The benefits of Vitamin B3 are many. Part of the B Vitamin family of 8, Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin.
Niacin is essential to helping the body convert food into energy, working with the other B Vitamins to metabolize fats and proteins, processes essential for healthy skin and eyes, heart and liver.
The benefits of Vitamin B3 include improving adrenal gland function, which can aid in sex- and stress-related issues in the body.
It’s an effective tool in improving circulation and lowering blood cholesterol levels. Because of its circulatory assistance, it can be of aid to lowering blood pressure.
Among the benefits of Vitamin B3, it is water-soluble. While this makes it an easy supplement to consume, this also means that it is not stored by the body and must be replenished daily, either through food or supplements.
Best Food Sources
Common foods contain healthy enough doses to get the full benefits of Vitamin B3 include
- Fish (salmon, tuna, swordfish)
- Beef liver
- Fortified breads and cereals
- Sunflower seeds
- Dairy products
Functions and Forms
There are different forms available: niacinamide, niacin and inositol hexaniacinate, each in different dosages and each with different actions.
Read labels carefully and get your doctor’s recommendations and approval, or you risk losing the benefits of Vitamin B3.
While generally not dangerous, an infrequent Niacin reaction is what’s called a “Niacin Flush.”
This is a symptom with itching and a pins-and-needles feeling in the skin, with noticeable flushing, caused by capillaries being infused with blood soon after ingestion of Vitamin B3.
It’s a normal reaction, and signals the body flushing out toxins and cholesterol along the blood’s routes (veins, arteries, capillaries) and in most cases it lasts for just a few moments.
This side effect is generally mild, and most people find that (if it happens at all) it goes away within a few minutes, and doesn’t even happen anymore within a few days of taking Niacin supplements.
If it bothers you, you can combat the effects by lowering your dosage and gradually ramping them up, or taking it with food or warm beverages.
Be sure to have your doctor periodically check your liver function if you’re using Niacin to help lower cholesterol (or any other reason).
A Vitamin B3 deficiency can manifest in a variety of ways, including indigestion, fatigue, vomiting and depression.
Severe deficiency is called “Pellagra” and shows cracked and scaly skin, diarrhea or even dementia.
It’s good to make sure you have a steady supplement of B3, in order to avoid missing out on the benefits of Vitamin B3.
Even though there are many benefits of Vitamin B3, there are also possible interactions with Vitamin B3, and certain precautions should be taken.
Antibiotics can have their absorption interfered with by Niacin, while certain blood thinners may have their action made stronger by Niacin intake.
Certain medical conditions are contraindicated for the ingestion of Niacin supplements: If you have a history of liver disease or stomach ulcers, Niacin is not recommended.
Diabetics and those with gallbladder diseases should take these supplements only under close supervision by their physician. You should not take this if you have gout.
One of the best ways to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients that it needs is to take a high-quality multi-vitamin supplement.