The body produces this water solvent vitamin with the help of amino acid tryptophan. In case of deficiency of B1, B2 or B6 the body is not capable of producing niacin from tryptophan . It is recommended that vitamins B are taken together for better results.
Niacin also called vitamin B3 helps turn the food you eat into the energy you need. Niacin is important for the development and function of the cells in your body. (1)(2)
Function of vitamin B3
B3 is essential in production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone sex hormones. B3 is essential for healthy nerves and healthy brain function it helps regulate cholesterol levels in the blood and reduces risk of cardio vascular diseases. Niacin supports the amount of good cholesterol in the body and can tribute to lovering blood pressure. It can help avoid or diminish migraine headaches. Can boost energy by helping with digestion and make skin smoother. Can help with oral soars and bad breath and supports epilepsy medication when niacin is taken alongside the medication.
If you have high cholesterol niacin might help. If your skin is sensitive to sunlight it might indicate lack of niacin.
Foods rich in vitamin B3 Niacin
lean meat, fish, chicken, liver, kidneys, avocado, dates and prunes.
Here is a full list of foods that contain niacin.
Signs of deficiency
Niacin deficiency causes pellagra. The main symptoms of pellagra are dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. This is because niacin deficiency is most noticeable in body parts with high rates of cell turnover, such as your skin or gastrointestinal tract.
Dermatitis related to pellagra usually causes a rash on the face, lips, feet, or hands. In some people, dermatitis forms around the neck, a symptom known as Casal necklace.
Additional dermatitis symptoms include:
- red, flaky skin
- areas of discoloration, ranging from red to brown
- thick, crusty, scaly, or cracked skin
- itchy, burning patches of skin
- Lack of niacin can bring about negative personality changes(3)
Signs of excess
The niacin that food naturally contains is safe. However, dietary supplements with 30 mg or more of nicotinic acid can make the skin on your face, arms, and chest turn red and burn, tingle, and itch. These symptoms can also lead to headaches, rashes, and dizziness.
If you take nicotinic acid as a medication in doses of 1,000 or more mg/day, it can cause more severe side effects. These include:
- Low blood pressure (which can increase the risk of falls)
- Extreme tiredness
- High blood sugar levels
- Nausea, heartburn, and abdominal pain
- Blurred or impaired vision and fluid buildup in the eyes
Niacin in the form of nicotinamide has fewer side effects than nicotinic acid. However, at high doses of 500 mg/day or more, nicotinamide can cause diarrhea, easy bruising, and can increase bleeding from wounds. Even higher doses of 3,000 mg/day or more can cause nausea, vomiting, and liver damage.(4)
Recommended daily dosage
Adults 12-20 mg