Niacinamide or Niacin or Vitamin B3 is the next in the group of B Complex vitamins.
Let’s start our discussion on Niacinamide – Vitamin B3, its mechanism, sources, benefits, deficiency, diseases, and toxicity.
What Does Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) Do To Your Body?
Niacin (Vitamin B3) is an essential nutrient that the human body requires. To function correctly, all parts of your body need nutrients. The medical names for Niacin (vitamin B-3) are Niacinamide, Nicotinic Acid or Inositol Hexanicotinate.
Niacinamide provides energy for the body by turning food into cellular energy. Some of the critical functions performed by Niacin are as follows:
- It keeps your nervous system healthy, & makes sure it functions properly.
- Niacinamide dilates the blood vessels and increases the flow of blood to the peripheral capillaries.
- It is essential for the production of vital hormones, including estrogen and testosterone.
- Helps the digestive system function well and deals with skin-related issues such as pellagra to keep your body healthy.
Niacin vs Niacinamide
Niacin and Niacinamide are often interchangeable terms. They both are the form of Vitamin B3 and thus a little difference in the uses and effects on the body that are discussed below. Niacinamide is derived from Niacin converted in the body. But it can also be derived from Tryptophan.
Niacinamide is taken for schizophrenia, pellagra, Alzheimer’s, Depression, Muscle spasms, Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Memory loss, Skin issues like eczema, acne, and bullous pemphigoid.
Furthermore, helps attention deficit disorder, bone pains, menstrual cramps, detoxification, and aging.
Niacin is converted to niacinamide in the body and works to overcome Vitamin B3 deficiency.
Niacin is required for the proper function of different cells in the body. It helps people with heart conditions by preventing blood clotting and lowering down bad cholesterol.
People with poor diet, alcohol abuse, and carcinoid tumors may go through deficiency.
Niacin in Food / Vitamin B3 Sources
A proper and healthy diet is crucial for taking Niacinamide since the human body cannot store it due to its water-soluble nature. A well-balanced diet provides sufficient Niacin. Thus, Nicotinic acid Deficiency is low worldwide, but there is still room for improvement, and here are the top Niacin food sources:
- Chicken breast
- Sunflower Seeds
- Soy Milk
How Much Niacin Per Day?
Harvard Health Publishing, recommended a daily dose of Niacin as follows.
An average adult man requires 16 mg per day. For an average adult woman 14 mg per day.
Niacin can be used in a variety of ways, so your doctor can prescribe the proper dosage for you. In-depth RDA includes:
Newborn to 6 months age: 2mg
7 months to 12 months age: 4mg
1 year to 3 years of age: 6mg
4 years to 8 years of age: 8mg
9 years to 13 years of age: 12mg
Above 12 years of age: 14-16mg
TIP: Niacin is best absorbed if taken between meals. It might be beneficial to take a multivitamin and mineral complex if you do not eat a balanced diet every day.
Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily.
Niacin/ Niacinamide Benefits
The benefits of nicotinic acid include:
- It slows down arthritis
- Maintains skin health
- Help with joint mobility
- Helps to treat diabetes
- Improves Cholesterol levels
- Aids in proper brain function
- Lowers cardiovascular disease risk
- Helps in preventing pellagra disease
- Can help to prevent erectile dysfunction
- Boost immunity
- Keep skin moisturized and smooth
- Decrease hyperpigmentation
- Lowers down oxidative stress
- Helpful for acne
MAIN BENEFITS OF NIACINAMIDE
Niacin for detoxification of the body is effective. If combined with exercise can help your body get rid of toxic substances stored in fat.
Improved blood flow to the scalp promotes hair growth and lessens hair loss.
This may prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders associated with aging
Helps prevent brain damage and improves memory
- Helps in building keratin (a protein that keeps skin healthy).
- Niacinamide grows the skin’s lipid barrier, prevents it from easy damage, and keeps it moisturized. So, the chances for eczema and other skin diseases are low.
- Minimizes skin redness and inflammation.
- Prevent pores from opening up and reducing existing pore size.
- Reduce the oil present on the skin. Regulates sebaceous glands and their production.
- Works as a sunscreen to protect skin from UV radiation.
- Reduces and prevents hyperpigmentation.
