A niacin deficiency is a rare condition that happens when an individual cannot properly absorb niacin or its precursor amino acid, tryptophan. Niacin is also known to be called nicotinic acid and vitamin B3. As one of the eight B vitamins, niacin is imperative to the syntonization of carbohydrates into glucose, preserving nervous system health, and metabolizing proteins and fats. Niacin also positively affects circulation and cholesterol.
The amino acid tryptophan is important when it comes to niacin because the liver has the ability to convert it into niacin from protein-rich foods such as milk and meats. A niacin deficiency is most commonly caused by an inability to absorb niacin or tryptophan from food correctly as the normal human diet contains more than enough niacin in it.
Depression And Apathy
Characterized by intense hopelessness and sadness, depression is a mood disorder that often interferes with an individual's daily life. Apathy is characterized by a lack of enthusiasm, interest, or concern. A niacin deficiency can cause a deficiency of serotonin in the brain. Depression and apathy can happen as a result of less transient receptor potential channels in the brain. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter in charge of anxiety, fear, mood, and the general sense of well-being. Serotonin is made by proteins and cofactors much like other types of neurotransmitters.
When not enough protein is provided to the body through diet, a deficiency in the vitamins and minerals needed to create serotonin occurs. This deficiency includes niacin or vitamin B3. When the components needed to build the neurotransmitters are not available, a neurotransmitter imbalance occurs as a result. A combination of less TRP channels in the brain and an imbalance in neurotransmitters including serotonin can cause an individual to feel hopeless, sad, fearful, uninterested, and unconcerned.