Like many other members of the B-vitamin family, Niacin is well-known for its role in energy metabolism (breaking down substances in the body to yield energy), it plays a vital role in the energy metabolism of all cells in your body.
It helps the major organs in your body to function well. Another benefit of this water-soluble vitamin is its versatility.
You can eat it in its preformed state(i.e. niacin-foods have the actual nutrient) or it can be made by your body from the ordinary essential amino acid known as tryptophan.
There are other potential experimental benefits of niacin that will be discussed in this article.
While there are some known niacin side effects that could potentially be dangerous, there are also many benefits of taking it and consuming foods rich in this vital vitamin;
- It helps to reduce Insomnia
Insomnia is the difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep even when you have the chance to
It can be caused by psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances and certain biological factors.
You can take this vital vitamin to increase your (rapid eye movement) REM sleep and sleep efficiency.
Taking 100 and 500 milligrams about 20 minutes before bedtime usually works best. The amount needed varies from one person to another.
Adhering to the least amount of niacin that makes you to sleep is a good idea for you.
- It helps in treating Pellagra
Pellagra is a deficiency disease caused by the lack of nicotinic acid or its precursor tryptophan your diet.
It characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and mental disturbance and is often occurs when you depend on corn (i.e. you eat too much off corn).
The recommended daily allowance for this vital vitamin is 14 to 16 grams per day. It is abundant in red meat, fish, poultry, pasta and peanuts to name a few.
If you can’t afford to eat these food or you are too busy, there are also niacin supplements commercially available that are approved and safe that you can take under the supervision of your doctor.
- It reduces sensitivity of your skin to sun
Deficiency in some vitamins can cause Photodermatitis, a condition where your skin reacts abnormally to the sunlight, or the ultraviolet rays that come with it. Deficiency of this vital vitamin is one probable cause of this condition.
Even minimal exposure of your skin to sun can cause severe irritation. It can be characterized by intense itching and blistering. Taking a dose of niacin daily can alleviate the discomfort felt when exposed to sunlight.
Taking as little as 200 mg of this vital vitamin daily can help in decreasing the pain and eventually losing the sensitivity to light
- It Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol is a compound found in your body tissues. It is an important part of the cell membrane but high concentrations of it in the blood are thought to promote atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries where deposits of plaque and fatty material line the inner walls.
Triglycerides on the other hand are made of glycerol and three fatty acid groups that can be found in natural fats and oils.
If it is found in high concentration in your blood, it indicates a higher risk of stroke. Both cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids in the blood that can be lowered by taking this vital vitamin daily
- It helps in senility and memory loss
Senility is a disease or signs of weakness that you experience due to old age, especially the loss of mental faculties. Memory loss is common with people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease .
A study showed that niacin treatments led to improvements in cognitive scores and overall functions of people with Alzheimer’s while a deficiency led to mental confusion and dementia.
Niacin is an important part of DNA synthesis and repair. It is also vital in the growth and formation of nerve cells, cell signalling and antioxidant functions in your brain. These are all benefits that this vital vitamin presents against dementia, senility and memory loss
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It helps in motion sickness
Motion Sickness, also called kinetosis or travel sickness, is a condition where the visually perceived movement and the vestibular systems (or the inner balancing system of your body) sense of movement do not coincide.
Depending on the cause, Motion Sickness can also be called seasickness, airsickness or simulation sickness.
You can reduce this by taking this vital vitamin with papaya tablets a quarter of an hour before a flight, a boat ride or a car ride. There has been no proven reason why this works, but it does for most people, that is why it is worth a try.
- It helps in Reversing Heart Diseases
Heart Disease, or Cardiovascular Disease, generally refers to the condition of narrow or blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain, or stroke.
Other heart conditions involving the hearts muscles, valves or rhythm are also categorized under heart disease. There are several kinds of heart disease depending on the cause and the affected part.
If you have already suffered from cardiac arrest or heart disease, including having a previousheart attack , it can help to lower the risk of a reoccurrence taking place again
Coronary Artery Disease is the blockage of the coronary artery which may lead to heart attack.
Silent Ischemia is a kind of coronary artery disease where the heart muscle is reduced but there is no pain involved.
The pain or discomfort experienced when the heart does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients is called Angina.
This vital vitamin lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, lipids found in your blood that has very low lipoprotein density that is linked to heart disease and cancer.
