Niacinamide Abstracts 5


Niacin (nicotinic acid) in non-physiological doses causes hyperhomocysteineaemia in Sprague-Dawley rats.
            (Basu et al., 2002) Download
Niacin (nicotinic acid) in its non-physiological dose level is known to be an effective lipid-lowering agent; its potential risk as a therapeutic agent, however, has not been critically considered. Since niacin is excreted predominantly as methylated pyridones, requiring methionine as a methyl donor, the present study was undertaken to examine whether metabolism of the amino acid is altered in the presence of large doses of niacin. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were given a nutritionally adequate, semi-synthetic diet containing niacin at a level of either 400 or 1000mg/kg diet (compared to 30mg/kg in the control diet) for up to 3 months. Supplementation with niacin (1,000 mg/kg diet) for 3 months resulted in a significant increase in plasma and urinary total homocysteine levels; this increase was further accentuated in the presence of a high methionine diet. The hyperhomocysteineaemia was accompanied by a significant decrease in plasma concentrations of vitamins B6 and B12, which are cofactors for the metabolism of homocysteine. The homocysteine-raising action of niacin, in particular, has an important toxicological implication, as hyperhomocysteineaemia is considered to be an independent risk factor for arterial occlusive disease. The niacin-associated change in homocysteine status may be an important limiting factor in the use of this vitamin as a lipid-lowering agent.

Nicotinamide and insulin secretion in normal subjects.
            (Bingley et al., 1993) Download
Nicotinamide has been given both before and after clinical onset of Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus in an attempt to prolong beta-cell survival. Nicotinic acid, structurally similar to nicotinamide, induces insulin resistance and increases insulin secretion in healthy individuals. It is not known if nicotinamide has similar effects. Since insulin secretion, as measured by the acute insulin response to intravenous glucose, is used to predict diabetes and to monitor therapy, the effects of nicotinamide must be established before trials in individuals at high risk of progression to Type 1 diabetes can be interpreted. Intravenous tolerance tests were performed according to the ICARUS standard protocol in 10 healthy, adult subjects (age 32 +/- 5.7 years) before and after 14 days of treatment with nicotinamide 25 The acute insulin response after nicotinamide did not differ from the control study, whether measured as the incremental 0-10 min insulin area (278 +/- 142 vs 298 +/- 130 mU.l-1.10 min-1) or as the 1 +/- 3 min insulin level (78 +/- 39 vs 81 +/- 44 mU/l). The late insulin response was equally unaffected, as were basal insulin (5.2 +/- 1.6 vs 5.6 +/- 2.1 mU/l) and glucose (5.0 +/- 0.4 vs 4.9 +/- 0.2 mmol/l) levels and glucose disposal rates (1.98 +/- 0.88 vs 2.04 +/- 0.68%/min). Nicotinamide does not affect insulin secretion and glucose kinetics in normal subjects, confirming its suitability for trials designed to delay or prevent the onset of Type 1 diabetes.

Kynurenine Pathway Pathologies: do Nicotinamide and Other Pathway Co-Factors have a Therapeutic Role in Reduction of Symptom Severity, Including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM).
         (Blankfield, 2013) Download
The definition of dual tryptophan pathways has increased the understanding of the mind-body, body-mind dichotomy. The serotonergic pathway highlights the primary (endogenous) psychiatric disorders. The up-regulation of the kynurenine pathway by physical illnesses can cause neuropathic and immunological disorders1 associated with secondary neuropsychiatric symptoms. Tryptophan and nicotinamide deficiencies fall within the protein energy malnutrition (PEM) spectrum. They can arise if the kynurenine pathway is stressed by primary or secondary inflammatory conditions and the consequent imbalance of available catabolic/anabolic substrates may adversely influence convalescent phase efficiency. The replacement of depleted or reduced NAD+ levels and other cofactors can perhaps improve the clinical management of these disorders. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) appear to meet the criteria of a tryptophan-kynurenine pathway disorder with potential neuroimmunological sequelae. Aspects of some of the putative precipitating factors have been previously outlined.2,3 An analysis of the areas of metabolic dysfunction will focus on future directions for research and management.

