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Vitamin B3 Or Niacin - Is This Member Of the B-Complex Family That Important?

Dec 8, 2007
Vitamin B3 is another important member of the B-Complex family as it facilitates the processes involved in metabolizing fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It is because of this vitamin that over 50 enzymes are able to function properly. Niacin as it is commonly referred to as is one of the more stable vitamins because of its resistance to oxidation, alkalies and heat.

Niacin is particularly useful because it helps to widen the arteries which leads to better circulation of blood. This vitamin also lowers the body's bad cholesterol levels and prevents plaque from forming and building up along the artery walls thereby preventing heart attacks.

An adequate supply of Vitamin B3 is essential for healthy skin. It is also required in order to produce various hormones like Progesterone and Testosterone and plays a major role in the proper functioning of the nervous system, digestive tract and maintaining overall mental health.

Niacin is a water soluble vitamin which means that it is easily absorbed in water and so needs to be constantly replenished. Although the human body is able to produce a small amount of Niacin by itself, this amount is not sufficient to meet our daily requirements and so it must be supplied by food or vitamin supplements.

Sources of Vitamin B3 include organs meats like kidney and liver, lean meats, pork, prawns and even cow milk. This vitamin is found more commonly in animal products than in plant products.

Other sources include seeds, almonds, rice bran, wheat products, green vegetables, carrots, celery and beans. Yeast and bran can also be good sources provided the bran coating isn't removed which is the case during most milling processes.

The recommended daily intake of Vitamin B3 is between 15 to 19 mg for adult men and around 15 mg for adult women. Pregnant or breastfeeding women need a slightly higher amount. Some people might experience a red flushness of the skin after consuming niacin. If this occurs one should slow the intake of this vitamin and allow the body to get used to it.

As with any vitamin, insufficient quantities of Niacin can result in a vitamin deficiency. Symptoms may include general fatigue, absent mindedness, nausea and/or vomiting, skin eruptions or lesions, appetite loss, sores in the mouth, anemia, digestive tract problems and some can even experience trouble while sleeping or relaxing.

A severe deficiency can lead to a condition known as Pellagra. The first symptom can be identified when a person develops lesions on skin that has been exposed to sunlight. This serious condition must be treated immediately.

Pellagra is also characterized by some other skin problems such as dermatitis, skin irritability, diarrhea, gastric problems and problems of the nervous system that may include depression and other forms of mental disturbances.

Vitamin B3 is also sometimes referred to as Vitamin PP (Pellagra Prevention) because it has the ability to prevent this disease.
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