Obesity Epidemic - Could niacin be making us fat?

credit: National Cancer Institute PD

credit: National Cancer Institute

(Best Syndication News) - Niacin is supplemented in many grain products in the US, which may be promoting overeating and contributing to the obesity epidemic. Researchers from China investigated glucose levels and insulin resistance when children had excess consumption of nicotinamide, which is a form of vitamin B3. They found nicotinamide supplementation could be a factor in obesity increasing in children. The study was published in the May 21, 2010 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

The Chinese researchers had concluded that nicotinamide is involved in oxidative stress and promoted an increased appetite. With a glucose and niacin loading test, the children showed insulin resistance at the first measure, and then at the second measure there was hypoglycemia. The hypoglycemia is low blood sugar, which causes a person to get hungry. Insulin resistance is associated with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers suspect that the excess niacin in the diets of children in the US is a major factor for the rising obesity rate.

The researchers mapped out the correlation between obesity rates in the US and the required niacin supplementation in grains. Niacin fortification started in the US in the 1940’s with new standards being introduced in 1974 for even more fortifications for this vitamin. Niacin consumption has increased because of these contributions. The researchers said that in 2000, the average daily intake increase to 33 mg with is about double the US recommended daily allowance for the vitamin. The RDA for niacin is 14 mg for women and 16 mg for men. The reason governments have required niacin fortifications were to prevent a disease called pellagra, which is usually caused from a niacin deficiency.

These researchers suspect that niacin might have a role in the obesity epidemic because of the fortifications. Other research studies have found that niacin increases the appetite, and with a niacin deficiency it can decrease the appetite. Another study showed that niacin and a high-fat diet fed to rats caused the animals to get a fatty liver which is often found with in obese humans.

The researchers of this study suggest that there should be a re-evaluation of niacin fortifications in grains.

BY: N Wilson

Source: http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/full/v16/i19/2378.htm.

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