13 Truths about Vitamin b3 You Must Know
Vitamin B3 is one of 8 B vitamins. It is medically known as niacin (nicotinic acid) and has two other forms, niacinamide (nicotinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate, which have different effects from niacin
You can meet all of your body’s needs for this nutritional vitamin through diet.
It is rare for anyone in the developed world to have deficiency of this nutritional vitamin. In the U.S., alcoholism is the main cause of vitamin B3 deficiency.
Very high doses of this nutritional vitamin, available by prescription, have been studied to prevent or improve symptoms of the following conditions.
The most important benefit of this great vitamin is its ability to lower cholesterol levels. It releases energy into your body cells.
You may get it in supplement stores, but it is always sensible to buy niacin specifically instructed by your doctor.
Niacin vitamin b3 has been studied extensively and shows positive results treating a wide range of many commonly occurring health problems
Truths about this nutritional vitamin
The following information below gives you all the facts on this essential vitamin, how it is beneficial to your body, how to take, how to avoid the side effects and many more;
This nutritional vitamin provides you with a lot of health benefits
Some of the beneficial properties are explained in greater detail below.
Digestion: As a member of B-complex vitamins, it aids in the normal functioning of your digestive system, promoting a healthy appetite, properly functioning nerves, and a glowing skin.
Pellagra: If you have weak muscles, digestive problems, skin irritation or pellagra may have a severe vitamin B3 deficiency. You need to administer an increased dosage of this nutritional vitamin supplements into your diet.
Cholesterol: Intake of large quantities of this great vitamin, which would be 1100 or more milligrams in a day, has been proven to considerably reduce the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL cholesterol, which prevents the thickening of artery walls and conditions like atherosclerosis.
Water-soluble: It is a water-soluble vitamin that can travel through your blood stream and your body has the option to discharge excess vitamins through the process of urination.
Therefore, such vitamins may be administered to human beings through both food and liquid, since your body does need a constant supply.
Sex: This great vitamin helps in creating sex hormones if you are suffering from sexual disorders like impotence and erectile dysfunction.
Energy: It performs the important function of converting proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.
Mental Health: Even mental derangement and associated conditions may be cured with the administration of this vitamin supplements.
Diabetes: It is known to treat diabetes and high blood sugar levels. Most diabetic patients are able to effectively control HBA1C levels with the help of this nutritional vitamin.
- It helps to improve joint pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Additionally, it has been linked to a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Other conditions which may be prevented by consuming vitamin B3 are diabetes, heart disease and cataracts.
- It participates also in antioxidants mechanisms to neutralize toxins.
- Vitamin B3 when taken as a supplement can reduce the intensity of migraine headaches and encourage good mood.
- It is a part of the B group vitamins and therefore is required to the performance of many vital processes in our body.
- It aids blood circulation in your body.
- It protects your cells and tissues from damage due to free radicals
- It aids with the proper functioning of your nervous system
- It helps lipid production and regulation
- It helps in proper functioning of stomach fluid
- It gives you some signs and symptoms if you are deficient this great vitamin
The deficiencies of this nutritional vitamin are rare, and it mostly occur when you eat too much of corn. Excessive intake of corn, sugar, coffee and alcohol may interfere with the absorption of the vitamin.
Symptoms of mild deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, and depression general weakness, loss of appetite, muscle aches, dizziness, headaches, depression, and sleep disturbances.
Severe deficiencies include: rash, dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia, a bright red swollen tongue, severe rashes, lack of coordination, dizziness, sensitivity to light, paralysis, hair loss, edema, enlarged heart, insomnia, mental confusion, followed by death if you did not attend to it.
The deficiency of this nutritional vitamin causes pellagra, a condition that is often accompanied by several unpleasant symptoms, such as skin irritation, digestive problems and diarrhea.
If you suffer from malnutrition, alcoholism or carcinoid tumors, you are slightly more at risk for developing deficiency this great vitamin.
You should take the recommended dosage of Vitamin B3 to avoid side effects
The recommended daily dosages for niacin and niacinamide vary based on both age and sex.
From birth to the age of 6 months, infants should get about 2 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B3 per day.
Between the ages of 7 months and 12 months, that amount should be set at about 4 mg a day.
