Also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3 is one of the eight B vitamins. Like all the other vitamins in its category, this vitaminic element plays an important part in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose. Without glucose, the body would not have any energy to perform common functions. Skin, hair, eyes, liver, nervous system and glands depend on the B complex for proper functioning.
The benefits of vitamin B3
Niacin regulates the secretion of stress-related hormones and sex hormones. It also plays an important part in the blood circulation and the reduction of the cholesterol levels.
Since niacin acts against cholesterol, this nutrition element is a major defense against atherosclerosis.
In the treatment of diabetes, it seems that niacin delays the passage from diabetes type 1(non-insulin dependent) to diabetes type 2 (insulin dependent).
For people who suffer from joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, vitamin B3 seems to enhance mobility, and reduce the need for the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or the used amount of such medication.
Vitamin B3 deficiencies
In today's society it is pretty uncommon to get vitaminic element B3 deficiency because of the variety of modern man's diet. Alcoholism is the primary cause for such deficiencies. Normally, niacin is a vitamin that we take from meals. In the past, severe deficiency of vitaminic element used to cause pellagra characterized by scaly skin, diarrhea and even dementia. Most of the symptoms of such a deficiency are digestive, but only medical investigations can lead to diagnosis.
Dietary sources for vitaminic element B3
The foods with the highest content of vitamin B3 include beef kidney, beef liver, salmon, tuna, swordfish, peanuts and sunflower seeds. All bread and cereals are presently fortified with niacin. There are some foods like eggs, red meat, poultry and dairy products that contain an amino acid, tryptophan that the body converts into this vitaminic element B3.
Vitamin B3 supplements
In case the doctor recommends you to use a niacin supplement, you can choose from tablet, capsules and timed-release forms. With timed-released supplements there are hardly any side effects, however, they may have a toxic impact at the liver level.
Niacin should only be used under medical supervision particularly since it may interact with other medications and dietary supplements. You may experience a burning tingling sensation on the chest and face after taking a vitamin B3 supplement. This side effect can be prevented by taking an aspirin half an hour before the administration of the supplement.