Vitamin B3 health benefits, Effects and Uses

Health Benefits of Vitamin B3 or Niacin

Vitamins and minerals play a key role when it comes to one’s health. Food, along with the amount of water we drink, the sports activities we go for and the habits we have is responsible for how we feel. It’s true what they say that you are what you eat. Well, in order to meet your nutritional needs, utmost attention must be paid to the vitamins and minerals in the foods you’re having. Today we focus on one specific vitamin known as vitamin B3.

As part of the vitamin B complex, vitamin B3 or niacin is an important water-soluble vitamin we can find in various foods like seeds, mushrooms, meat, and tuna fish, just to name a few. It comes in three forms: nicotinic acid, Niacinamide, and Inositol Hexaniacinate. The health benefits of niacin have been studied extensively and many results point to a direct connection between the use of B3 and many health improvements.

Science-Based Benefits of Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 has been associated with important health benefits that include the following:

Digestive health – niacin aids the digestive tract to function properly, promotes a healthy appetite and helps the body absorb enough carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Brain health – Vitamin B3 has been used in the treatment of patients with depression and schizophrenia. According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, 1,000 mg of niacin taken 3 times a day can lead to better memory and reduce senility.

Heart health – The results of several studies have pointed to a strong connection between the use of niacin and heart health. Vitamin B3 improves one’s heart health because it reduces cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood fats which are associated with heart disease and cancer. Niacin has also been useful in improving the blood sugar conditions that can affect the arterial walls. The people with a heart condition who used niacin experienced less illness and lower death rates after five years of treatment, unlike patients who didn’t use niacin. B3 also improves blood vessels which can further improve circulation to the areas that don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients.

Arthritis – Several studies have linked the use of vitamin B3 with arthritis improvements. Unlike niacin which opens up the blood vessels near the surface, niacinamide opens up the deep blood vessels like the ones that surround the joints. Moderate arthritis patients have experienced excellent results after taking 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day. In more severe cases, it is recommended to increase the daily dosage to 3,000 – 4,000 mg.

Cholesterol levels – Taking 1,000 to 3,000 mg of niacin a day reduces the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raises the good HDL cholesterol. This will further prevent the thickening of artery walls and health conditions such as atherosclerosis.

Motion sickness – Combining vitamin B3 with tablets of papaya can reduce motion sickness. Just try to take 200-300mg of niacin and two or three papaya tablets about 15 minutes before your flight or car ride.

Insomnia – Vitamin B3 is also used by people with sleep problems. Niacin activates the benzodiazepine receptors which are directly connected to one’s sleep quality. Try to take 50 mg to 1,000 mg of niacinamide before sleep. Even people who take sleeping pills may have a B3 deficiency. Therefore, try this remedy to see if your sleep improves.

Energy levels – Vitamin B3 is most commonly known for its energy benefits. Since it converts proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy, B3 is a great option when one’s energy seems history.

Blood circulation – Older people and diabetes patients have noticed blood circulation improvements in the legs and feet. Vitamin B3 has also increased the blood supply to the ear in cases of tinnitus, deafness, and vertigo.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency

Although vitamin B3 deficiency is uncommon in developed countries, there are signs and symptoms that will let you know if you’re low on B3. They include the following:

Dermatitis (skin rashes);

Gastrointestinal health issues like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea;

Brain impairment such as confusion, paranoia, depression, impaired consciousness, disorientation, and dementia;

Pellagra – it can include diarrhea, skin inflammation, hallucinations and mental problems, rash, and stomatitis.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure you see your health care, provider. Diagnosis of vitamin B3 deficiency is usually clinical. B3 supplements in high doses are usually successful in eliminating such symptoms.

Vitamin B3 side effects

It is unlikely to experience the side effects of vitamin B3 if you’re getting it only from the foods you have. If you use vitamin B3 supplements, though, you can experience the following side effects especially if you’re on high doses of it:

Headaches

Dizziness

Stomach and intestinal ulcers

Heart problems – vitamin B3 in high doses can increase the risk of irregular heartbeats.

Vitamin B3 in high doses can aggravate gout problems.

Rashes and skin reactions.

Nausea

Vomiting

Vitamin B3 sources and dosage

Since vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, the excess of it is discharged through urination. This means you can administer it through foods and liquids. This also means that you must replenish your B3 stock frequently since the body will flush it out almost daily. You can boost your intake of B3 by introducing the following into your diet: tuna fish, meat, turkey, lamb, eggs, curds, poultry products, peanuts, legumes, oats, brown rice, potatoes, milk, wheat flakes, bread, cereals, and cheese.

The doctor’s recommendations regarding daily dosage of vitamin B3 include the following:

  • Women:  14 milligrams daily
  • Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding: 17- 18 milligrams daily
  • Men: 16 milligrams daily
  • Children: 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age.

You should always keep in mind that you should see your doctor no matter the supplement you want to take. The dosage may differ depending on your age, health conditions, weight, and age.

Vitamin B3 may lead to stomach discomfort. That’s why it is highly important to take it with food in order to prevent side effects.

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