Why do you need vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3

By pH health care professionals

Vitamin B3 is one of the B-complex vitamins, and there are three types: niacin, niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate (also called “no flush niacin”).

 Niacin is important for your digestive system, skin and nervous system. It helps make sex hormones and stress-related hormones. It also helps improve circulation and suppress inflammation. Niacin is used to treat high cholesterol, and is also used alongside other treatments for circulation issues, migraines, dizziness, as well as reducing the diarrhea associated with cholera.

However, higher doses of niacin (such as from a prescription) can cause a flushing of the skin. Too much niacin can be toxic so don’t surpass the recommended daily allowance and confer with your doctor. In the case of flushing from niacin, your doctor may suggest inositol hexaniacinate -- niacin combined with inositol (vitamin B8). This is one way to get the niacin without the flushing side effect.

Niacinamide, however, is used for treating diabetes and the skin conditions bullous pemphigoid and granuloma annulare. It is also used topically for inflammatory acne vulgaris, though the National Institutes of Health noted there is not yet enough evidence to rank the effectiveness of this treatment.

Some people use niacin or niacinamide for acne, ADHD, memory loss, arthritis, preventing menstrual headache, improving digestion, protecting against toxins, reducing the effects of aging, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, relaxation and more, though the National Institutes of Health does state that more research is still needed before it can rank the effectiveness of most of these uses (except for cholesterol and treating b3 deficiency, which are “likely effective”).

Food sources

Food sources of vitamin B3 include meat, salmon, swordfish, tuna, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beets, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and enriched breads and cereal grains.

According to the National Institutes of Health, your body can also make vitamin B3 from the amino acid tryptophan.

Symptoms of deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, poor circulation, and depression. Alcoholism is the main cause of vitamin B3 deficiency in the U.S., according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

You can test to see if you are deficient in vitamin B3 and other critical nutrients with a comprehensive blood test. Be proactive and ensure your body has all the nutritional building blocks for good health!

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.