Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 another important member of the B-complex family. The breaking down of fats (weight loss), proteins and carbohydrates is done by this important vitamin. With the help of niacin, over 50 enzymes are able to function properly in the human body. This is one of the more stable vitamins and as such it is able to resist oxidation, heat and alkalis.

This Vitamin has a very good effect on the arteries. One of the important of this vitamin is that it helps the arteries widen, which enables blood to flow more easily. Because Niacin lowers the cholesterol levels in the body, it helps prevent small abnormal patch from forming and building-up on artery walls which in effect improved blood flow and even reduced risk of heart attack.

Vitamin B3 also help in keeping the body's nervous system, digestive tract and overall mental well-being functioning properly. To have a healthy skin, regular supply of this vitamin is essential. It's also required in order to produce various hormones including testosterone and progesterone.

Like the other B-complex family, this vitamin is water soluble, which means that it is easily absorbed in water and needs to be constantly supplied to the body. The body on its own have the ability to produce small amount of this Vitamin, but this amount is not enough to meet daily intake requirements. The rest must be supplied either by food or by supplementation.

Sources of Vitamin B3

This Vitamin can be found more in animal products than plants. A very good source of this vitamin include organ meats e.g liver, kidney, brain, heart, gizzard, tongue, trotter (pig feet) and chitterlings (small intestine).

Some of the other sources include seeds and almonds, wheat products, turnips, beans, rice bran, celery, green vegetables and carrots. Yeast and bran can be a good sources of this Vitamin if the bran coating is not removed.

The recommended daily intake of Niacin 15 mg for adult women (pregnant and breastfeeding women need slightly more). 15-19mg for men is 15 - 19 mg.

Note that some individuals who digest Niacin can experience a red flushness on the skin. If this happens, slow intake and allow the body to get used to Niacin.

Symptoms of Vitamin B3 Deficiency

Even a mild Vitamin B3 insufficiency will cause symptoms. These could include: forgetfulness, nausea and/or vomiting, feeling of tiredness, loss of appetite, sores in the mouth, anemia, skin outbursts or lesions, headache and indigestion causing trouble sleeping or relaxing.

When the deficiency is serious, a disease called Pellagra can develop. The first symptom is easily recognizable. A lesion appears on skin that has been exposed to sunlight. This more serious condition must be treated immediately. Pellagra is also characterized by symptoms including dermatitis, irritability, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal trouble, inflammation of the mucous membranes and problems of the nervous system such as depression and other forms of mental disturbances. Because of its ability to keep Pellagra from developing, this vitamin is sometimes referred to Vitamin PP (Pellagra Prevention).

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