide coenzymes containing niacin that are involved in many essential hydrogen transfer reactions of intermediary metabolism, namely nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (oxidized and reduced forms) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (oxidized and reduced forms).

NMN N1-methyl nicotinamide, a degradation product of niacin found in the urine.

2-pyridone, N1-methyl-2-pyridone-4-carboxamide, another degradation product of niacin, is also found in the urine.

RDA Recommended Dietary Amount of a named nutrient, being the daily amount needed to cover the needs of the majority, usually 97.5% (i.e., mean plus 2 standard deviations) of the members of a healthy population of each defined age group and sex in the USA. RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake) is the UK equivalent of the RDA. (EAR: Estimated Average Requirement; LRNI: Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (UK only), which is the amount need to cover only that 2.5% of the population with the lowest requirements for the named nutrient).

Pellagra A human disease that is often equated with a clinical niacin deficiency but may have more complex causes.

Hartnup's disease A genetic disease of humans that exhibits some features similar to those of pellagra but that results from an impaired membrane transport of tryptophan.

Blacktongue Induced niacin deficiency disease in dogs, an animal model for human pellagra.

Units Niacin or niacin equivalents in food are usually expressed as milligrams per 100 g, usually of wet weight of food. Concentrations of analytes in tissues, blood, or urine are usually expressed in SI units (e.g., mmol/l or mmol l-1).

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