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What Are The Health Benefits of Taking Niacin?

Niacin is more commonly known as vitamin B3. It is an essential nutrient that our bodies need for survival. If you want to stay generally healthy, you need adequate amounts of niacin in your system.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Niacin? (Vitamin B3)

It is found in various food sources and can be taken in the form of supplements as well. It has a wide range of health benefits and keeps our biological functions running smoothly.

Read on for a complete breakdown of niacin and its proven health benefits:


What Is Niacin?

Niacin or vitamin B3 is a nutrient that synthesizes 2 major enzymes in the body. These enzymes are a part of more than 400 biochemical reactions taking place in the body. Niacin is mainly related to converting the food we eat into energy we can use.

Our body also produces niacin from tryptophan, which can be found in foods that contain protein.

Like other kinds of vitamin B, niacin is also water soluble. This means that it cannot be stored in the body, all unused niacin gets excreted from the body through urine.


The Health Benefits Of Niacin

Niacin is essential for normal body functioning. Increasing your daily intake of niacin has been linked with several health benefits. The benefits listed below are scientifically backed and have helped people in many different ways:

Stabilizes Blood Fat Levels

Niacin has a stabilizing effect on cholesterol. It increases good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides. It is extremely beneficial for health and helps us maintain our health in the long run.

Such an effect suggests that it might help lower your risk of heart disease too. People who are unable to take statin drugs for regulating blood fat levels use niacin.

Might Lower Blood Pressure

Niacin is also responsible for releasing prostaglandins, which are chemicals that improve blood flow by widening the blood vessels.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Niacin?

This can reduce blood pressure. A study found that increasing niacin intake by 1 mg reduced the overall risk of high blood pressure by 2%.

Though more research is needed on the subject, niacin could be effective in lowering blood pressure or preventing high blood pressure.

Can Be Used For Treating Diabetes

Patients suffering from type-1 diabetes may benefit from increasing their niacin consumption.

When a patient has diabetes, their body kills the insulin-generating cells in the pancreas. Studies show that regular consumption of niacin could strengthen these cells and protect them from damage.

On the flip side, patients suffering from type-2 diabetes need to be careful with niacin. It lowers high cholesterol, which is often observed in people suffering from type-2  diabetes but it can also heighten blood sugar.

Newer studies found that niacin doesn’t have any significant disadvantage for people suffering from type-2 diabetes. More research will help us understand the safety concerns of using niacin for people suffering from type-2 diabetes.

Improves Brain Function

Like all other organs in your body, your brain too requires niacin for functioning normally and getting energy to carry out tasks.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Niacin?

Certain symptoms like brain fog are linked to niacin deficiency. It has also been found that diseases like schizophrenia benefit from niacin as it helps repair the damage caused by inadequate niacin.

Chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s could also benefit from increasing the consumption of niacin. More research is needed to narrow down the beneficial effect of niacin on diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Skin Friendly

Niacin is great for the skin as it helps protect it from damage caused by sunlight. It works both as a topical cream or when ingested through food or supplements.

Studies have also found that it could help prevent skin cancer. Taking 500 mg of niacin two times a day lowered instances of skin cancer as compared to people who didn’t increase their niacin intake.


Foods With Niacin

There are several food sources of niacin. Most of them are animal sources, while vegetarians and vegans have significantly fewer options. However, both meat eaters and vegetarians can depend on fortified foods to increase their niacin intake.

Beef liver, chicken breast, turkey and lean cuts of pork are rich in niacin. Salmon, anchovies and tuna are also great sources of niacin. They are all high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

People who don’t eat meat can depend on peanuts, avocados, mushrooms, potatoes and green peas for their daily dose of niacin.


Daily Recommended Dose Of Niacin

The daily recommended dose of niacin can differ depending on your gender and age. Male children and adults above the age of 14 can take 16 mg of niacin whereas females in the same age group can take 14 mg.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are recommended to increase their intake to 17-18 mg per day. If the recommended dose is not satisfied through diet, people can turn to fortified foods. Supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.


Side Effects Of Niacin

There are no serious side effects of niacin and it is completely safe for most people.  A small percentage of people reported a tingling or itching sensation after taking niacin.

There can also be redness or itching, similar to an allergic reaction and headaches. Aspirin helps fight these side effects.

Extremely high doses could result in serious complications like liver disease, vision loss and increased blood pressure. This is why you should only take supplements after consulting a doctor and follow the dosage instructions perfectly.


What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Niacin? Wrapping Up

Niacin is another name for vitamin B3, a nutrient that is essential for many chemical processes in the body. It helps us convert the food we eat into energy that can be used throughout the day.

Apart from performing life-sustaining functions, it also has other health benefits. It lowers cholesterol, helps fight diabetes and skin cancer and improves the condition of our brain.

It is linked to so many functions in the body that it is invaluable to us. Increasing your daily intake of niacin and consuming the daily recommended amount has a lot of health benefits and protects your health in the long run.

Rosemary Richards
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