A deficiency of niacin exerts a profound negative effect upon human cells. This nutrient is the key substance for facilitating hydrogen ion transfer within cells. In its coenzyme form niacin attaches to hydrogen molecules and transfers them in the process of energy generation. Since a lack of niacin leads to metabolic failure, virtually all body systems are negatively affected. The skin, mouth, and tongue all give evidence of early or severe deficiency. When you take this test, it is a good idea to have a portable mirror near by.