Effect of nicotinic acid on zinc and iron metabolism

Biometals. 1997 Oct;10(4):271-6. doi: 10.1023/a:1018368231716.


Nicotinic acid has functional groups capable of forming complexes with trace metals. The present study examines the effect of nicotinic acid supplementation on absorption and utilization of zinc and iron. In vitro zinc uptake by human erythrocytes was studied using blood samples of 10 healthy subjects. It was found that 8 mumoles nicotinic acid or NADP increased 65Zn uptake by 38.9% and 43.1% in fasting, and by 70.9% and 28.1% in postprandial conditions. In animal experiments, nicotinic acid supplementation to finger millet based diet resulted in significant enhancement of percent zinc absorption, liver zinc and growth of weanling mice (P < 0.05). When mice were fed with nicotinic acid-deficient, -adequate and -excess synthetic diets for four weeks it was observed that, in comparison with the nicotinic acid-deficient diet, percent zinc absorption, intestinal zinc, percent haeomoglobin and liver iron increased significantly under nicotinic acid-adequate and -excess conditions. The results obtained suggested that nicotinic acid, in addition to its known effect on growth and metabolism, may be playing an important role in enhancing zinc and iron utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • NADP / pharmacology
  • Niacin / deficiency
  • Niacin / pharmacology*
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / metabolism*
  • Zinc / pharmacokinetics


  • Hemoglobins
  • Niacin
  • NADP
  • Iron
  • Zinc