For children ages 1 to 3, 6 mg of vitamin B3 a day is the recommendation
From ages 4 to 8, about 8 mg per day
From age 9 to 13, about 12 mg a day
At the age of 14, the vitamin B3 daily dosage should be about 16 mg per day for boys and 14 mg a day for girls.
You should adhere to these dosages, unless you develop a certain conditions or become pregnant.
The conditions that may require differing amounts of vitamin B3 include high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and cataracts.
These conditions are generally the cause for a higher recommended daily dosage. Always consult a physician before changing your daily dose of this essential vitamin from the basic recommendation for your age group and sex.
(4) It interacts with other medications
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the following drugs may lower Vit b3 levels in your body: Azathioprine (Imuran), Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin), Cycloserine (Seromycin), Fluorouracil, Levodopa and carbidopa, and Mercaptopurine (Purinethol)
Some medicines may interact with this nutritional vitamin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following;
- Anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin) because side effects such as bleeding may occur.
- Fibrates (e.g. gemfibrozil, fenofibrate) or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) because side effects such as serious muscle aches and weakness may occur.
- Medicine for high blood pressure (e.g. diltiazem) or angina (e.g. nitroglycerin) because side effects, such as dizziness and increased blood pressure may occur.
- Anti-seizure medicationsPhenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote), Isoniazid.
- It also interacts or interferes with Tetracycline, aspirin, carbamazepine (Tegretol), mysoline (Primidone), anticoagulants (blood thinners), blood pressure medications, alpha-blockers, cholesterol-lowering medications, bile-acid sequestrants ( include colestipol), statins, nicotine patches, diabetes medications and insulin.
You will experience some side effects if you take this nutritional vitamin in excess
Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it is removed from your body during urination. That typically prevents any problems with overdoses of this nutritional vitamin.
However, if you have high level of this great vitamin in your body, this can cause serious health problems. Side effects associated with large doses of this nutritional vitamin include; peptic ulcers, skin rashes and liver damage.
This can happen when it is prescribed for high cholesterol or to treat other diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease etc. so be very careful when taking this vitamin.
In very rare cases, a normal dosage of it can cause the skin to become flushed, dizziness, intestinal gas, an upset stomach or mouth pain.
There are some conditions that can be worsened by taking this great vitamin. If you have liver disease, kidney disease, stomach ulcers or intestinal ulcers, gallbladder disease, unstable angina or gout then you should avoid consuming too much vitamin B3.
So consult your physician if you are at risk for any of these conditions.
You can reduce or stop the side effects of this nutritional vitamin
You can avoid total side effects of this nutritional element if you monitor yourself on the prescribed dose and you consult your doctor if there is need for high doses;
Start with a low dose and increase your dosage slowly
The initial recommended dose is around 250 to 300 mg. Try 100 mg three times per day at first, and work your way up to as much as 1,000 or 2,000 mg. When you increase more slowly, the negative effects symptoms will be less severe.
Take it with meals
If you haven’t eaten for a while, this nutritional vitamin will be absorbed more quickly, which can make the side effects worse.
Take your dose at meal times to be sure you aren’t taking it on an empty stomach. Also be sure to drink plenty of water.
Take quercetin with your niacin
Some studies show that taking quercetin, a flavanoid antioxidant, can help to reduce the side effects or flushing symptoms. Try taking 150 mg of quercetin before you’re the vitamin dose.
Use a low dose of aspirin with your niacin
If you can’t tolerate the flush, a low dose of aspirin can effectively reduce the intensity and duration of flushing. Try a low dose, around 80 to 160 mg. If that doesn’t work, try 325 mg.
Researchers suggest that aspirin can only be used as a temporary “bridge” to help you during the first weeks of treatment when your dosage is being increased.
Once you have reached your maximum, regular dosage, stop using the aspirin.
The scientific name of this great vitamin is Niacin
Niacin (Vitamin B3), also known as nicotinic acid, is often confused with niacinamide, although technically, they are both vitamin B3.
