Niacin gives me the opportunity to keep my cholesterol levels controlled. Being flush free is a tremendous plus.
Niacin belongs to the group B vitamins and it has many benefits for health. This vitamin keeps the heart healthy, regulates cholesterol levels, enahnces intellectual performance, concentration, and motivation. It also reduces inflammation and stimulates the beauty and health of the skin and hair.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide, or nicotinic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be stored in the body.
When niacin is not immediately used by the body, it is excreted through the urine. If we want to have healthy levels of niacin we need to consume food that is rich in niacin or use niacin supplementation in order to meet the needs of our body. Otherwise, the body can suffer a deficiency of this vitamin.
Natural sources of Niacin
There are many foods, both of animal and vegetable origin, that are considered to be sources of niacin.
Among the animal sources, we can find beef, chicken, lamb, and pork. Fish like tuna and salmon are excellent vitamin B3 sources.
Milk and its derivatives, like yogurt, cheese, and also eggs.
Among the vegetable sources, we can find beetroot, peanuts, oats, wheat, rice, peas, beans, asparagus, spinach, peppers, ginger, and sunflower seeds.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin B3 varies according to the age, sex and individual circumstances of each person. Athletes or people with pathological conditions will need higher amounts than the general population.
The amount of niacin is measured in micrograms (mcg).
Less than 6 months: 5mcg
Between 6 months and 1 year: 6mcg
Between 1 and 3 years: 9mcg
Between 4 and 6 years: 12mcg
Between 7 and 10 years: 13mcg
Men from 11 to 14 years: 17mcg
Men from 15 to 18 years: 20mcg
Men from 19 to 50 years: 19mcg
Men over 50 years: 15mcg
Women from 11 to 50 years: 15mcg
Women over 50 years: 13mcg
Women during pregnancy: 17mcg
Women during lactation: 20mcg
Differences between Niacin and Niacinamide
Both niacin and niacinamide are two vitamin B3 forms. But they have different functions in certain aspects.
For example, niacinamide is often used to fix a niacin deficiency because niacinamide does not cause redness.
However, niacin reduces bad cholesterool levels in the blood, whereas niacinamide has not shown these effects.
Both niacin and niacinamide are available as a dietary supplement in capsules and tablets.
Niacinamide is also used as a niacin replacament in the form of topical administration creams for skin care.
Inositol Hexaniacinate also belongs to the B3 vitamins, and we can find it in some dietary supplements.
Unlike niacinamide, inositol hexaniacinate reduces cholesterol just like niacin.
Niacin and Vitamin B complex
Niacin is also part of the group B vitamins.
Overall, there are 8 vitamins in this group, which are the following: vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid) and vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
These vitamins are water-soluble and they are not stored in the organism. The amount that the body does not use is immediately excreted through the urine.
Each group B vitamin has its own structure and a distinct function. Sometimes, several B vitamins are combined to perform specific functions in the organism.
The lack of certain group B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6, has been associated to degenerative diseases such as difficulties in perception, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Group B vitamins also play a role in the production of stress hormones and sexual hormones, along with the adrenal glands. They also relieve inflammation, improve blood circulation, and slow down the onset of diabetes.
Properties of Niacin:
Reduces cholesterol and protects the heart: Niacin is known for its properties to prevent cardiovascular diseases. With a regular use of the recommended amount, it is possible to decrease and excrete bad cholesterol (LDL), increase good cholesterol (HDL), reduce triglycerides levels, prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and avoid the onset of cardiovascular diseases. Niacin is often prescribed in combination with statins (medicines) for the best results.
Prevent Alzheimer's disease: Niacin deficiency is associated to the onset and development of dementia. There are numerous clinical studies that support the benefits of niacin dietary supplements to prevent Alzheimer and other degenerative diseases, such as senile dementia. The most recent clinical study has been conducted on 3.718 people, and the conclusions have been that a diet rich in niacin or the regular use of niacin dietary supplements favors intellectual performance and prevents the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Promotes the health and beauty of the skin: Niacin also helps to improve the health of the skin. This is because it stimulates blood circulation and allows the skin and hair to receive more nutrients and hydration. Niacinamide is commonly used as an ingredient in skin care products as it is used as a treatment for several skin conditions and diseases such as acne and rosacea, as well as other symptoms associated to aging, such as wrinkles and skin blemishes.
It is effective for treating pellagra disease: Pellagra is a disease caused by a lack of niacin in the diet. It usually occurs when lots of maize products are consumed, when the diet is scarce or other health problems exist that inhibit the absorption of niacin, as in the case of gastrointestinal diseases, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, or other disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. In these cases, using niacin dietary supplements may cure pellagra. The most common symptoms of pellagra include: Confusion and mental delirium, diarrhea, wounds, and inflamed mucous membranes.
Who can benefit from Niacin dietary supplements?
Anyone who wants to obtain the benefits of niacin just have to use the dietary supplements of this vitamin.
It is especially advisable to consume a regular amount of niacin in the case of people who do not get it through the diet, for example, old people who do not normally consume the necessary amount of this vitamin.
Pregnant women and lactating mothers also need a niacin supplement, as well as those people who undergo a high physical or mental deterioration (athletes, students, etc.).
Niacin, niacinamide and inositolhexanicotinate are available as dietary supplements, either individually or combined as a Vitamin B complex. These supplements come in capsules or tablets. Since the composition and the amount may vary, it is advisable to always follow the instructions of each product and always use the recommended daily amount.
Does Niacin have side effects?
The side effects can come across as an intense skin tingling, specially on the face, neck, ears, and chest.
This is due to an increased blood flow, which can cause redness and heat, similar to a sunburn. There is no need to worry about this, since these side effects are harmless and follow a normal responseon behalf of the body. Depending on the amount, these effects will disappear after 30-60 minutes.
One way of reducing the side effects is to use the niacin supplements immediately after eating. The most intense effects of niacin are seen when consumed on an empty stomach or after consuming alcohol or a hot beverage.
When niacin is consumed in high amounts, it may cause side effects, such as:
When these effects occur we must stop the consumption or reduce the amount.
Does Niacin have any interactions?
Niacin may produce interactions when it is used along with some medications, such as:
Prescription medications for blood pressure
Other names for Niacin
Niacin is also known as: vitamin B3, nicotinic acid, niacinamide, nicotinamide.
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