Nicotinamide's effects on glucose metabolism in subjects at risk for IDDM.
            (Greenbaum et al., 1996) Download
Nicotinamide is being used in trials to prevent or delay the development of clinical IDDM. A related compound, niacin, has been shown to cause insulin resistance in normal subjects, resulting in increased insulin secretion. This study was designed to answer the question: Does the short-term administration of nicotinamide cause insulin resistance in subjects who have a high risk of developing IDDM? Eight islet cell antibody-positive (ICA+) relatives of IDDM patients were given nicotinamide at a dose of 2 g/day for 2 weeks. Measurements of first-phase insulin release, insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness, and the constant for glucose disappearance (Kg) were measured at baseline, at the end of 2 weeks of therapy, and after subjects had been off therapy for at least 2 weeks. Nicotinamide administration caused a 23.6% decrease in insulin sensitivity (P = 0.02). This decrease was associated with a fall in Kg despite increased insulin secretion. Our data suggest that the use of nicotinamide in subjects who are at risk of developing IDDM may be complicated by the drug's effects on insulin sensitivity. By inducing insulin resistance, a therapeutic effect of nicotinamide on the diabetes disease process may be missed, and the interpretation of insulin secretion measurements that are obtained during the intervention trials using nicotinamide may be complicated by the changes in insulin secretion that are caused by the increased insulin resistance. Therefore, we strongly support the recommendation that at least one subgroup of subjects enrolled in clinical trials to prevent IDDM have regular measurements of both insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion performed. This subgroup should be randomly assigned and large enough for statistical analysis to interpret properly the changes in insulin secretion that may occur.

The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer.
            (Hakozaki et al., 2002) Download
BACKGROUND: Cutaneous hyperpigmentation occurs in multiple conditions. In addition, many Asian women desire a lighter skin colour. Thus, there is a need for the development of skin lightening agents. Niacinamide is a possible candidate. OBJECTIVES: To investigate the effects of niacinamide on melanogenesis in vitro and on facial hyperpigmentation and skin colour in vivo in Japanese women. METHODS: Melanin production was measured in a purified mushroom tyrosinase assay, cultured melanocytes, a keratinocyte/melanocyte coculture model, and a pigmented reconstructed epidermis (PREP) model. The clinical trials included 18 subjects with hyperpigmentation who used 5% niacinamide moisturizer and vehicle moisturizer in a paired design, and 120 subjects with facial tanning who were assigned to two of three treatments: vehicle, sunscreen and 2% niacinamide + sunscreen. Changes in facial hyperpigmentation and skin colour were objectively quantified by computer analysis and visual grading of high-resolution digital images of the face. RESULTS: Niacinamide had no effect on the catalytic activity of mushroom tyrosinase or on melanogenesis in cultured melanocytes. However, niacinamide gave 35-68% inhibition of melanosome transfer in the coculture model and reduced cutaneous pigmentation in the PREP model. In the clinical studies, niacinamide significantly decreased hyperpigmentation and increased skin lightness compared with vehicle alone after 4 weeks of use. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest niacinamide is an effective skin lightening compound that works by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes.

Co-administration of equimolar doses of betaine may alleviate the hepatotoxic risk associated with niacin therapy.
            (McCarty, 2000) Download
High-dose niacin has versatile and substantial efficacy for the treatment of hyperlipidemias, but its utility is compromised by various side effects, the most serious of which is liver damage. It is proposed that this hepatotoxicity reflects the high demand for methyl groups imposed by niacin catabolism, leading to a reduction in hepatic levels of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). Depletion of the hepatic SAM pool has likewise been shown to mediate, at least in part, the hepatotoxic effects of ethanol, methotrexate, and niacinamide. If niacin does indeed decrease SAM, a likely consequence would be a counterproductive elevation of plasma homocysteine. Conceivably, methyl group deficiency, by altering membrane properties of skeletal muscle, also contributes to niacin-induced insulin resistance. Concurrent betaine supplementation - preferably administered as a complex with equimolar amounts of niacin - may represent the most cost-effective way to prevent niacin-mediated depletion of SAM and thus avoid hepatotoxicity (and possibly other adverse effects) while controlling homocysteine. Betaine also merits evaluation as an adjuvant to methotrexate and niacinamide therapies.

Therapeutic effect of oral nicotinamide on refractory uremic pruritus: a randomized, double-blind study
         (Omidian, Khazanee et al. 2013) Download
To determine the efficacy of oral nicotinamide with placebo to ameliorate uremic pruritus (UP), we conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, 4-week study in 50 chronic kidney disease patients with refractory UP. The patients were randomly allocated to nicotinamide tablet 500 mg twice/day or placebo. All anti-pruritic agents were discontinued at least two weeks before the study. All the patients completed the period of the study and their severity of pruritus was evaluated before the start of the study and at the end of each week for four weeks by using a traditional Visual Analogue Scale and a modified questionnaire method (pruritus score). The average pruritus score before administration of oral nicotinamide in the study group and that in the placebo group was 2.96 +/- 0.45 and 2.72 +/- 0.37, respectively. In the nicotinamide group, the average score of pruritus gradually reduced to 1.29 +/- 1.08 and in the placebo group it gradually decreased to 1.52 +/- 1.61 at the end of the fourth week. There was no significant difference between the reductions of pruritus in both groups, but the interaction effect using a linear mixed model was significant between drug and time (P <0.026). We conclude that increasing the time of application of nicotinamide sodium to more than four weeks may be more effective than placebo in reducing itching in uremic patients.

