The niacin your body uses comes from food. But your liver also makes niacin from the amino acid (smallest unit of protein) tryptophan. Therefore, it’s important to consume both niacin and tryptophan.

Niacin can be absorbed through your stomach, but a majority is absorbed through your small intestine. And this presents a problem for those with gluten sensitivity. Because gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, which leads to incomplete digestion and nutrient malabsorption.

We know that those with celiac disease experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially before implementing a gluten-free diet. And intestinal malabsorption is a proposed mechanism of pellagra, a disorder caused by niacin deficiency.

In addition, diarrhea is a common symptom of gluten sensitivity. This can further contribute to a niacin deficiency as the niacin is flushed out of the body instead of being absorbed.

Plus, gluten-induced malabsorption increases your risk of copper deficiency. And copper deficiency can affect the conversion of tryptophan to niacin in your liver.

It’s also important to note that hormones (e.g., insulin and estrogen) modulate the pathway used to convert tryptophan to niacin. And gluten can disrupt the balance of these hormones.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This video is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is strictly intended for educational purposes only. Additionally, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician. Dr. Osborne is not a medical doctor. He does not treat or diagnose disease. He offers nutritional support to people seeking an alternative from traditional medicine. Dr. Osborne is licensed with the Pastoral Medical Association.

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