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Reducing Niacin Could Help Prevent Obesity

According to the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 63.1 percent of adults in the United States were overweight or obese in 2009, and 18.3 percent of young Americans are obese. Obesity is still on the rise, which suggests that there should be some common changes in diet worldwide.

One of the reasons behind the rise in obesity could be the increase in the content of niacin, an organic compound that is converted to nicotinamide in the body. Although the effect of long-term exposure to excess niacin is still unclear, a research team from China examined the role of excess nicotinamide in glucose metabolism. Using co-loading of glucose and nicotinamide, they proved that excess niacin intake may be a primary cause for increased appetite in obesity.

The study, which was published on May 21, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, also revealed that the obesity prevalence among US children and adolescents increased in parallel with the increase of the per capita niacin consumption with a 10-year lag. This suggests that a sharp increase in niacin among grain products may play a major role.

The authors conclude that reducing niacin intake and eliminating niacin through exercise may be a key factor in the prevention and treatment of obesity.

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