All About Vitamins

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
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Why vitamin B3 (niacin) is good for you

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is required for more than 50 different processes in the body. Essentially, vitamin B3 (niacin) helps the body produce energy from the foods eaten. Vitamin B3 (niacin) makes enzymes that help the cells turn carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin B3 (niacin) helps control the level of blood glucose.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) also acts as an “on-the-spot” antioxidant within the cells, mopping up free radicals when it is being used to release the energy within the cells.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) works closely with vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) to ensure good health by keeping the skin, nervous system and digestion working properly.

 

Important vitamin B3 (niacin) facts

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Groups at risk of vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency

Talk to a medical professional about vitamin B3 (niacin) supplements BEFORE taking them.

 

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Symptoms of vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency

Because not much niacin is required and because it can be made from the tryptophan in protein, real niacin deficiency is rare in western and developed countries.

An early deficiency is sores and cracks on the lips, especially around the corners.

Scaly skin, red eyes and anaemia are other deficiency symptoms.


The disease pellagra is caused by a deficiency of niacin and it has three main symptoms:

 

Vitamin B3 (niacin) and health

Talk to a medical professional about vitamin B3 (niacin) supplements BEFORE taking them.

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Vitamin B3 (niacin) in food

FOOD AMOUNT
Vitamin B3 (mg)
Tuna, canned in water
85g
11.3
Beef, liver
85g
10.0
Chicken breast
85g
8.5
Turkey breast
85g
8.5
Pork roasted
85g
5.5
Salmon, canned
85g
5.0
Beef, mince
85g
4.0
Peanut butter
2 tbsp
3.8
Peanuts, dry roasted
28g
3.8
Mushrooms, cooked
½ cup
3.5
Potato, baked
1 medium
3.3
Rice, brown
1 cup
3.0
Rice, white
1 cup
3.0
Flounder
85g
2.5
Rice, wild
1 cup
2.1
Wheatgerm
¼ cup
2.0
Bagel
1 medium
1.9
Peas
½ cup
1.6
Avocado
½ medium
1.5
Nectarine
1 medium
1.3
Corn, kernels
½ cup
1.2
Sunflower seeds
28g
1.1
Asparagus
½ cup
1.0
Bread, wholewheat
1 slice
1.0
Kidney beans
1 cup
1.0
Navy beans
1 cup
1.0
Chickpeas
1 cup
0.9
Almonds, roasted
28g
0.8
Tomato
1 medium
0.8
Sweet potato
1 medium
0.7
Spinach, cooked
½ cup
0.4
Cottage cheese, low fat
1 cup
0.3
Milk, low fat
1 cup
0.2

 

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Vitamin B3 (niacin) recommended daily intake (RDI)

RDA lifestage age amount
  INFANTS 0-6mths
7-12mths
2mg
4mg
  CHILDREN 1-3yrs
4-8yrs
6mg
8mg
  CHILDREN 9-13yrs
male: 14-18yrs
female: 14-18yrs
12mg
16mg
14mg
  ADULTS male: 19-50yrs
female: 19-50yrs
16mg
14mg
  SENIORS male: 51+yrs
female: 51+yrs
16mg
14mg
  PREGNANT   18mg
  LACTATING   17mg
 
TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT lifestage age amounT
  INFANTS 0-2mths n/a
  CHILDREN 1-3yrs
4-8yrs
10mg
15mg
  CHILDREN 9-13yrs
14-18yrs
20mg
30mg
  ADULTS 19-50yrs 35mg
  SENIORS 51+yrs
35mg
  PREGNANT <18yrs
19-50yrs
30mg
35mg
  LACTATING <18yrs
19-50yrs
30mg
35mg
 
TOXIC LEVELS >1-4g/kg body weight


The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.

 

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Vitamin B3 (niacin) works best with

 

Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for vitamin B3 (niacin)

Vitamin B3 (niacin) has limited toxicity in normal, otherwise healthy adults. Really large doses of vitamin B3 (niacin) can cause flushing, burning sensation, diarrhoea, increased heart and breathing rates, itching skin, high blood pressure and liver abnormalities, which are all reversible when intake is stopped.

The following cautions should be carefully noted:

Discuss vitamin B3 (niacin) supplementation with a medical professional.



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references

 

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Last reviewed: 1 January 2009 || Last updated: 1 January 2009

 

NOTE: Mega doses of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or other supplements cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of nutrient supplement.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.

 

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