The B vitamins have been established in peer-reviewed literature to serve necessary functions in maintaining human health and preventing a variety of disorders and chronic diseases. Most of these vitamins are obtained at the proper amounts in the FDA recommended diet, though there are some conditions that may inhibit absorption. Some of the harder to source B vitamins are recycled efficiently by the body, but niacin benefits must be realized through daily intake.
What is it?
This water soluble vitamin, also known as B3 and nicotinic acid, is used in an array of body functions only exceeded by common minerals. Though niacin is considered to be one of the essential human nutrients, meaning it must be obtained through the diet, the human body has a mechanism to create small amounts in a pinch. This is likely owing to the necessity of B3 in converting carbohydrates to glucose and metabolizing fats.
Inadequate levels will prompt the liver to convert the amino acid tryptophan into niacin, at an inefficient ratio of 60mg tryptophan to 1mg niacin. Absorption problems notwithstanding, it is one of the most abundant micronutrients. A great many common foods contain this vitamin, including the following, though it is important to note that it is higher in foods with more protein.
- Green vegetables
- Tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and avocados
- Fish, poultry, beef and eggs
- Whole grains (barley, oats, brown rice)
Benefits in the Diet
Dietary niacin has shown numerous benefits in clinical research, and it can treat several disorders. Most notably, researchers found it has a positive effect on cholesterol levels by blocking production of LDL, which will raise HDL. It has also been shown to delay insulin dependence in Type 1 diabetes and to work synergistically with the drug treatments commonly prescribed to treat this disease.
Niacin benefits extend to the bones and joints as well. The vitamin is necessary to create several key hormones related to stress and sex, and it allows for more efficient utilization of calcium, silica and other compounds used to build strong bones and supple cartilage.
Symptoms of Niacin Deficiency
Excess niacin intake can cause problems, if there is too much or not enough. However, too little can be fatal, so the following symptoms may indicate the need to err on the side of caution. As with all micronutrient deficiencies, symptoms will first appear in milder forms and progressively worsen. Physically, a lack of B3 will lead first to fatigue, indigestion, vomiting and canker sores. Niacin depression is also not uncommon in the early stage.
Pellagra is the medical term for advanced deficiency, and these symptoms help to underline the many uses of B3 in the body. The skin will become photo-sensitive and develop a thick, dark rash. Severe headaches and fatigue will be followed by vomiting and diarrhea. Chronic depression will continue to apathy, memory loss, and bouts of disorientation. Left untreated, pellagra ends in death.
Pellagra has historically been the result of heavy reliance on foods that contain very little benefits, such as maize. Modern causes are usually found in conditions that inhibit digestion and/or cause excess urination. Alcoholism, stomach and small intestine cancers, and bariatric surgeries are potential causes. Some pharmaceuticals will also inhibit niacin absorption. These are all treatable conditions through oral or IV supplementation.
The recommended daily allowance for this supplementation is 14mg for women and 16mg for men, each day. The most effective way to achieve this amount is through whole food sources. Barring this option, supplements are available that exceed the RDA in order to ensure adequate absorption. Supplements may be used in the following conditions:
- Schizophrenia treatments
- Alcohol or drug detox programs
- Crohn’s disease
- Following bariatric surgery
- Peripheral artery disease treatment
Does niacin work for these and other conditions? It very well may, given the central role in the body, but research has not confirmed this one way or another.
Benefits or Side Effects of Excess Intake?
The most common side effect is referred to as the niacin flush. Not generally considered harmful, it is an unpleasant experience and can discourage people from experiencing benefits. Symptoms may be as innocuous as reddening and increased temperature of the face and other thin skin areas, itching and tingling in the arms and legs, and sweating and shallow breathing. The cause is dilation of peripheral blood vessels that temporarily lowers blood pressure.
Inositol hexanicotinate is a form of niacin that is used to stop these niacin flushing symptoms. B3, or nicotinic acid, is bound to the inositol molecule. The literature is unclear on whether this form offers the same benefits, primarily because it is unknown how efficient the body is at releasing B3 from inositol bonds. Flushing can also be avoided by beginning with lower doses and build up until the level of tolerance has been reached. This is recognized as safe, because niacin deficiency takes time to develop.
Abdominal pain, the symptoms of jaundice and liver failure will result from excess intake over long periods. Abnormal heart rhythms, weakness and chest tightness are likewise indicative of excess. Prolonged excess can lead to death as surely as prolonged deficiency. Supplements should be taken with the advice of a medical physician. Besides monitoring symptoms and adjusting dosage, they can perform serum and urine tests to ensure niacin benefits.
This vitamin has tremendous benefits for our body and it is water soluble. Niacin in the body will react to convert carbohydrates into sugar which will later be burned sugar and produce energy for daily activities. Below are list of benefits as below:
1. Breaking down protein and fat in the body.
2. It has the function of removing hazardous chemicals / toxic from the body.
3. Helping sexual dysfunction in men.
4. Improve blood circulation.
5. Reduce the cholesterol content in blood.
6. For anti-aging ingredient.
7. Reduce the incidence of acne.
8. Prevent skin cancer.
Of course, the above list may be incomplete. But to give you a vitaminB3 importance in our bodies. Recently, niacin has been found to function for the treatment of certain diseases, but with the high dose. It is consumed in high doses can cause niacin flush. Because of the high risk of being poisoned, then the consumption of high doses should be under the supervision of expert doctors.
Niacin is the research developed by the dermatologist to dig deeper into what are the benefits of this supplement.
Food sources that contain vitamin B3/Niacin:
2. Pig meat (not allowed for Muslims).
You can decide to meet your needs for this vitamin from food B3 above food or food supplement drink with B3. So that your body needs vitamin B3 will be fulfilled because the vitamin is very important and has many benefits as mentioned above.