Vitamin B3, also known as niacin and niacinamide is a part of the B Vitamins that can be found in foods such as certain kinds of meat, tuna fish, mushrooms and seeds.
Vitamin B3, which is a water soluble vitamin, comes in three forms, Niacinamide, Nicotinic acid and Inotisol Hexaniacinate. This vitamin has showed positive results when used to treat a wide range of health problems.
This vitamin is important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, healthy skin formation, metabolism, balancing blood cholesterol levels, brain function, preventing or treating diabetes.
Deficiency of this vitamin is not common among people who live in the developed countries because it is very easy to get it from your diet as many food products have been fortified with Niacin.
Niacin supplements are also available in health stores for use, but it is advised that you should consult your doctor if you think you need to supplement on niacin , as side effects could occur from over dosage of this vitamin.
Real Facts about Vitamin B3
The following information enlightens you on the benefits, uses, side effects and other things you need to know about vitamin B3.
- Aids In Digestion
Niacin assists in the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby supporting a healthy appetite, promoting a glowing and healthy looking skin and causing the nerves to function properly.
- Helps Prevent Heart Diseases
Because Niacin has a positive effect on cholesterol levels, it can help prevent heart disease.
This vitamin can help reduce oxidative stress and soreness. Oxidative tension and inflammation are involved in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
- Boosts Brain Function
Brain fog and psychiatric symptoms have been linked with niacin deficiency. Your brain needs this vitamin, as a part of the coenzymes NAD and NDP so as to get energy and function normally.
Vitamin B3 can be used to treat certain types of schizophrenia , as it aids in undoing the damages the deficiency has caused to the brain cells.
This vitamin has also been reported to have the ability to keep the brain healthy in patients of alzheimer’s disease. The results of this, however, has been mixed.
- Promotes and Maintains Healthy Skin
Vitamin B3 protects the skin cells from sun damage, whether it is used topically in cosmetics or taken orally.
- Treats Pellagra
Pellagra is a chronic symptom of Niacin deficiency. So taking a niacin supplement serves as a treatment for the disease.
Although Niacin deficiency is very rare in developed countries, it may occur along with alcoholism, anorexia, and Hartnup disease .
Niacin May Reduce Symptoms Of Arthritis: It’s also very effective in increasing joint mobility. Niacin enhances muscle strength and helps reduce joint and muscle fatigue which means it can successfully treat osteoarthritis.
Niacin is also a proper treatment for rheumatoid arthritis as it contains anti-inflammatory effects.
When sufficient vitaminB3 in consumed, worn down cartilage us rebuilt.
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Consumption of niacin in large quantities like 1100 or more milligrams daily has been proven to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol-LDL in the body, and also raise the good cholesterol-HDL. The good cholesterol prevents thickening of the artery walls and conditions like atherosclerosis.
- Sex Hormones
If you are suffering from sexual problems like erectile dysfunction, niacin is a good supplement for you. It helps in creating sex hormones, which is important for people with sexual disorder.
Niacin plays the role of converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.
Vitamin B3 helps treat diabetes and high blood sugar levels. Diabetic patients, at least most of them benefit from niacin as it effectively controls HBA1C levels.
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Niacin Has Its Own Side Effects
Over dosing on niacin causes side effects. Some of these repercussions are common and not serious, while some are very serious;
- Itching under the skin
- Mild dizziness
- Nausea, burping, diarrhea
- Sweating or chills
- Warmth, redness or tingly skin
Some more serious side effects include;
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Dark colored urine
- Severe stomach trouble
- Grayish stool color
- Serious allergic reactions
- Uneven or fast-pounding heartbeat
- Skin flushing that comes with dizziness
- Fainting, light headedness
- Shortness of breath
- Skin itching or rash
You can prevent or reduce the side effects of Vitamin B3
The side effects of this vitamin can be reduced or totally altered if you monitor yourself or in case of high doses talk to a physician.
If you are looking for how to alter the side effects of vitamin B3, try these methods;
- Start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it
The recommended dosage is around 250 to 300mg daily. Start with 100mg thrice daily at first till your body can handle 1000 or 2,000mg daily.
This should be done under the supervision of a doctor. If you increase your dosage slowly, the side effects will be less severe.
