Niacin for Companion Animals

Cat and Dog
  • Niacin Introduction

    In 1971, Lonza began producing high quality Niacin in Visp, Switzerland. Over the past four decades, we have invested to align production with market, environmental and quality demands. Today, we continue that tradition and are committed to being the pre-eminent supplier to the companion industry based on our extensive experience and our high quality standards.

    As the world’s largest manufacturer of vitamin B3, Lonza covers more than half of the total vitamin B3 demand in the global feed and food industries. Lonza’s free-flowing Niacin and Niacinamide are the trusted brands for batch-to-batch consistency and full traceability.

  • What is Niacin?

    Niacin is a collective term used to describe both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. It is also known as the water soluble Vitamin B3. Niacin is essential for proper carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism because it is a component of the coenzymes NAD (nicotinamide dinucleotide) and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate). These coenzymes are key metabolic intermediates which help furnish energy to the body and it is estimated that there are more than 40 biochemical reactions involving these coenzymes. The biochemical functions of NAD and NADP are of paramount importance to normal tissue integrity; particularly for skin, the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system.

    Deficiencies of dietary Niacin are characterized by severe metabolic disorders in the skin and digestive system. Typically, the first signs of deficiency appear as loss of appetite, retarded growth, weakness, digestive disorders and diarrhea.

  • Sources of Niacin

    Niacin can be found in many ingredients that are commonly used in petfood formulations. However, the bioavailability of Niacin from plant derived ingredients is extremely low. Cooked and uncooked cereals, such as corn, wheat and rice do contain Niacin, but 70% is unavailable because much of the Niacin present is in bound forms. Similarly, about 40% of the Niacin found in oilseeds is considered bound and unavailable. It is commonly understood that the Niacin contribution from cereal sourced ingredients is ignored or given a value less than one-third of the reported total niacin in the ingredient (National Research Council, NRC, 2006).

    A small portion of the Niacin requirement of the body can be met by endogenous synthesis utilizing the amino acid tryptophan as the precursor. However, many ingredients that can be used in petfood formulations contain relative excesses of the amino acid leucine. Leucine is an antagonist to the metabolic conversion of the amino acid tryptophan to Niacin and thus may lead to lower rates of endogenous synthesis of Niacin (NRC, 1987).

    Additionally, since Niacin is a water soluble vitamin, loss during the manufacturing process of the petfood formulation can be excessive. Therefore, supplementation of Niacin to petfood formulations is essential.

  • Fortification Considerations

    Dogs have the ability to synthesize a small amount of their Niacin requirement from the amino acid tryptophan. Consequently, the daily requirement for dogs is lower than that of cats. In formulations with low levels of tryptophan, the daily requirement of an adult dog can be achieved with an intake of 225 μg of Niacin per kg of body weight. For a growing dog, it can be achieved with an intake of 450 μg of Niacin per kg of body weight. In 2006, the NRC established a suggested recommendation of 0.75 mg of Niacin per 1,000 kcal of metabolizable energy (ME) for all dogs and life stages.

    Niacin supplementation in cat formulations is extremely important. Cats do not have the capability to synthesize any of their Niacin requirement from the amino acid tryptophan. The NRC (2006) suggests a minimum requirement of 40 mg Nicotinic acid per kg of diet or 8.0 mg of Nicotinic acid per 1,000 kcal ME of diet for all cats and life stages.