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  • A water-soluble vitamin belonging to the vitamin B family, which occurs in many animal and plant tissues, with antihyperlipidemic activity. Niacin is converted to its active form niacinamide, which is a component of the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and its phosphate form, NADP. These coenzymes play an important role in tissue respiration and in glycogen, lipid, amino acid, protein, and purine metabolism. Although the exact mechanism of action by which niacin lowers cholesterol is not fully understood, it may act by inhibiting the synthesis of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), inhibiting the release of free fatty acids from adipose tissue, increasing lipoprotein lipase activity, and reducing the hepatic synthesis of VLDL-C and LDL-C.
  • Niacin is an organic compound with the formula C 6H 5NO 2 and, depending on the definition used, one of the 20 to 80 essential human nutrients. Insufficient niacin in the diet can cause nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches, and tiredness. Chronic niacin deficiency leads to a disease called pellagra. The lack of niacin may also be observed in pandemic deficiency disease which is caused by a lack of five crucial vitamins: niacin, vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin D, and vitamin A, and is usually found in areas of widespread poverty and malnutrition. Niacin has been used for over 50 years to increase levels of HDL in the blood and has been found to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events modestly in a number of controlled human trials. This colorless, water-soluble solid is a derivative of pyridine, with a carboxyl group at the 3-position. Other forms of vitamin B₃ include the corresponding amide, nicotinamide, where the carboxyl group has been replaced by a carboxamide group, as well as more complex amides and a variety of esters.

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