Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know this might seem contradictory since by definition a vitamin is an essential part of the diet but I have read that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, can be synthesised from L-tryptophan. Is it possible for a person to synthesise all their vitamin B3 requirements from one's dietary intake of L-tryptophan?

share|improve this question

According to one study:

It was calculated that if the excretory percentage of niacin metabolites in the urine were 60%, of the tryptophan ingested, the conversion factor would be a value of 67, meaning that is 67 mg of tryptophan is equal to 1 mg of niacin.

However, the study has a pretty low power with only 10 participants and an indirect measure of niacin.

Is it possible that a person could get all of their niacin from tryptophan? Probably - you just need to eat enough tryptophan, which is also an Essential Amino Acid. The body may preferentially keep Tryptophan (which it does not store) until Niacin runs out (which also cannot be stored).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.