Niacin / Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin or nicotinic acid. Niacin has important benefits, as it helps to rid the body of toxic chemicals and it is crucial for the healthy function of numerous enzymes in the body. It promotes good digestion and healthy skin and helps protect the pancreas. Niacin is thought to help relieve acne, high blood pressure, depression and diarrhea. It is also used to lower high cholesterol.
How Much Niacin Do You Need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 16 mg a day for adult males and 14 mg a day for adult females. Pregnant and lactating women should consume 18 mg a day.
What Happens If You Don't Get Enough Niacin?
A slight deficiency of vitamin B3 has side effects, such as decreasing a person's tolerance for cold because it slows down the metabolism. A severe deficiency can causes serious effects, including pellagra, a disease with symptoms that can include light sensitivity, weakness, insomnia, dermatitis, diarrhea, mental confusion and skin lesions.
What Happens If You Get Too Much Vitamin B3?
Excessively large doses of the vitamin may result in liver damage, skin rashes and peptic ulcers. In large amounts, niacin overdose can lead to itching, headaches and low blood pressure.
Good Sources of Niacin
B3 can be found in animal sources such as liver, milk, eggs, fish and chicken. Vegetable sources include broccoli, carrots, avocados and sweet potatoes, and it is also plentiful in some nuts such as peanuts. The chart below outlines the B3 content of some common foods.
|Good Sources of Niacin|
|Beef liver||3.5 oz||14.4|
|Ground beef||3.5 oz||5.3|
|Peanut butter||2 tbs.||4.4|
|*mg of Niacin|
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