- Take your drug with meals
If you haven’t had anything for a while before using vitamin b3, it will be absorbed more quickly, which will make the side effects worse.
Take your niacin during meal so that you are not taking it on an empty stomach. Make sure you drink plenty of water too.
- Take quercetin along with your vitamin B3
According to some research reports, taking quercetin can help you reduce side effects of vitamin b3 or the flushing symptoms. Take quercetin 150mg before you take niacin.
- Use a low dose of aspirin with vitamin b3
If your body cannot tolerate niacin flush, take a low dosage of aspirin of around 80 -160mg with your niacin. If that doesn’t work, try 325mg.
Niacin Deficiency Could Be Life Threatening
Although the deficiency of these vitamin is uncommon in developed countries, it can be caused by alcoholism-which is the most common cause, anorexia, malnutrition, certain diseases, prolong use of antibiotics, digestive system disorders, long term use of isoniazid.
The deficiency of this vitamin occurs when your body is unable to absorb or lacks inadequate amount of the vitamin.
The symptoms of vitamin B deficiency includes;
- Pellagra, which is a very severe symptom and comes with digestive disorders, skin irritations and diarrhea.
- Canker sores
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Swollen mouth and bright red tongue
- Memory loss
- Thick, scaly pigmented rash on the skin
Deficiency Can Be Treated
You should also see a doctor if you notice any symptoms so that he can diagnose you and check for underlying medical conditions that may be the cause of the deficiency.
- Niacin Dosage and Interaction
Niacin supplements comes in various forms. They come in tablets, capsules, and extended release capsules and tablets.
The recommended dosage varies according to the form of capsule or tablet you are using and the medical condition you are treating.
It is important to see your doctor for guidance on the right dosage for you.
People with severe liver disease, peptic ulcer, or bleeding should avoid taking niacin or see a doctor before taking it.
When taking niacin, it is best to avoid taking colestipol, cholestyamine or you take them 4-6 hours before taking niacin.
However, the RDA for Vitamin B3 is 2-16 mg daily for children and it depends on age. 16 mg per day for men and 14mg for women. For pregnant women and nursing mums, 18mg and 17mg is recommended respectively.
Maximum daily intake for all adults is 35mg.
Your dosage however depends on why you are using it. In cases of higher dosage, a doctor is always involved.
- Can Be Gotten From Our Diet
As stated earlier in this article, you can get enough vitamin b3 from your diet. Niacin is a water soluble vitamin, which means that niacin is not stirred in the body, so you need to eat foods rich in vitamin B3 every day.
Foods that are rich in vitamin B3 include;
Mushroom, Cereal, Cooked Potato, Oatmeal, Whole wheat bread, Cottage cheese, Processed cheese, Milk, Liver (chicken, beef, turkey, pork), Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Pork, Tuna, Salmon, Sardines, Crabs, Pumpkin, Peanuts, Egg, Tempeh, Tofu, Almonds, Beans, Sunflower seeds, Bacon and Broccoli.
- Can Also Be Gotten From Supplements
Adequate amount of niacin can be gotten from supplements. You can get niacin supplements from health stores.
Talk to your doctor before taking niacin supplements. Niacin supplements could interact with drugs like blood thinners, blood pressure medicines. Antibiotics, and diabetes drugs.
- Niacin As An Anti-aging Agent
Niacin when taken orally or when added to cosmetics or skin lotions protects the skin from the sun’s damaging effects. Over exposure of the skin to the sun causes premature aging of the skin.
When applied topically niacin lightens the skin, removing age spots, prevents and smoothens wrinkles and fine lines, hydrates the skin and reduces redness.
Niacin also helps prevents and treats age related diseases like arthritis, memory loss, and depression. It lessens the risk of strokes. It improves cognitive function. And helps detoxify the body.
So if you are looking to look younger, fit and healthier, incorporate niacin rich foods into your diet and take niacin supplements. However, overdosing is not allowed.
Having adequate amount of vitamin b3 in your body is very important for your overall wellbeing.
Since Niacin is very good and useful in so many ways, everyone needs niacin from food to supplements for their body to function properly.
Eat balanced diet to get adequate amounts of nutrients for your body. Do not overdo niacin supplementation or any supplementation whatsoever.
If you know you need Vitamin B3 supplements, see a doctor to prescribe dosage for you.