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Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 measurement is used to check hypovitaminosis and to monitor supplement therapy.

Vitamin B3 (niacin, nicotinic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin B3 plays a role in the release of energy from carbohydrates and fats, is involved in protein metabolism, and helps in the production of certain hormones and in the formation of red blood cells. Both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide are absorbed by the normal diet. Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that is commonly found in dietary supplements and is used to enhance nutrition.

Niacin prevents and treats diabetes, improves blood circulation, and relieves arthritis. Niacin is also used to prevent and treat elevated blood lipids and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin B3 has been used orally and intravenously in various pathological conditions such as high triglycerides, dysmenorrhea, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis.

Lack of niacin can result from inadequate dietary intake of niacin and/or the tryptophan amino acid. Tryptophan, obtained from the breakdown of dietary protein, can be converted to nicotinamide with the help of liver enzymes that need vitamin B6, riboflavin, and iron to act. Deficiencies in these ingredients can contribute to the development of niacin deficiency. Hartnup disease, an inherited disorder that reduces tryptophan absorption, can lead to niacin deficiency. The carcinoid syndrome deflects tryptophan to increase serotonin production and can thereby reduce nicotinamide production. Prolonged treatment with isoniazid has also been associated with niacin deficiency.

Niacin deficiency can affect the skin, digestive system, and nervous system. Severe niacin deficiency, referred to as pellagra, results in dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and eventually death. Pellagra dermatitis is characterized by a thick, dark-colored rash that develops symmetrically in areas exposed to sunlight. Symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract include vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, and red tongue. Pellagra can also cause neurological symptoms such as fatigue, depression, headache, disorientation, and memory loss.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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