Home » Vitamins » Vitamin B Complex » B3 – Niacin

B3 – Niacin

What is Niacin?

Niacin is one of the many water-soluble B vitamins that is needed for the good overall health of the human body.

What does Niacin do?

Niacin is helpful to the body in a variety of ways. When a person has the right amount of niacin in the body, their energy levels are adequately stocked so that accomplishing daily tasks won’t be so difficult. And usually, the human diet consists of foods that contain niacin and the daily requirement is met. On top of niacin being necessary in helping the body convert foods into energy, doctors recommend Niacin to help aid in the reduction of cholesterol naturally, help the digestive system, increase circulation of the blood, and aid the nervous system.

Though mostly recognized for its effects and ability to treat and prevent the disease of deficiency called pellagra, what is usually manifested by certain skin diseases; Niacin is beneficial to many mental disorders and other terrible symptoms that follow.

Not only does Niacin help with energy, cholesterol, skin diseases, etc., it helps the body make sex and stress-related hormones in the glands while improving circulation.

Where is Niacin found?

Niacin is naturally found in vegetables, dairy products, nuts, poultry, beef, and seeds as well as various kinds of fungi, though the chief food sources of vitamin B3 are found in beets, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, fish, beef kidneys, salmon, tuna, swordfish, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. Cereals and breads and are usually niacin fortified. In addition to those same foods, red meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs; contain the amino acid called tryptophan, which the body converts into niacin. Niacin is also sold in vitamin and drug stores as supplements.

What happens if someone is Niacin (B3) deficient?

All of your body’s needs for niacin or B3 can be met through your daily diet. That is why it is rare for anyone to be niacin deficient. But a severe deficiency can cause pellagra, as earlier stated. This condition is known by diarrhea, dementia, and scaly, cracked skin. However, alcoholism is one of the main causes of a vitamin B3 deficiency. Now there are some cases where a mild deficiency occurs and that’s usually when a person’s symptoms include depression, fatigue, indigestion, canker sores, a bright red, swollen tongue, and vomiting. It is normally treated with niacin supplements and a well balanced diet.

What happens if someone takes too much Niacin (B3)?

Niacin is a vitamin that is commonly and accidentally overdosed. And since it is so common, a doctor should be the one to prescribe the correct dosage. If a healthy person consumes too much of the vitamin, the face, ears, and possibly the whole body can become bright red, hot and itchy. If a reaction occurs, some over-the-counter medicines will help alleviate the symptoms. An unhealthy person, such as a diabetic, should not only consult their doctor but they should be aware of large doses of niacin because it can raise the blood sugar. As with any mineral or vitamin, overdosing can possibly cause toxic shock, and possibly death and a person should always consult their doctor or physician for their recommend dosage.

Helpful food sources, supplements and additional benefits of Niacin (B3)

Wheat bran, kidney, liver, beef, and heart products, pork chops, turkey, chicken, peanuts, breakfast cereals, and even fish, are all foods rich in B3.

Studies have shown Niacin to be effective in lowering risks of heart disease, atherosclerosis, cataracts and Alzheimer’s. It is available in several different supplement forms as well as capsules or tablets and each form may have a different effect. But as always, because drug interaction can be dangerous with any medication and vitamins, niacin as well as other supplements should be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

 

AIs (Adequate Intakes)

Infants
0-6 months
7-12 months
Milligram per Day
2
4

RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances)

If you are treated with hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, you may need extra niacin.
Niacin is best taken with the B group vitamins and vitamin C.

Children
1-3 years
4-8 years
Milligram per Day
6
8
Males
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

12
16
16
16
16
16
Females
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

12
14
14
14
14
14
Pregnancy
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

18
18
18
Lactation
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

17
17
17

Source: USDA Dietary Reference Intakes