Dietary factors have long been known to play a major role in the development of obesity. The global increasing prevalence of obesity suggests that there should be some common changes in diet worldwide. In fact, a significant, yet, often neglected worldwide change in dietary factors in the past few decades is the food fortification-induced marked increase in the content of niacin. However, the effect of long-term exposure to excess niacin on human health remains to be unclear.
A research team from China examined the role of excess nicotinamide in glucose metabolism using co-loading of glucose and nicotinamide test. They proved that excess niacin intake-induced biphasic response, i.e., insulin resistance in the early phase and hypoglycemia in the late phase, may be a primary cause for the increased appetite in obesity. Their study will be published on May 21, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
The study also revealed for the first time 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, in which niacin fortification-induced sharp increase in niacin contents in grain products may play a major role. Reducing niacin intake and facilitating niacin elimination through sweat-inducing physical activity may be a key factor in the prevention and treatment of obesity.
It seems that the long-term safety of niacin fortification needs to be carefully evaluated.
Reference: Li D, Sun WP, Zhou YM, Liu QG, Zhou SS, Luo N, Bian FN, Zhao ZG, Guo M. Chronic niacin overload may be involved in the increased prevalence of obesity in US children. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(19): 2378-2387
Correspondence to: Shi-Sheng Zhou, PhD, MD, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Medical College, Dalian University, Dalian 116622, Liaoning Province, China. [email protected]
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About World Journal of Gastroenterology
World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H. pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2008 IF: 2.081. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.