Vitamin B3 - Niacin

Vitamin B3

Niacin (also known as nicotinic acid) is used by the body to release energy from carbohydrate foods. It is also used to help control blood sugar, keep skin healthy and aid in the normal function of the digestive and nervous systems. Vitamin B3 helps the body produce sex and anti-stress hormones.

In the Western world deficiency of Vitamin B3 is rare due to it being readily available in many foods. A mild deficiency may result in loss of apetite, itchy scaly skin, general weakness and indigestion. The disease Pellagra is the result of a severe Niacin deficiency and has the following symptoms: skin rash, bright red tongue, fatigue and memory loss. This disease is very rare in the developed world.

Overdose of Vitamin B3 is unlikely but can cause liver damage if taken in large quantities over a long period of time.

Food sources of this vitamin include chicken, fish, beef and nuts. Some flour, pasta, and breads are fortified with niacin during the manufacturing process. As a supplement Vitamin B3 is best taken as part of a Vitamin B complex or a multi-vitamin.

If you are currently taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions please consult your doctor or consultant, to seek advice before taking any vitamins or supplements.