9 Benefits Of Vitamin B3 (And Other Important Information)
In this article, we’ll discuss the health benefits of Vitamin B3, the recommended dosage, and what happens in case of deficiency and overdose.
Everyone wants to be healthy and the first step one must take towards that is by deciding on a nutritious diet.
Most people are aware of the concept of macro and micronutrients. One usually focuses more on the intake of macronutrients, as they are supposed to make up more of one’s diet.
But, taking sufficient quantities of micronutrients is equally important. These micronutrients typically include vitamins and minerals.
One such vitamin which individuals need to cater to is Vitamin B3.
One should be aware of the benefits of Vitamin B3, as they would then be driven towards its natural consumption, rather than calling for a situation that requires supplement intake. We have enlisted some of the benefits of this vitamin below.
Also Read: Benefits Of Vitamin E And Best Food Sources
What Is Vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is one of the eight B-complex water-soluble vitamins and is clinically referred to as nicotinamide riboside.
Our body uses this vitamin extensively for several purposes, be it the skin, digestive system, and even nurturing of the Central Nervous System (CNS).
Niacin is a major component of NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) and NADP (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate). These two coenzymes are involved in cellular metabolism.
Vitamin B3 is converted into NAD by our body and this coenzyme acts as a helper molecule. It serves as the fuel for essential biological processes. These include:
- Conversion of ingested food into energy
- Repairing damaged DNAs
- Fortifying a cell’s defense systems
- Behaving as an antioxidant
- Playing a role in cell signaling
It also sets the circadian rhythm, which is known to set the body’s internal clock. This is done by regulating the level of tryptophan, an amino acid that has an essential role to play in sleep cycles.
Another critical contribution of vitamin B3 is its role in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These are then converted into energy for the body to utilize. Additionally, vitamin B3 also aids the functionality of glands and liver functions.
Vitamin B3 Deficiency
The deficiency of vitamin B3 can lead to the following symptoms:
- Canker sores
- Vomiting after meals
- Mild depression
- Poor blood circulation
To avoid these, one should be particular about the presence of recommended amounts of niacin in their diet.
Health Benefits Of Vitamin B3
The benefits of Vitamin B3 is extensive. Here are some that you should be aware of:
1. Reduces Symptoms Of Pellagra
Severe niacin deficiency can cause a condition called Pellagra, which can be lethal. The symptoms of pellagra include:
- Digestive problems
- Inflamed or flaky skin
- Mental impairment
To avoid this, proper amounts of Vitamin B3 should be consumed.
2. Helps In The Treatment Of Diabetes
Niacin use helps lower high blood sugar levels. Hence, it is effective in the treatment of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes destroys insulin-creating cells in your pancreas and niacin is said to protect those cells.
3. Enhances Brain Function
Vitamin B3 is used to keep memory loss and mental confusion at bay. Additionally, it also has antidepressant effects and can provide relief from fatigue. Hence, the non-inflammatory properties of vitamin B3 are known to boost brain function, among other benefits.
4. Lowers Triglycerides In The Body
It is known to lower triglycerides by 20–50%. It does so by stopping the action of the enzyme involved in the synthesis of triglycerides.
Along with this, it also lowers the production of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). These are mainly responsible for carrying triglycerides to the tissues.
5. Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Niacin is an important component of the cholesterol reduction regime.
It is known for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and in the blood. Hence, it is being widely used for the purpose of curing cholesterol patients. Thus if you eat too much junk and develop clogged arteries, consider increasing your vitamin B3 intake.
6. Increases HDL Cholesterol
Niacin raises HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, substantially.
This absorbs the cholesterol and leads it back to the liver. It hence reduces the risk of heart diseases as clogging incidents are avoided
7. Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Niacin’s effect on one’s cholesterol levels can also prevent heart disease. It is known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation while lowering the probability of atherosclerosis (the hardening of one’s arteries).
Niacin therapy is highly beneficial to lower the risk of heart problems. This can be combined with statins for additional benefits.
8. Protects Skin From Damage
Vitamin B3 significantly reduces the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers.
This is particularly useful for patients with a history of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
It is beneficial for other skin conditions as well.
9. Lowers The Symptoms Of Arthritis
Niacin helps relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis. Joint mobility improves and inflammation is also prevented.
Make sure you don’t consume large doses of niacin as it may only reverse the good effects.
It also contributes to the treatment of various health conditions. These include:
- Migraine headaches
- Blood circulation problems
- Reducing diarrhea symptoms associated with cholera.
- Helps in alleviating the condition of stroke patients, especially ischemic stroke
However, one should note that therapeutic doses are needed to achieve these effects.
One’s health is not benefitted by random pill-popping. Rather, this will be counterproductive and dangerous.
The recommended daily intake of niacin is dependent on many factors. These are age, gender, existing health conditions, and reproductive status.
For normal healthy women and men, the average daily allowance is 14 to 16 milligrams.
This varies for people having health issues and consulting a medical practitioner for guidance is never a bad idea. It is important to consume the right dosages due to the possibility of drug interactions and side effects.
Self-medicating is not a good practice and it should be avoided. In most of the cases, supplementation is not needed, as the diet can cater to the daily required dose of vitamin B3.
Bonus tip: Our body gets most of the required niacin through food. But it is also capable of making small amounts from the amino acid tryptophan.
What Happens If You Take Too Much Of Vitamin B3?
Vitamins like vitamin C and B complex are water-soluble. They are easily dissolved in water and are well-absorbed when taken by mouth.
Nicotinamide gets synthesized from niacin when it is taken in amounts greater than the need of the body. This may help repair damage to the brain caused by strokes.
They are quite unlikely to reach toxic levels within our body from over-ingestion.
Sometimes these vitamins are taken in surplus. In such cases, our body will excrete the excess amounts of the vitamin.
But this does not mean that we stuff our system with vitamin supplements on a routine basis. A healthy diet in itself will ensure the required daily allowance.
Vitamin B3 is a vital nutrient required by the body. Like all other vitamins and minerals, it is required by the human body in desirable quantities. If these requirements are not met, it could lead to future health problems that become a pain to reverse.
To avoid this, one can opt for vitamin supplements. This allows one to have a better chance of being healthy.
September 2, 2020 Sam Bell