Insulin resistance and dysregulation of tryptophan-kynurenine and kynurenine-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide metabolic pathways.
            (Oxenkrug, 2013) Download
Insulin resistance (IR) underlines aging and aging-associated medical (diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension) and psychiatric (depression, cognitive decline) disorders. Molecular mechanisms of IR in genetically or metabolically predisposed individuals remain uncertain. Current review of the literature and our data presents the evidences that dysregulation of tryptophan (TRP)-kynurenine (KYN) and KYN-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) metabolic pathways is one of the mechanisms of IR. The first and rate-limiting step of TRP-KYN pathway is regulated by enzymes inducible by pro-inflammatory factors and/or stress hormones. The key enzymes of KYN-NAD pathway require pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), an active form of vitamin B6, as a cofactor. Deficiency of P5P diverts KYN-NAD metabolism from production of NAD to the excessive formation of xanthurenic acid (XA). Human and experimental studies suggested that XA and some other KYN metabolites might impair production, release, and biological activity of insulin. We propose that one of the mechanisms of IR is inflammation- and/or stress-induced upregulation of TRP-KYN metabolism in combination with P5P deficiency-induced diversion of KYN-NAD metabolism towards formation of XA and other KYN derivatives affecting insulin activity. Monitoring of KYN/P5P status and formation of XA might help to identify subjects at risk for IR. Pharmacological regulation of the TRP-KYN and KYN-NAD pathways and maintaining of adequate vitamin B6 status might contribute to prevention and treatment of IR in conditions associated with inflammation/stress-induced excessive production of KYN and deficiency of vitamin B6, e.g., type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, aging, menopause, pregnancy, and hepatitis C virus infection.

NAMPT is essential for the G-CSF-induced myeloid differentiation via a NAD(+)-sirtuin-1-dependent pathway.
            (Skokowa et al., 2009) Download
We identified nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), also known as pre-B cell colony enhancing factor (PBEF), as an essential enzyme mediating granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)-triggered granulopoiesis in healthy individuals and in individuals with severe congenital neutropenia. Intracellular NAMPT and NAD(+) amounts in myeloid cells, as well as plasma NAMPT and NAD(+) levels, were increased by G-CSF treatment of both healthy volunteers and individuals with congenital neutropenia. NAMPT administered both extracellularly and intracellularly induced granulocytic differentiation of CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitor cells and of the promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL-60. Treatment of healthy individuals with high doses of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide), a substrate of NAMPT, induced neutrophilic granulocyte differentiation. The molecular events triggered by NAMPT include NAD(+)-dependent sirtuin-1 activation, subsequent induction of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-alpha and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-beta, and, ultimately, upregulation of G-CSF synthesis and G-CSF receptor expression. G-CSF, in turn, further increases NAMPT levels. These results reveal a decisive role of the NAD(+) metabolic pathway in G-CSF-triggered myelopoiesis.

Excess nicotinamide inhibits methylation-mediated degradation of catecholamines in normotensives and hypertensives
            (Sun et al., 2012) Download
Nicotinamide and catecholamines are both degraded by S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation. Whether excess nicotinamide affects the degradation of catecholamines is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of nicotinamide on the methylation status of the body and methylation-mediated catecholamine degradation in both normotensives and hypertensives. The study was conducted in 19 normotensives and 27 hypertensives, using a nicotinamide-loading test (100 mg orally). Plasma nicotinamide, N(1)-methylnicotinamide, homocysteine (Hcy), betaine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, normetanephrine and metanephrine levels before and 5 h after nicotinamide loading were measured. Compared with normotensives, hypertensives had higher baseline (fasting) levels of plasma nicotinamide, Hcy and norepinephrine, but lower levels of plasma normetanephrine, a methylated norepinephrine derivative. Nicotinamide loading induced a significant increase in the levels of plasma N(1)-methylnicotinamide and norepinephrine, and a significant decrease in the levels of O-methylated epinephrine (metanephrine) and betaine, a major methyl donor, in both hypertensives and normotensives. Moreover, nicotinamide-loading significantly increased plasma Hcy levels, but decreased plasma normetanephrine levels in normotensives. The baseline levels of plasma epinephrine in hypertensives were similar to those of normotensives, but the post-nicotinamide-loading levels of plasma epinephrine in hypertensives were higher than those of normotensives. This study demonstrated that excess nicotinamide might deplete the labile methyl pool, increase Hcy generation and inhibit catecholamine degradation. It also revealed that hypertensives had an abnormal methylation pattern, characterized by elevated fasting plasma levels of unmethylated substrates, nicotinamide, Hcy and norepinephrine. Therefore, it seems likely that high nicotinamide intake may be involved in the pathogenesis of Hcy-related cardiovascular disease.

Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase in Human Diseases.
            (Zhang et al., 2011) Download
Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) was first reported as a pre-B-cell colony enhancing factor in 1994 with little notice, but it has received increasing attention in recent years due to accumulating evidence indicating that NAMPT is a pleiotropic protein such as a growth factor, a cytokine, an enzyme and a visfatin. Now, NAMPT has been accepted as an official name of this protein. Because of NAMPT's multiple functions in a variety of physiological processes, their dysregulations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of human diseases or conditions such as acute lung injury, aging, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis. This review will cover the current understanding of NAMPT's structure and functions with an emphasis on recent progress of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase's pathological roles in various human diseases and conditions. Future directions on exploring its Terra incognita will be offered in the end.

Dietary methyl-consuming compounds and metabolic syndrome.
            (Zhou et al., 2011) Download
The metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities including obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Although systemic oxidative stress and aberrant methylation status are known to have important roles in the development of metabolic syndrome, how they occur remains unclear. The metabolism of methyl-consuming compounds generates reactive oxygen species and consumes labile methyl groups; therefore, a chronic increase in the levels of methyl-consuming compounds in the body can induce not only oxidative stress and subsequent tissue injury, but also methyl-group pool depletion and subsequent aberrant methylation status. In the past few decades, the intake amount of methyl-consuming compounds has substantially increased primarily due to pollution, food additives, niacin fortification and high meat consumption. Thus, increased methyl consumers might have a causal role in the development and prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its related diseases. Moreover, factors that decrease the elimination/metabolism of methyl-consuming compounds and other xenobiotics (for example, sweat gland inactivity and decreased liver function) or increase the generation of endogenous methyl-consuming compounds (for example, mental stress-induced increase in catecholamine release) may accelerate the progression of metabolic syndrome. Based on current nutrition knowledge and the available evidence from epidemiological, ecological, clinical and laboratory studies on metabolic syndrome and its related diseases, this review outlines the relationship between methyl supply-consumption imbalance and metabolic syndrome, and proposes a novel mechanism for the pathogenesis and prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its related diseases.


Basu, TK, N Makhani, and G Sedgwick (2002), ‘Niacin (nicotinic acid) in non-physiological doses causes hyperhomocysteineaemia in Sprague-Dawley rats.’, Br J Nutr, 87 (2), 115-19. PubMedID: 11895163
Bingley, PJ, et al. (1993), ‘Nicotinamide and insulin secretion in normal subjects.’, Diabetologia, 36 (7), 675-77. PubMedID: 8359586
Blankfield, A (2013), ‘Kynurenine Pathway Pathologies: do Nicotinamide and Other Pathway Co-Factors have a Therapeutic Role in Reduction of Symptom Severity, Including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM).’, Int J Tryptophan Res, 6 (Suppl 1), 39-45. PubMedID: 23922501
Greenbaum, CJ, SE Kahn, and JP Palmer (1996), ‘Nicotinamide’s effects on glucose metabolism in subjects at risk for IDDM.’, Diabetes, 45 (11), 1631-34. PubMedID: 8866571
Hakozaki, T, et al. (2002), ‘The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer.’, Br J Dermatol, 147 (1), 20-31. PubMedID: 12100180
McCarty, MF (2000), ‘Co-administration of equimolar doses of betaine may alleviate the hepatotoxic risk associated with niacin therapy.’, Med Hypotheses, 55 (3), 189-94. PubMedID: 10985907
Oxenkrug, G (2013), ‘Insulin resistance and dysregulation of tryptophan-kynurenine and kynurenine-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide metabolic pathways.’, Mol Neurobiol, 48 (2), 294-301. PubMedID: 23813101
Skokowa, J, et al. (2009), ‘NAMPT is essential for the G-CSF-induced myeloid differentiation via a NAD(+)-sirtuin-1-dependent pathway.’, Nat Med, 15 (2), 151-58. PubMedID: 19182797
Sun, W. P., et al. (2012), ‘Excess nicotinamide inhibits methylation-mediated degradation of catecholamines in normotensives and hypertensives’, Hypertens Res, 35 (2), 180-85. PubMedID: 21918528
Zhang, LQ, DP Heruth, and SQ Ye (2011), ‘Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase in Human Diseases.’, J Bioanal Biomed, 3 13-25. PubMedID: 22140607
Zhou, SS, et al. (2011), ‘Dietary methyl-consuming compounds and metabolic syndrome.’, Hypertens Res, 34 (12), 1239-45. PubMedID: 21814217