Get To Know Your Vitamins – Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2017-01-23T20:54:57-08:00

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3, also commonly referred to as niacin, is water soluble, just like the other B complex vitamins. This means it cannot be stored in the body and must be replaced each day. Vitamin B3 comes in two forms- niacin (also called nicotinic acid) and niacinamide. The two popular sources are from peanuts and brewers yeast.

How it helps.

The body needs Vitamin B3 to convert protein, fat and carbohydrates to energy. It also helps improve circulation and reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and it plays a role in ridding the body of harmful chemicals.

What happens if you don’t get enough?

Niacin deficiency can lead to a disease called Pellagra that affects the skin, digestive system and nervous system. Symptoms include:

■ cracked, scaly skin red,
■ swollen tongue
■ diarrhea and vomiting
■ headache
■ fatigue
■ mental confusion

This disease is quite rare in western societies, however if untreated, pellagra can be fatal. Alcoholism is the main cause of vitamin B3 deficiency in North America.

How much (dosage) should you take?

■ 14 years and older: 16 mg per day
■ 9 to 13 years: 12 mg per day

■ 14 years and older: 14 mg per day
■ 9 to 13 years: 12 mg per day
■ during pregnancy: 18 mg per day
■ while breastfeeding: 17 mg per day

What happens if you take too much?

The amount of vitamin B3 obtained from foods is not known to cause any toxicity or adverse effects. When large amounts are taken as a supplement, niacin can cause:
■ headache
■ flushing
■ burning and tingling of the face, neck and hands

When taken to lower cholesterol, niacin should only be used under medical supervision. In large doses it can affect the eyes and liver.

Can drugs interact with it?

■ Oral contraceptives can reduce the body’s ability to absorb niacin.
■ Niacin may reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotic tetracycline, if taken at the same time.
■ The use of nicotine patches to help stop smoking may make the flushing caused by niacin worse.
■ Niacin can interfere with the action of medicines including:
• some blood pressure medications
• some diabetes medicines
• warfarin (a blood thinner)

Sources of Vitamin B3

vitamin b3 food chart

Vitamins and Minerals: A Self-Hep Guide

This book provides a simple overview of the common vitamins and minerals available to help you supplement your diet when appropriate.
The information within this book is basic and does not claim to provide in any way comprehensive information of the subject matter but hopefully it can point you in the right direction when you need more information. All the information has come primarily from the government and authoritative bodies recommending daily intakes and pinpointing the limits of dosages per day. Experts in the field have tried to make the information easy to follow in this book.

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