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Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Oct;33(10):2157-67.

Excretion of tryptophan-niacin metabolites by young men: effects of tryptophan, leucine, and vitamin B6 intakes.


Three human metabolic studies, each 35 days in length, were performed to investigate the relationship between tryptophan intake and the proportion of dietary tryptophan converted to niacin and the effect of supplements of L-leucine and vitamin B6 on this conversion. Nine college men consumed a basal diet that provided 8 mg of niacin, 1 mg of vitamin B6, and either 245, 548, or 845 mg of tryptophan from proteins per day. During each 35-day study, for one 15-day period basal diet alone was consumed, for another 15-day period basal diet plus 10 g of L-leucine per day was consumed, and for the last 5-day period, 20 mg of vitamin B6 per day was added to the diets of both groups. N1-methylnicotinamide, N1-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide, and quinolinic acid were measured in 24-hr urine samples. There were no significant or consistent effects of L-leucine or vitamin B6 supplements on the excretin of any of the metabolites measured. The proportion of tryptophan converted to niacin tended to increase as tryptophan consumption increased; however, this change was small and was probably not significant over the range of tryptophan intakes studied. The average conversion ration of tryptophan to niacin was approximately 72:1 in these subjects.

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