Food

Niacin: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

We now move to the letter “N” in our ingredient A to Z series and are featuring Niacin as our ingredient of the day.

What is Niacin?

Niacin L

Niacin is a B-vitamin that is essential for dogs, cats, and humans.  Niacin occurs naturally in many foods, including organ meat like liver, as well as beef, fish, poultry, eggs, and legumes.

Common names for Niacin

The most common name variations for Niacin include Vitamin B-3 and nicotinic acid.

Why is Niacin included in pet food?

Niacin helps with skin and coat health (due to its involvement in fatty acid synthesis). It is needed for the body to break down sugars and fats into energy.

Common benefits or risks of Niacin

Benefits: Niacin is essential for a healthy nervous system and skin.  It helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Niacin also supports a healthy gastrointestinal system.

Niacin is crucial for a healthy body.  A Niacin deficiency can cause weight loss, inflammation around the mouth and throat, black tongue, salivation, blood in the saliva and bloody diarrhea and stomach ulcers.

Risks: Like most things, too much Niacin can cause some problems.  Common issues from over consumption include skin flushing and itching, dry skin, upset stomach.

Miscellaneous facts about Niacin

Niacin is often used to help with high cholesterol in humans.  Niacin is sometimes used to reduce the symptoms of arthritis in humans as well.

Niacin was the third B vitamin to be identified as a dietary essential.

Sources and further reading

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-niacin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niacin

http://www.totalhealthmagazine.com/features/pet-health/vitamin-b3-for-pet-health.html

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