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Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Benefits and Signs of Deficiency

Benefits and Functions of Vitamin B3 (Niacin):

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays a role in more than fifty different metabolic processes which help the body utilize sugars, proteins, and fatty acids to create energy. It works in conjunction with the other B vitamins to convert macronutrients into energy.

It aids in the functioning of enzymes in the body. Vitamin B3 is required for the activation of many enzymes. Enzymes are compounds that accelerate certain chemical processes in the body.

Niacin is needed for proper functioning of the digestive system - it plays a role in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for good digestive function. It also acts to guard pancreas health.

Vitamin B3 promotes healthy skin.and has been utilized as an acne treatment.

It is necessary for regulating the expression of genes and in maintaining genomic activities..

Niacin acts to aid the body in the elimination of of toxins and harmful chemicals.

It facilitates the production of various sex and adrenal hormones.

Vitamin B3 is helps to improve circulatory function as well as reduce blood serum cholesterol levels by inhibiting its accumulation in the arteries and in the liver. Niacin helps to increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. Additionaly, it may increase the effectiveness of certain medicines which are prescribed to reduce cholestorol.

Niacin, works in conjunction with chromium to help regulate and stabilize blood sugar levels by promoting proper insulin function.

The two types of vitamin B3 also have particular medical uses: Nicotinic acid is prescribed as an anti-hyperlipidemic agent, while nicotinamide is thought to act as an anti-diabetogenic


Signs of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency:

A deficiency of vitamin B3 is rare, due to the widespread enrichment of flours with niacin. However, a deficiency can occur if a person consumes a diet too low in protein. Pellagra is a disease resulting from a niacin deficiency. Pellagra usually occurs due to alcohol abuse, malnutrition, and in those who have multiple nutrient deficiencies.

Because it is vital for the production of energy, a vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to general fatigue, muscular weakness, and a loss of appetite.

A deficiency of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) can result in a disease called Pellagra. The primary symptoms of Pellagra include:

1) Skin problems (including dermatitis, skin lesions on the face, arms and hands, and inflamed skin).

2) Mouth problems (including canker sores, mouth irritation, and ulceration or swelling of the tongue).

3) Digestive problems (including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and poor apetite)

4) Mental impairment (including disorientation, dementia, depression, irritability, and emotional instability).

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Toxicity, Overdose:

Excessive dosages of vitamin B3 (over 75 milligrams) can lead to liver damage. People who suffer from liver damage should not take a vitamin B3 supplement.

High dose can cause, or exacerbate peptic ulcers. People who have had stomach ulcers may want to avoid taking a niacin supplement. However, taking a supplement with food may help prevent stomach discomfort.

In the large dosages that are used for helping to control cholesterol levels (more than 100 mg/day), nicotinic acid can cause flushing and itching of the skin, headaches, and a drop in blood pressure.

More Information:

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Overview

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Daily Requirement, Dietary Sources



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