Vitamin B-3

Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Nicorinamide, Antipellagra Vitamin

Functions

  • enhances nerve function, appetite, and digestion
  • component of two important enzymes
  • important in glycolysis, tissue respiration, and fat synthesis
  • used in production of sex and stress hormones
  • improves circulation
  • reduces risk of non-melanoma skin cancers by repairing damaged DNA

Deficiency

Mild

  • Digestive
    • diarrhea
    • gastrointestinal disturbances
    • vomiting
  • Psychological
    • mental disturbances
    • depression
    • headache
    • apathy
    • fatigue
    • disorientation and dizziness
    • memory loss
    • insomnia
    • loss of appetite
  • canker sores
  • thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight
  • swollen mouth and bright red tongue

Severe

  • pellagra
  • death, if not treated

Characteristics

  • soluble in hot water and alcohol
  • not destroyed by heat, light, air, or alkali
  • not destroyed in ordinary cooking

Good Sources

Vitamin B-3

Natural

  • lean meat
  • liver
  • fish
  • legumes and peanuts
  • nuts
  • whole-grains
  • potatoes
Food Quantity mg
Bread 1 slice 1.0
Salmon, wild atlantic 3 oz 8.6
Peanuts, dry roasted 1 oz 3.8
Chicken 1/2 breast 12.5

Artificial

  • yeast
  • enriched foods

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)

  • Males (11 yrs. and older)
    • 16 mg
    • 16-19 mg
  • Females (11 yrs. and older)
    • 14 mg
    • 13-15 mg
  • Pregnant females
    • 17 mg
  • Lactating females
    • 20 mg
  • Children
    • 9-16 mg
  • Infants
    • 6-8 mg
  • Varied values reflect different references

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL)

  • Adults (19 to 50 yrs)
    • 35 mg
  • Intakes above UL may lead to negative health consequences.
    • Mild: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flushing
    • Severe: Liver damage, irregular heart rate, large rashes, gouty arthritis

Supplementation

  • 25-300 mg commonly recommended
  • Best taken with vitamin B complex and vitamin C
  • Large doses may be prescribed by doctor to lower blood cholesterol.
  • May cause flushing and gastrointestinal distress.
    • Nicotinic acid, but not nicotinamide causes vasodilation and flushing

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