– The Health Dossier with WeAreFeel
What is vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is an essential component of the B vitamin complex. It is one of the most bioactive B vitamins, and it shows promise as a treatment for bad cholesterol, neurodegenerative disease, arthritis, and even skin cancer.
Is vitamin B3 water-soluble or fat-soluble?
Niacin is water-soluble. Therefore, this nutrient doesn’t build up in your system, and like all B vitamins, your body flushes niacin out through your urine relatively quickly.
Where can vitamin B3 be found naturally?
Niacin is present in most animal-based foods. Plant-based sources of niacin contain much less of this substance, but it's present in many grains, legumes, and nuts.
5 foods/drinks containing vitamin B3
1. Beef liver 75% DV per 85g
2. Lentils 5% DV per cup
3. Green peas 20% DV per cup
4. Brown rice 26% DV per 1 cup or 128g
5. Peanuts 21% DV per 28g
What is the recommended daily intake for vitamin B3?
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), which is a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has set the recommended daily amount (RDA) for niacin at 16mg for males and 14mg for females. Women who are pregnant need 18mg of vitamin B3, and women who are lactating need 17mg.
What to consume to get a full daily dose of vitamin B3?
Beef liver - approximately 113g
Lentils - approximately 20 cups
Green peas - approximately 2 cups
Brown rice - approximately 4 cups or 512g
Peanuts - approximately 142g
Can you absorb enough of vitamin B3 from food?
Even if you eat meat products, getting your RDA of niacin can be extremely difficult. This substance is incredibly important to your health and well-being, but even the richest animal sources of this nutrient must be consumed in great quantities to meet your recommended daily vitamin B3 intake. Therefore, it might be necessary to take niacin in supplements to avoid becoming deficient.
Why is vitamin B3 necessary for your body?
Your body automatically converts the niacin you consume into this nutrient’s metabolically active form, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Your body uses NAD to perform over 400 enzymatic functions, which makes vitamin B3 the most bioactive vitamin by sheer numbers. One example of a function of NAD is the conversion of potential energy in macronutrients into adenosine, which is your body’s main carrier of energy.
Functions of vitamin B3
Energy processing: Your body uses the entire B complex to turn nutrients into energy, but the NAD produced from vitamin B3 is the most active component in this process.
Cholesterol reduction: Adequate vitamin B3 consumption reduces your LDL-C levels, which is the most prevalent and harmful form of bad cholesterol.
Neurological functions: In addition to energy processing, your body also uses NAD for proper neurological functioning.
Dermatological functions: Vitamin B3 offers UV protection, and it appears that this nutrient can even reduce your risk of developing skin melanomas.
Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency
Pellagra and Brain Fog
Severe niacin deficiency causes pellagra, which is characterised by severe mental disturbance. Even minor vitamin B3 deficiency can cause brain fog, memory issues, and difficulty concentrating. Deficiency in this nutrient can also cause depression.
Sunlight-Induced Skin Rash
Since vitamin B3 is essential for UV protection, deficiency in this nutrient can cause a thick, scaly rash on any part of your body that is exposed to sunlight.
Swollen Mouth and Tongue Discolouration
Severe vitamin B3 deficiency can result in swelling in your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth. Deficiency in this nutrient also causes your tongue to become bright red.
How long do you need to take vitamin B3 to start experiencing its benefits if you’re deficient?
Since this nutrient is water-soluble, your body absorbs it quickly, and improvements in vitamin B3 deficiency symptoms generally occur rapidly after supplementation begins. The complications associated with severe niacin deficiency, however, can take weeks, months, or even years to heal.
How long does it take for your body to digest/absorb vitamin B3?
Like most B vitamins, your body absorbs almost all the vitamin B3 you consume.
How long does vitamin B3 stay in your body after you take it?
In most cases, your body absorbs and excretes niacin within 24 hours, but certain dietary choices can cause this nutrient to stay in your body for significantly longer.
Is vitamin B3 an antioxidant?
Research indicates that vitamin B3 has antioxidant properties. Therefore, this nutrient fights back against the activity of free radicals in your body and protects your DNA integrity.
Can you overdose on vitamin B3? What are the effects?
Since niacin is a water-soluble nutrient, it is hard to overdose on this nutrient. However, it’s easier to overdose on vitamin B3 than it is to overdose on other B vitamins, and research indicates that this nutrient is toxic to your liver in high quantities.
Other symptoms of niacin overdose include rapid heartbeat, abdominal pain, skin flushing, or even gout. Limit your consumption of niacin to your RDA to avoid these dangerous conditions.
Does vitamin B3 dissolve, flush out, or build up in the body?
As a water-soluble vitamin, niacin dissolves quickly, and it doesn’t build up in your body.
Can you take vitamin B3 during a diet?
Consuming adequate levels of this essential nutrient does not interfere with any dietary restrictions.
Are there synthetic forms of vitamin B3?
There are no purely synthetic types of vitamin B3, but most forms of this essential used for supplementation are created in laboratory conditions. Examples of semi-synthetic forms of niacin include nicotinamide, nicotinic acid, and nicotinamide riboside.
Why might synthetic forms of vitamin B3 be better?
The various semi-synthetic forms of niacin are more bioavailable than the type of this nutrient that is found in plant and animal sources.
Absorption rate of synthetic vitamin B3
Semi-synthetic vitamin B3 appears to have a better absorption rate than food-based forms of this substance.
Why might natural forms of vitamin B3 be better?
There are no known advantages to food-based niacin as compared to laboratory-derived forms of this nutrient.
How to take vitamin B3
You can either consume vitamin B3 in food or ingest this nutrient in supplement form.
Vitamin B3 trends in medicine
Until recently, medical scientists thought that administration of niacin on its own was an effective form of therapy for cardiovascular disease. In some cases, patients would consume as much as 1000mg of niacin per day. Recent research, however, clearly demonstrates that consuming high levels of niacin is dangerous. This 2019 study confirms what we already knew; you should only consume vitamin B3 in moderation.
Why everyone should be taking WeAreFeel supplements
Here at WeAreFeel, we have a healthy respect for essential vitamins and minerals. Your body can’t get by without these nutrients, but if you consume them in unreasonably high quantities, you can experience dangerous overdose symptoms.
That’s why we stick to the basics and only include your RDA of niacin in Feel. While it’s hard to get the vitamin B3 you need from food, it’s equally hard to recover from the effects of niacin overdose; keep things simple and get exactly how much niacin you need every day with a capsule of Feel!