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Vitamin B3 (niacin) in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Vitamin B3 (niacin) in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Vitamin B3 (niacin) in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

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date: 01 March 2021

Niacin (as nicotinamide) is a component of coenzyme systems that function in the reductive biosynthesis of fatty acids and steroids, including cholesterol, and are involved in cell signalling. Niacin deficiency is rare, as the daily requirement can usually be met by food sources, and also via synthesis from tryptophan, which is present in dietary proteins. The prevalence of niacin deficiency is higher in populations consuming mainly corn or sorghum as a dietary staple. Corn contains niacin, but only in a bound form that is nutritionally unavailable. The additional needs for niacin during pregnancy are mirrored by the increased energy intake needs, and dietary supplementation is only necessary in cases of overall poor nutritional intake.

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