Also Known As: Vitamin B3, Niacin, Niacinamide, Niacor
"Niacin" redirects here. For the neo-fusion band, see Niacin (band).
Niacin (also known as vitamin B3, nicotinic acid and vitamin PP) is an organic compound with the formula C6H5NO2 and, depending on the definition used, one of the forty to eighty essential human nutrients.
Niacin is one of five vitamins (when lacking in human diet) associated with a pandemic deficiency disease: niacin deficiency (pellagra), vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), thiamin deficiency (beriberi), vitamin D deficiency (rickets), vitamin A deficiency (night blindness and other symptoms). Niacin has been used for over 50 years to increase levels of HDL in the blood and has been found to modestly decrease the risk of cardiovascular events in a number of controlled human trials.
This colorless, water-soluble solid is a derivative of pyridine, with a carboxyl group (COOH) at the 3-position. Other forms of vitamin B3 include the corresponding amide, nicotinamide ("niacinamide"), where the carboxyl group has been replaced by a carboxamide group (CONH2), as well as more complex amides and a variety of esters. The terms niacin, nicotinamide, and vitamin B3 are often used interchangeably to refer to any member of this family of compounds, since they have similar biochemical activity.