Niacin (Vitamin B3)

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Niacin (Vitamin B3)


The Vitamin Niacin is also called nicotinic acid, Vitamin B3 or Vitamin PP (Pellagra Preventing). By Definition, vitamins are substances that cannot be produced by the human body itself. Therefore not a Vitamin in the classic sense is Niacin, because it can be made for food, but also by the body itself. However, Niacin to the group of B will be counted-vitamins.

Niacin can have an effect – if it is taken in appropriate amounts have a positive impact on our health. So it is helping in the case of atherosclerosis, and high cholesterol. It is, however, taken an Overdose of Niacin, the Vitamin also have side effects.

Niacin: The Effect

Niacin is present in the human body, mostly in the Form of two Co-enzymes NAD and NADP, and is included in all living cells of humans. Particularly high concentrations are in the kidneys, in the liver and in the adipose tissue.

Niacin plays, especially in the energy supply of the body a significant role because it is involved in both protein metabolism, as well as on fat and carbohydrate metabolism. In addition, Niacin is important for the rest of our body. Special importance it has for the Regeneration of the muscles, nerves, DNA, and skin. Additionally, Niacin promotes substances in the brain, the formation of the messengers, to be transported with the help of information from nerve cell to nerve cell. Finally, Niacin is also for a controlled digestion of importance.

Niacin Deficiency: Causes

A deficiency of the Vitamin Niacin is relatively rare, because Niacin can not only about different foods but also from the amino acid Tryptophan can be formed. Here, a milligram of Niacin is formed from 60 milligrams of Tryptophan.

A possible cause of a Niacin deficiency is that the body will leads to little Niacin over the food intake. Most frequently, this occurs when groups of people eat mostly Corn. Because the Corn contained in the Form of nicotinic acid can not utilize the body.

On the other hand, a Niacin deficiency can occur but also, if the body gets too little protein. Then can be more converted enough Tryptophan to Niacin. In addition, a lack of Vitamin B6 may result in Niacin deficiency, because Vitamin B6 is required for the conversion of Tryptophan to Niacin.

Symptoms of Niacin deficiency

The first signs of a Niacin deficiency are:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • depressive moods and irritability

Similarly, it can lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

It can also occur as a result of the Niacin deficiency disease Pellagra. This is mainly characterized by skin changes: the Case of Pellagra an itchy, reddish rash, which can also be swelling, blisters and hardening of the skin accompanied. In addition, other typical symptoms of Pellagra are diarrhea, and dementia.

Side effects of Niacin

The Vitamin Niacin has usually only side-effects if taken in too large quantities. The recommended daily dose is 15 milligrams.

More than 500 mg be taken in grams, can Niacin cause a Flush: Flush refers to the vasodilator effect of Vitamin – a feeling of warmth and redness of the skin. Properly dosed Niacin due to its vasodilator effect but also positive effects on health – so it is used, for example, in the case of people suffering from atherosclerosis.

In addition, Niacin also has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels: It increases HDL-cholesterol and lowers the dangerous LDL cholesterol. Due to its side effects, in particular due to the Flushes, Niacin used for a long time to reduce cholesterol. Meanwhile, there are, however, Niacin supplements, which also contain a Flush inhibitor, so that unwanted side effects absence.

Consequences of an Overdose

By the consumption of foods, an Overdose of Niacin is barely possible. There are, however, special Niacin preparations, with which the body in addition, Niacin can be fed. Of an Overdose, one speaks from a daily intake of 1.5 to 3 grams. You may have headaches, Nausea and skin itching.

More than 2500 milligrams of Niacin are taken, it can lead to seizures, a drop in blood pressure and dizziness. It is also hindered by large amounts of Niacin, the uric acid excretion. Therefore, an Overdose is especially for people with gout is dangerous, as you may have a Gout flare.

Daily dose of Niacin

The recommended daily dose of Niacin is about 15 milligrams. Pregnant and lactating women require a higher level of Niacin, as well as alcohol-sick persons. For children, the daily dose of Niacin should be between seven and twelve milligrams. In General, in Germany, the average recorded daily dose is higher than necessary. Deficiencies are therefore extremely rare.

Food with Niacin

Because the Vitamin can be manufactured by the body, estimate the daily requirement, which must be absorbed through food. 15 milligrams of Niacin are contained in the following foods:

  • 100g veal liver
  • 200g beef
  • 250g whole wheat
  • 750g peas
  • 1250g of potatoes
  • 3000g fruit

In addition, Niacin is also included in fish, poultry, mushrooms, eggs, and dairy products. As a General rule, Niacin, which comes from animal products, it can be better by the organism used.

Tip: Niacin belongs to such as Biotin or Pantothenic acid to the water-soluble vitamins. Since it is excreted in easy to cook in the cooking water, use the cooking water as possible.