All vitamins are important for our health. Vitamin C seems to be the rock star among them since it’s always mentioned as essential to our immune system and health. However, other vitamins are just as important. Take group B, for example, more specifically vitamin B3. Also known as niacin, it plays a role in numerous metabolic processes in the human body. More than 400 enzymes interact with vitamin B3 to provide and store energy in our bodies.
Additionally, vitamin B3 keeps our skin, eyes, liver, and nervous system’s health in check.
Lack of Vitamin B3 is More Dangerous than You Think
Although the vitamin is crucial for our overall health, most people don’t have enough of it. Lack of vitamin B3 is usually a result of malnutrition. It also goes hand in hand with tryptophan deficiency, an amino acid which helps the liver obtain niacin.
The most likely reasons for vitamin B3 deficiencies are:
- Hartnup disorder
- Tuberculosis meds
- A diet poor in vitamin B3 and tryptophan
- Carcinoid syndrome
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Dialysis treatments
- Malignant diseases
- Taking immunosuppressives, antidepressants, carbipoda, and similar meds
How to Recognize Vitamin B3 Deficiency
Vitamin B3 deficiency can be mild or severe. If it’s mild, the symptoms can range from fatigue to depression, oral ulcers, and digestive problems. However, in severe cases it can be much worse than that.
Also known as pellagra, the disease causes sores in the mouth, dementia, diarrhea, and severely inflamed skin. People suffering from this disease shouldn’t go out in the sunlight as it harms the skin. As the disease progresses, the skin will peel and bleed.
There are two types of pellagra – primary and secondary. Primary pellagra occurs due to a diet that doesn’t contain enough niacin (vitamin B3) and tryptophan. The secondary type occurs when the body isn’t able to properly use niacin from the diet. The usual treatment of pellagra involves niacin and nicotinamide supplementation as well as a diet rich in both nutrients.
How to Raise Your Niacin Levels
The good news is that raising your vitamin B3 levels is as simple as adjusting your diet. It’s the best and most natural ways of raising your niacin levels without using meds or supplements. It’ll take a bit longer, but in the end, it’ll work. At the same time, a vitamin B3-rich diet will also improve the look of your hair, nails, and overall looks and health.
Foods Rich in Niacin
- 100 gr. of canned tuna: 12.4 mg. niacin
- Chicken breasts: 14.8 mg.
- Turkey meat: 11.7 mg.
- Mushrooms: 3.7 mg.
- Salmon: 7.9 mg.
- Lamb: 7.6 mg.
- Veal: 8.7 mg.
- Pork: 10.9 mg.
- Peanuts: 13.4 mg.
- Animal liver: 16.7 mg.
You can also find a lot of vitamin B3 in broccoli, asparagus, avocado, milk, brown rice, etc.
Daily Recommend Allowance of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of niacin depends on your age and gender. The intake varies between men and women as well as children and adults.
*Children aged 1-13: 2-12 mg.
*Female teenagers (14-18): 14 mg.
*Male teenagers (14-18): 16 mg.
*Females over 19: 14 mg.
*Males over 19: 16 mg.
*Pregnant women: 18 mg.
Vitamin B3 Against Bad Cholesterol, Heart Disease, and Diabetes
Vitamin B3 can also help you in the fight against the so-called “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. Recent studies have shown that niacin can easily lower LDL cholesterol levels and raise the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol. At the same time, it can prevent the hardening of arteries in people with a high risk of atherosclerosis.
Finally, niacin can protect pancreatic cells from autoimmune attacks that occur during pre-diabetes type 1. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, it helps by lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol which diabetics often suffer from.