Niacin is vital for over 50 different processes in our body. As with all “B” vitamins, niacin works closely and in tandem with other B vitamins, especially vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
It is an essential vitamin mainly due to its many enzymatic functions
This nutritional vitamin was discovered in 1936
The chemical structure of P-P factor was subsequently discovered in 1937 by the American biochemist Conrad Arnold Elvehjem.
He induced a black tongue in dogs by feeding them the Goldberger diet, and then cured the disease by supplementing their diet with nicotinic acid.
He also isolated the P-P factor from active liver extracts, showing that this factor is actually nicotinic acid(subsequently named niacin for nicotinic acid vitamin)
What it does for you
Just like the other B vitamins, niacin and niacinamide are needed by the body in order to convert food into energy.
They accomplish this task by taking the carbohydrates, proteins and fats from the foods you consume and turn them into energy.
Essentially, eating foods rich in this great vitamin often provides a boost of energy, which can help you to wake up in the morning, prepare for a workout or simply get through the day.
While energy production is a main function of this nutritional vitamin, it actually is the most effective for lowering cholesterol.
However, only vitamin B3 in the form of niacin is effective in this way, not niacinamide. Some people with high cholesterol problems are prescribed a drug with significant levels of niacin.
You need to know what causes the deficiencies of this great vitamin
Deficiency of this nutritional vitamin is a condition that occurs when you don’t get enough or can’t absorb the vitamin.
Diseases like chronic diarrhea and tuberculosis can also cause your body to go deficient of this great vitamin. Less absorption of it in your digestive tract can also cause deficiency.
Malnutrition occurs when you don’t eat balanced diet. Deficiency of this great vitamin, often associated with malnutrition, is observed in the homeless population, in individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa or obesity, in consumers of diets high in maize and poor in animal proteins.
Excessive Alcohol and prolonged use of antibiotics
Sometimes, excessive alcoholism and prolonged use of antibiotics also lead to deficiency of this great vitamin. Gluten intolerance and Crohn’s disease can also potentially induce vitamin B3 deficiency in the body.
Strict vegetarians run the risk of catching the deficiency of this nutritional vitamin if they do not add it through supplement.
Inadequate consumption of Niacin (vitamin B3) through dietary source
Deficiency of this great vitamin in your body can be triggered due to various reasons. Main reason among them is inadequate consumption of this essential vitamin through dietary sources.
Long-term consumption of maize, salted pork and molasses as staple food can also trigger deficiency of this great vitamin because these foods are very poor sources of this great vitamin.
You can also supplement with this nutritional vitamin
The issue with supplementation is the form of niacin taken. Many cheaper supplement use nicotinic acid, which has research to support its cholesterol-lowering abilities. But this form does have side-effects.
The “safer” form to take is nicotinamide which is less able to deliver heart and cholesterol benefits but is used for pregnancy and children.
The great majority of cheaper high street “multivitamins” and even B complex products contain no vitamin B3. Make sure you buy a good product. Supplementation for adults has a maximum daily limit set at 35mg.
This essential vitamin is safe to take with supervision
One of the common questions that many will have in regards to any vitamin is not only its potency, but its levels of safety. This great vitamin is safe for normal and healthy individuals.
However, it is important to point out that a few mild side effects such as a rash, dizziness and stomach upset may occur in some people.
On a more specific note, if you have liver or kidney disease or you are taking high blood pressure/diabetes.
You will need to talk to your doctor because Vitamin b3 Niacin impedes the effects of such medicine. Nonetheless, this essential vitamin is critical for the correct functioning of your body, providing high levels of natural energy and offering protection against numerous conditions.
- Vitamin b3 (Niacinamide) helps in Anti-aging
Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin b3 that suppresses melanin from reaching the surface of your skin and protects the skin from further Ultraviolet (UV) damage. Too much of melanin can result in age spots, freckles, and hyper-pigmentation.
According to a study done by Proctor and Gamble, data revealed that 5% niacinamide applied to the face for 12 weeks resulted in reductions of fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots, red blotchiness, and skin sallowness (yellowing). In addition, elasticity was improved.
The information above does not constitute a recommendation and is not a substitute for an individual consultation with a qualified professional.
And if you are supplementing with b3 vitamin, it is best to take it along with the other B vitamins in a B complex because any long term use of a singular B vitamin will cause an imbalance in the others.