- Helps in lightening up the skin.
- Minimizes wrinkles.
- Treats acne.
- Improves overall skin texture.
Niacin and Depression
Depression is intense feelings of sadness and that may conflict with your everyday life. Studies claim that vitamin B3 and some other vitamins have helped to fight depression. Moreover, reduces feelings of hopelessness, or completely wipes off depression.
But, to date, no scientific data is evident that niacin can be used as a treatment of depression.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Niacin?
Niacinamide causes dark, sometimes scaly rashes on skin exposed to sunlight; bright redness of the tongue; and constipation may arise from a severe niacin deficiency. Other symptoms of severe niacin deficiency include:
- Memory Impairment
- Rough appearance to the skin
- GI upset
Disease Cause by Niacin Deficiency
If you do not consume the recommended amounts of niacin, you can develop Pellagra. It comprises 3D’s (Diarrhea, Dementia, Dermatitis). In easier words it develops:
DIARRHEA: Loose stools and GI upset.
DERMATITIS: Inflammation, dryness, and discoloration of the skin.
DEMENTIA: Loss of memory, confusion, depression, Anxiety.
Pellagra is of 2 types:
If the diet is deficient in Niacin. Common in developing countries.
occurs when the food is supplying sufficient Niacin but your body is unable to absorb it. These includes:
- Alcohol intake
- Anticonvulsants (medication used to treat fits)
- Immunosuppressive medications
- Liver failure
- Carcinoid tumors
- Hartnup disease
- Eating disorders
Toxicity of Niacin
Consuming niacin naturally with foods rich in Vitamin B3 does not usually cause side effects. However, supplementing with high doses of more than 35mg daily of Niacin/Niacinamide can lead to adverse effects. These include:
- Skin Rash
- Itchy Skin
Taking too much vitamin B3 can also cause:
- Glucose issues
- Result in eye problem
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase the risk of liver damage
Niacinamide Capsule and Supplements
Available in 500 mg strength. Must be taken as directed by the physician once or twice daily. Many supplements contain amounts that exceed the recommended dosage, which usually causes unpleasant side effects such as flushing. So, these are used in people who are deficient or treating certain diseases like pellagra and high cholesterol.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW MUCH NIACIN SUPPLEMENT DO YOU NEED?
If you can’t get enough niacin from your diet you might need a supplement in a higher dose than the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B3 Before taking any supplement containing Niacin/Niacinamide, consult your doctor as large amounts can cause many side effects.
DO NIACINAMIDE CAUSE FLUSHING?
Yes, flushing is a very common side effect of Niacinamide if taken in high doses. It is usually self disappears within few hours. If you have that and it’s intolerable you can use a flushing free form of Niacin that is Inositol hexanicotinate
HOW CAN PELLAGRA REVERSE?
Yes, pellagra is reversible. This can be done by consulting your doctor and taking a Niacin/Niacinamide supplement with Electrolytes rich diet and other multivitamins as well as minerals.
WHAT DOES NIACINAMIDE DO TO THE SKIN?
It is great for skin from the inside out. It helps to skin grow, repair, maintain, and keeps it healthy. But yes it also has face flushing as a side effect when taken more than recommended dose which is usually self-limiting.
WHAT IS NIACINAMIDE USED FOR?
It can be used for many issues like Alcoholism, hair loss, pellagra, Alzheimer’s, skin problems, high cholesterol. Please follow the post above for details.
CAN I USE NIACINAMIDE EVERY DAY?
Yes, you can use it daily after asking your health care provider and within your Recommended daily allowance.
WHY IS NIACINAMIDE BAD FOR YOU?
It usually has little or no side effects in recommended quantities. It may cause minor side effects such as GI upset, gas, rash, flushing, dizziness, etc.
WHAT FOODS ARE RICH IN NIACIN?
These are the Top 5 foods rich in Niacin:
- Chicken breast
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF LACK OF VITAMIN B3?
If you are Vitamin B3 deficient you may undergo the following symptoms:
- Memory Impairment
- Rough appearance to the skin
- GI upset
The Bottom Line
Too much Niacinamide or lower than recommended can cause problems to your body. Thus, It is affirmed to take the optimum value within Recommended Daily Allowance so that it does not cause trouble.
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