Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining healthy skin and blood circulation. Because it plays a role in maintaining healthy nerves and metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, it offers a wide range of mental and physical health benefits. It is best known for lowering and maintaining cholesterol levels.
Symptoms of niacin deficiency may include muscular weakness, loss of appetite, fatigue, digestive upset, and skin infections.
There are no known cases of niacin toxicity from food sources alone. In supplemental form, it is recommended that niacin intake be limited to 35 mg per day.
Niacin is not sensitive to heat, air, or light, so cooking food does not substantially reduce the health benefits of this nutrient.
|US Recommended Daily Allowance:||20 mg|
Health Benefits of Vitamin B3/Niacin
|Blood Pressure||Lowers high blood pressure.|
|Blood Sugar||Helps to regulate blood sugar levels. However, niacin can make certain types of diabetes worse.|
|Digestion - General||A deficiency can lead to poor digestion or appetite loss.|
|Heart||Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).|
|Hormone Balance||Helps to regulate hormone production.|
|Hydrochloric Acid||Regulates production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.|
|Muscles||A deficiency can lead to muscle weakness.|
|Skin||Works with other B vitamins to maintain healthy skin. A deficiency can lead to skin infections. An overdose can cause an itchy rash known as "niacin flush."|
|Weight Loss||Helps the body process fats.|
Food Sources of Vitamin B3/Niacin
|Buckwheat||6 mg||30%||Contains an unusually high level of niacin compared with other plant-based foods.|
|Sweet Potatoes||3 mg||15%|
|Sunflower Seeds||2.3 mg||12%|
|Wild Rice||2.1 mg||11%|
|Jerusalem Artichokes||2 mg||10%|