Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018:83:83-149. doi: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.003. Epub 2018 Feb 1.


Nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, collectively referred to as niacin, are nutritional precursors of the bioactive molecules nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). NAD and NADP are important cofactors for most cellular redox reactions, and as such are essential to maintain cellular metabolism and respiration. NAD also serves as a cosubstrate for a large number of ADP-ribosylation enzymes with varied functions. Among the NAD-consuming enzymes identified to date are important genetic and epigenetic regulators, e.g., poly(ADP-ribose)polymerases and sirtuins. There is rapidly growing knowledge of the close connection between dietary niacin intake, NAD(P) availability, and the activity of NAD(P)-dependent epigenetic regulator enzymes. It points to an exciting role of dietary niacin intake as a central regulator of physiological processes, e.g., maintenance of genetic stability, and of epigenetic control mechanisms modulating metabolism and aging. Insight into the role of niacin and various NAD-related diseases ranging from cancer, aging, and metabolic diseases to cardiovascular problems has shifted our view of niacin as a vitamin to current views that explore its potential as a therapeutic.

Keywords: ADP-ribose transferase; ARTD; Niacin; Nicotinamide; Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; PARP; Pellagra; Poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase; Sirtuin; Vitamin B3.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Niacin / administration & dosage*
  • Niacin / metabolism
  • Niacin / pharmacology*
  • Pellagra / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / metabolism
  • Vitamins / pharmacology


  • Vitamins
  • Niacin