What is vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is actually made up of niacin (nicotinic acid) and niacinamide. It is a water-soluble nutrient that is part of the B vitamin family.
B vitamins help to support adrenal function, to calm and maintain a healthy nervous system, and are necessary for key metabolic processes. Niacin is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
Why is vitamin B3 necessary?
Niacin reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers harmful cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Niacin may also reduce the incidence of asthma-induced wheezing, and may be helpful in treating or preventing atherosclerosis, second heart attacks, Alzheimer's disease and osteoarthritis.
What are the signs of a deficiency?
Pellagra is a nutritional disease that develops due to insufficient dietary amounts of vitamin B3. Symptoms of pellagra include skin disease, diarrhea, dementia and depression.
How do you get enough vitamin B3 from foods?
Leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, nuts, whole grains, legumes and mushrooms are good dietary sources.
Are there any risks associated with too much vitamin B3?
It is difficult to get too much niacin from food sources, but you can get too much niacin when supplementing. Reactions range from flushing, itching, nervousness and headaches to intestinal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. High doses of niacin can cause liver toxicity; doses in excess of 3 grams a day should be used only under careful medical supervision (for example, in the treatment of high cholesterol). Gout, abnormal heart rhythms and worsening of stomach ulcers have also been reported with very high doses of supplemental vitamin B3.
I recommend getting your niacin from raw food sources rather than a multi-vitamin. Our bodies are designed to absorb nutrients from whole foods not from pills.