Key Concepts

  • The RDA for adult males is 16 mg of Niacin Equivalents/day and 14 mg of Niacin Equivalents/day for adult females
  • Toxicity through supplementation is possible – less than 30 mg/day appears to be best to reduce risk of adverse reactions – niacin from food is not known to cause adverse effects
  • Food sources: meat, fish, peas, peanuts, mushrooms, eggs, enriched grain products


Niacin is fairly stable in foods – there appears to be minimal loss due to cooking or storage.

Niacin is needed in more than 400 enzymatic reactions. It serves a role in the catabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and alcohol. Niacin is also involved in the biosynthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, proline synthesis, glutathione and vitamin C reiteration, and folate synthesis.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

  • Adults male – 16 mg of Niacin Equivalents/day
  • Adult females – 14 mg of Niacin Equivalents/day



A deficiency of niacin results in pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and eventual death.


  • Niacin from foods is not known to cause adverse effects.
  • Liver toxicity has been seen at intakes of 750 mg per day of niacin for less than three months.
  • Hepatitis has been observed with timed-release niacin at dosages as little as 500 mg/day for two months
  • Immediate-release (crystalline) niacin appears to be less toxic to the liver than extended-release forms
  • The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for niacin is 35 mg/day although flushing may occur at 30 mg/day
  • B Complex – $0.34/day

Food Sources

  • Chicken breast. 3 oz: 8.9 mg (44% DV)
  • Peanuts. 1 cup: 21.9 mg (115% DV)
  • Mushrooms. 1 cup: 7.6 mg (34% DV)
  • Green peas. 1 cup: 3 mg (15% DV)
  • Sunflower Seeds: 1 cup: 3.8 mg (19% DV)
  • Avocado: 1 whole fruit: 3.5 mg (17% DV)




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