It can also improve blood sugar problems that can lead to damage of your arterial walls. It helps to dilate blood vessels to improve circulation of oxygen and nutrients to deprived areas.
- It helps to treat arthritis and joint mobility
Arthritis is nothing more thanjoint pain. It can be classified into two types: inflammatory and degenerative, but most sufferers experience both.
It was suggested that niacinamide worked by accelerating the rate at which joints healed.
Reducing inflammation helps to lower the occurrence of symptoms of arthritis and to rebuild the joint cartilage that is crucial to mobility and strength.
The degenerative process is delayed because the joints that are deprived of a good blood and niacinamide effectively improve blood flow and energy delivery which leads to healing.
It is niacinamides ability to trigger actual repair of the joint surfaces that leads to the dramatic reduction in pain and inflammation.
Studies correlate that if you take this vital vitamin there will be changes in levels of joint pain, enhanced muscle strength , and fewer symptoms associated with muscle or joint fatigue.
- It helps good blood circulation
Cholesterol and triglycerides are both lipids found in your blood that, when in high density, causes restrictions and blockages in many blood vessels.
They are fat deposits that cling to the walls of the blood vessels and pile up eventually hindering proper blood flow.
This can cause other complications, especially heart diseases. This vitamin lowers the density of both cholesterol and triglycerides in your body by aiding the breaking down of accumulated cholesterol and triglyceride and flushing them away with the other wastes found in the blood.
It also reduces atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries.
- It improves Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder where there is confusion between reality and delusion. It affects how you thinks, feels and behave.
It is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life and poor focus to name a few.
It is usually treated with prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs which produce severe adverse effects.
Niacin as treatment for schizophrenia has been overlooked by the past generations despite evidences of effects.
There have been studies testing effect to people suffering from schizophrenia though the results are not enough to promote niacin as a commercially supported treatment to schizophrenia, but it shows a little difference if you take it.
- It helps in digestion
Deficiency of natural stomach acids can cause digestive problems like bloating, abnormal pain, heartburn and belching.
You need adequate production of stomach acid to prevent excessive bacterial and fungal growth in the small intestines.
It is believed that deficiency in vitamin-B3, also known as niacin. Some people under stress need more vitamin-B3 or else digestive problems arise.
This condition can be alleviated by supplementing every meal with doses of this vital vitamin. Higher dosage is needed for more severe cases. Higher doses of this vital vitamin per meal need medical supervision before being continued.
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It can help to remove Unwanted fat (Weightloss)
This great vitamin doesn’t relate directly to weightloss. But eating a well-balanced diet containing plenty of niacin and other B vitamins as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan gives you the best chance at successfully shedding pounds.
Furthermore, many niacin-foods help with weightloss because they provide other nutrients, such as protein and fiber, that aid in healthy weight management.
- It Increases Growth Hormone Levels
It’s a relatively unknown benefit, but Niacin has been found toincrease growth hormone levels. There are a lot of articles mentioning this fact, and they all base their belief on a study by Quabbe et al that took place in 1983.
In the study, subjects were injected with 500mg of this vital vitamin. After 4 hours their growth hormone levels had spiked massively, however when the Niacin was taken alongside dietary fats the growth hormone levels were nowhere near as high.
The fact that supplementing with this great vitamin increases human growth hormone production could lead to it being a very powerful supplement.
HGH can increase red blood cell production (by stimulating erythropoietin), improve muscle protein synthesis (which leads to increased muscle size and strength), and a whole host of other benefits.
- It Increases Leptin
Leptin is a hormone that creates satiety, or that feeling of fullness you get after a meal.Increasing your Leptin can have a beneficial effect on your physique as it will help you whilst dieting.
A 2007 study by Westphal et al found that men suffering from metabolic syndrome who took 1500mg of this vital vitamin had 26.8% more Leptin than the placebo group.
- It Can Help to Prevent Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)
Impotence, also called erectile dysfunction, is the inability of a man to sustain an erection.
This can interfere with the ability to have satisfying sexual intercourse and may be partially due to low blood flow and bad circulation, in addition to other factors like stress, fatigue, and illness.
Supplementing with this great vitamin can help to decrease impotence because it acts as a vasodilator that improves blood flow to your genital region
- It protects your red blood cells from damage
If you perform a lot of aerobic exercise you can increase red blood cell aging and actually change their shape! This leads to a condition known as sports anaemia.
You can avoid this through supplementing with this vital vitamin as this has been found to inhibit red blood cell damage.
