Niacin is the term given to the two compounds (nicotinic acid and nicotinamide) that exhibit vitamin B3 activity. Niacin must be converted to either nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (NADH) or nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) to participate in enzymatic reactions or protein synthesis.
Isolated in 1867, Niacin’s role in curing pellagra (also known as black tongue disease) in dogs was not discovered until 1937.
Niacin, in its cofactor form, is important in a number of physiologic reactions in the body. Oxidoreductive reactions are the primary function.
Niacin can be synthesised from tryptophan although cats are unable to produce enough to satisfy their requirements and must obtain adequate amounts of niacin from the diet.Deficiencies are more common in cats and clinical symptoms include dermatitis, diarrhoea, dementia and death.
Niacin is found in large quantities in yeast, animal/fish by-products, cereals, legumes and oil seeds.