In a nutshell
Niacin (vitamin B3)
Vitamin B3 health benefits
It has been shown that niacin decreases "bad" cholesterol and increases "good" cholesterol in the blood. It is beneficial in the relief of atherosclerosis and in the improvement of blood circulation - thus, vitamin B3 helps to prevent future heart attacks in former sufferers. This nutrient is also needed for healthy hair, skin, and eyes. B3 is necessary for healthy nerves function, as well.
Those who are deficient in this nutrient may feel very weak or have muscle weakness. These individuals may develop more skin infections and digestive problems and have a loss of appetite. The disease pellagra, with symptoms of dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia, often occurs due to deficiency in this nutrient, as well as due to deficiency of other B vitamins.
People who are most likely to develop a deficiency in this essential nutrient are those who have:
• Eating disorders;
• Disease of malabsorption;
• Poor nutrition or malnutrition;
• Little or no sources of meat in the diet;
• Certain medical conditions and take certain medications.
Vitamin B3 overdose
It is difficult to overdose on this vitamin from natural food sources, though it may occur with supplement use. Safe upper limits are set at 35 mg per day for the general population to reduce the risk of certain side effects, such as flushing. Overdose symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, as well as dizziness and itching. Other potentially dangerous side effects include feeling faint, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, and symptoms that resemble the flu.
Certain medications may interact with Vitamin B3, so special care should be taken, especially with drugs for cholesterol, blood thinning, high blood pressure, or heart problems. It is okay to take supplements higher than the upper limit of 35 mg per day under the advice and supervision of your physician, but notify your health care provider of any noticeable side effects.
Daily Recommended Intake
Recommended daily allowance for this vitamin:
• Infants 2 mg – 4 mg;
• Children 6 - 12 mg;
• Teenagers and adults 14- 16 mg;
• Pregnant and breastfeeding women 17 mg.
Sources of vitamin B3
The following foods have high amounts of vitamin B3:
• Yeast extract (100g) - 125 mg;
• Red Salmon (smoked) (100g) -22.7 mg;
• Tuna (cooked)(100g) - 18.7;
• Pink salmon (cooked) (100gr)-9.6 mg;
• Liver (beef- cooked) (100g) - 17.5 mg;
• Peanuts (oil roasted) (100gr) - 13.8 mg;
• Poultry food products (cooked) (100g) -9 mg;
• Sunflower Seeds (100gr) - 8.3 mg;
• Beef, pork (cooked) (100gr) - 8 mg;
• Portobello mushrooms (grilled) (100gr) -6.3mg;
Other important sources of Niacin:
• Avocado, Green peas, leafy vegetables, broccoli;
• Whole grain products, nuts;
• Dairy products.