- It enhances your skin and hair in several ways
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or niacinamide, is the multitasking ingredient you didn’t know was in your skin and hair products.
It has the ability to speed up your cell metabolism and cell turnover (a process that slows down with age), revealing younger skin.
It also helps heal wounds, repair sun damage and hyperpigmentation , and strengthen the skin barrier, making skin better able to retain moisture.
In addition, studies show that topical niacin reduces fine lines and wrinkles, red blotchiness, elasticity, and even acne.
Other research shows that niacinamide in a moisturizer provides substantial improvements in rosacea symptoms.
Rosacea is a chronic, incurable skin condition that causes red facial skin, flushing, and red bumps. Scientists are also looking at niacin for the prevention of skin cancer.
The repair and maintenance of healthy skin is dependent upon a supply of essential nutrients to the cells, as well as the removal of waste products, such as carbon dioxide.
This great vitamin increases capillary dilation, which increases circulation—carrying nutrients in and toxins out.
- It helps in fat metabolism
It blocks the release of fatty acids from your fat cells. Fewer fatty acids are passed through to the liver, resulting in fewer VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) particles.
Less VLDL leads to less small LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and higher HDL (high-density lipoprotein) helping you during exercise to reduce body fat.
Among benefits of this vital vitamin is the chemical processing of fats. Fatty acid building blocks for body structure that contain fat such as cell membranes and fat-based hormones like steroid hormones require niacin for synthesis.
- It regulates the activity of insulin in your body
It has repeatedly been shown to regulate insulin metabolism and blood sugar. However, experts cannot agree on the exact mechanism through which the vitamin affects blood sugar and insulin.
Some researchers support that a GTF (glucose tolerance factor ) molecule includes niacin and is essential for optimal insulin activity.
- It supports genetic processes
The primary genetic components in the cells called the DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) require niacin for their production. Niacin deficiency can cause damage to the DNA.
It is greatly needed by DNA to protect and prevent diseases such as cancer. It also play important role in DNA repair, cell signalling, vital to all healing processes and to maintain healthy cells.
Your body synthesizes two co-enzyme forms; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide(NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate(NADP). Both are essential in cell metabolism and energy production.
NAD is involved in redox reaction, i.e. transfer of electrons. It plays a major role in cellular metabolism, breaking down macromolecules carbs, fats, proteins, alcohol and resulting in the release of energy.
- It helps in treating Diabetes
This vital vitamin may be helpful for treating diabetes because of the role it plays in balancing blood sugar levels.
It’s believed that vitamin B3 in the form of niacinamide can help to improve the efficiency of certain oral drug treatments that are used to control diabetes.
Most diabetic patients are able to effectively control blood glucose levels better with the help of this vital vitamin, and can also lower their risk of high blood cholesterol and heart disease which is commonly seen in patients with diabetes.
- It Aids in energy Production
Like other B-complex vitamins, niacin converts food into energy. The two forms of niacin (inositol hexanicotinate and niacinamide (nicotinamide)) are used by your body to convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into usable energy.
In addition, it helps your body to synthesize starch stored in the liver and muscles for use as a source of energy.
- It helps in treating depression and anxiety (mechanisms of action)
First and foremost, you should know that depression and anxiety can actually be enhanced by poor diet and stress.
This vital vitamin should not be the first treatment if nutrition, exercise and stress are not being addressed.
Simply improving your diet, exercising regularly and taking time to meditate or relax could greatly improve problems with depression and anxiety.
There are more studies underway to understand how this great vitamin works for depression. But increasing intake of niacin foods or supplements combined with other treatment options or therapies can ease symptoms of depression.
- It helps in discharging excess vitamins in your body
As stated above, niacin is a water-soluble vitamin. It can be transported through the blood stream to various parts of your body including muscles where they remove excess vitamins through urination.
Therefore, it is advisable you consume a considerable amount of this vital vitamin to flush out excessive vitamins you might have received from other foods.
Various forms of niacin may have different effects on your body. For instance, Nicotinic acid and inositol hexaniacinate helps blood circulation in the body whereas Niacinamidehas prominent anti-inflammatory contents.
However, you may take vitamin B3 supplements or this vital vitamin with regular meals or liquids.
It gives little side effect if you take high dosage with supervision by health expert. It is best to consult a specialist or doctor and any other medical professional before you change your diet or take any supplements in any considerable way.