Vitamin B3 Niacin

vitamin B3 Niacin

“Niacin (vitamin B3) plays an important role in maintaining the health of your heart, blood vessels, and metabolism. It may also be used with other medications to decrease bad cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood.”

Vitamin B3 Niacin

Once upon a time, scientists thought there was only one B vitamin. Today we know that there are eight B vitamins — each with special functions that help your body work properly. Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin. Having enough niacin in the body is important for general good health because your body uses it to turn food into energy. B3 is also essential for the health of your nervous system, digestive system, and skin.

We typically get enough niacin from the foods we eat, including red meat, poultry, fish, brown rice, nuts, seeds, legumes, and bananas. Many cereals and breads also have niacin added.

In higher amounts, niacin may be recommended as a dietary supplement to improve cholesterol levels, slow the progression of certain types of heart disease, and even help prevent memory loss and dementia. However, we are continuing to learn about the risks of excess niacin and how it may impact the body.

Niacin vs. Niacinamide

Although the names sound similar, niacin and niacinamide are not the same. Niacinamide is a form of niacin that is made when you have an excess of niacin in your body. As a supplement, niacinamide is often found in products that protect and nourish the skin or treat acne.

Niacin Benefits

In the early 20th century, scientists discovered that people with niacin deficiency could develop a serious skin condition called pellagra. Thanks to this breakthrough in understanding the role of B vitamins and health, pellagra is now a rare condition, and niacin is an FDA-approved treatment. Over the years, researchers have continued to claim a variety of health benefits related to taking niacin.

Niacin for high cholesterol

As a cholesterol treatment, studies show that niacin can boost levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Niacin also modestly lowers bad LDL cholesterol. It’s sometimes prescribed in combination with statins for cholesterol control, such as Lipitor.

However, niacin is only effective as a cholesterol treatment at fairly high doses. These doses could pose risks, such as liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, or glucose intolerance. Most recently, researchers found a link between excess niacin and heart disease. So don’t treat yourself with over-the-counter niacin supplements. Instead, get advice from your health care professional, who can prescribe FDA-approved doses of niacin instead if recommended.

Niacin for blood pressure

Because of niacin’s positive effects on cholesterol levels, there have been numerous studies about how niacin may reduce high blood pressure. Until recently, the association between niacin intake and high blood pressure risk was unknown. However, a 2021 study in Chinese adults found a distinct relationship in the increase in dietary niacin with a decrease in blood pressure levels among people with new-onset hypertension.

Everyone needs a certain amount of niacin from food or supplements for the body to function normally. This amount is called the dietary reference intake (DRI), a term that is replacing the older and more familiar RDA (recommended dietary allowance). For niacin, the DRIs vary with age and other factors and are given in milligrams of niacin equivalents:

  • Children: 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age
  • Men: 16 milligrams daily
  • Women: 14 milligrams daily
  • If pregnant: 18 milligrams daily
  • If breastfeeding: 17 milligrams daily
  • Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily
Most people can get the niacin they need by eating a healthy diet. If your doctor prescribes niacin, you might want to take it with food. This can prevent upset stomach.To reduce flushing — a harmless but uncomfortable side effect of niacin that describes redness and warmth in the face and neck — your doctor might recommend taking niacin along with aspirin and avoiding alcohol and spicy foods.


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Vitamin B3 Niacin

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Niacin is a B vitamin that’s made and used by your body to turn food into energy. It helps keep your nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy. Niacin (vitamin B-3) is often part of a daily multivitamin, but most people get enough niacin from the food they eat

Yes, some people can take niacin daily. But niacin isn’t for everyone. Certain medical conditions (like liver disease and peptic ulcers) prevent people from taking niacin. Also, some medications interact with niacin.

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the essential B-complex water-soluble vitamins that the body needs to turn food into energy. All of the vitamins and minerals are important for optimal health, but niacin is especially good for the nervous and digestive systems.

Adults and children older than 16 years of age—At first, 500 milligrams (mg) per day, taken at bedtime. After 4 weeks, your doctor will increase your dose to 1000 mg per day, taken at bedtime. However, the dose is usually not more than 2000 mg per day

Niacin Deficiency Symptoms
  • thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight.
  • swollen mouth and bright red tongue.
  • vomiting and diarrhea.
  • headache.
  • apathy.
  • fatigue.
  • depression.
  • disorientation.

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The present study demonstrates that lipid lowering therapy with niacin plus simvastatin induces significant plaque regression and stabilization in angina patients who had a mild to moderate degree of coronary stenosis

Typically, it may take a few weeks for niacin to alter cholesterol levels. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, plays a role in converting the food a person eats into energy, through using fats and proteins.

Although niacin assists several enzymes in converting food into ATP, a form of energy, taking doses well beyond the RDA will not offer a special boost in energy levels. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods is often all that is needed to obtain niacin’s energy-boosting benefit.

Taking niacin with food may also increase niacin’s bioavailability, whereas taking it at bedtime allows many patients to sleep through any flushing and may blunt nocturnal release of free fatty acids

Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage, and can also worsen the flushing effects of niacin. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or niacin will not be as effective.


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