We tested the hypothesis that vascular endothelial function and oxidative stress are related to dietary niacin intake among healthy middle-aged and older adults. In 127 men and women aged 48-77 yr, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was positively related to dietary niacin intake [%change (Δ): r = 0.20, P < 0.05; mmΔ: r = 0.25, P < 0.01]. In subjects with above-average dietary niacin intake (≥ 22 mg/day, NHANES III), FMD was 25% greater than in subjects with below-average intake (P < 0.05). Stepwise linear regression revealed that dietary niacin intake (above vs. below average) was an independent predictor of FMD (%Δ: β = 1.8; mmΔ: β = 0.05, both P < 0.05). Plasma oxidized low-density lipoprotein, a marker of systemic oxidative stress, was inversely related to niacin intake (r = -0.23, P < 0.05) and was lower in subjects with above- vs. below-average niacin intake (48 ± 2 vs. 57 ± 2 mg/dl, P < 0.01). Intravenous infusion of the antioxidant vitamin C improved brachial FMD in subjects with below-average niacin intake (P < 0.001, n = 33), but not above-average (P > 0.05, n = 20). In endothelial cells sampled from the brachial artery of a subgroup, dietary niacin intake was inversely related to nitrotyrosine, a marker of peroxynitrite-mediated oxidative damage (r = -0.30, P < 0.05, n = 55), and expression of the prooxidant enzyme, NADPH oxidase (r = -0.44, P < 0.01, n = 37), and these markers were lower in subjects with above- vs. below-average niacin intake [nitrotyrosine: 0.39 ± 0.05 vs. 0.56 ± 0.07; NADPH oxidase: 0.38 ± 0.05 vs. 0.53 ± 0.05 (ratio to human umbilical vein endothelial cell control), both P < 0.05]. Our findings support the hypothesis that higher dietary niacin intake is associated with greater vascular endothelial function related to lower systemic and vascular oxidative stress among healthy middle-aged and older adults.
Keywords: NADPH oxidase; flow-mediated dilation; oxidized low-density lipoprotein.