Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for many bodily functions. It is involved in energy production, heart health, brain function, skin health, and more.
Here are some of the key roles of vitamin B3 in the body:
- Energy production: Vitamin B3 helps the body convert food into energy. It is a cofactor for enzymes that are involved in the production of ATP, the body’s main source of energy.
- Heart health: Vitamin B3 helps to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It also helps to protect the lining of the arteries.
- Brain function: Vitamin B3 helps to improve memory and cognitive function. It also helps to protect the brain from damage.
- Skin health: Vitamin B3 helps to keep the skin healthy and looking its best. It helps to reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of wrinkles.
- Other benefits: Vitamin B3 may also help to improve blood sugar control, reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and boost the immune system.
Sources of vitamin B3:
Vitamin B3 is found in many foods, including:
- Lean meats: such as chicken, turkey, and fish.
- Eggs: Eggs are a good source of niacin, especially the yolk.
- Dairy products: such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Whole grains: such as brown rice and oats.
- Nuts and seeds: such as peanuts and almonds.
- Legumes: such as beans, lentils, and peas.
- Fruits: such as avocado and bananas.
- Vegetables: such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
Recommended daily intake of vitamin B3:
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B3 for adults is 16 milligrams (mg) for women and 19 mg for men.
Deficiency of vitamin B3:
A deficiency of vitamin B3 can lead to a condition called pellagra. Pellagra can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common symptom of pellagra.
- Dermatitis: Dermatitis is a skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and scaling.
- Depression: Depression is a mental health condition that can cause fatigue, loss of interest in activities, and changes in sleep patterns.
- Mental confusion: Mental confusion is a condition that can cause difficulty thinking clearly and making decisions.
Treatment for vitamin B3 deficiency:
The treatment for vitamin B3 deficiency is to take vitamin B3 supplements or eat foods that are rich in vitamin B3.
Excess of vitamin B3:
It is very rare to get too much vitamin B3 from food. However, taking high doses of vitamin B3 supplements can cause side effects, such as:
- Flushing: Flushing is a red, hot feeling that can occur on the face, neck, and chest.
- Itchiness: Itchiness can occur on the skin.
- Liver damage: High doses of vitamin B3 can damage the liver.
It is important to talk to your doctor before taking vitamin B3 supplements, especially if you have any health conditions.