Health Benefits of Niacin
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A strong health requires a healthy lifestyle. This means paying attention to various aspects and habits, from the food we eat to the amount of water we drink and the sports activities we go for. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in supporting one’s health and vitamin and mineral deficiencies will lead to various symptoms and health conditions. Since their importance reaches high levels, introducing foods rich in vitamins and minerals is one of the steps you need to take in order to boost your health. Today, we focus on vitamin B3 and its health benefits.
Vitamin B3 – what you need to know
Also known as Niacin or nicotinic acid, vitamin B3 was the third vitamin to be discovered (that’s why it is named so). Niacin has unique characteristics that can determine flush in some people. This vitamin causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up near the skin, therefore leading to a hot, tingling sensation and a red flushing of the skin. This is just one minor drawback taking into account the other major health benefits of b3. Still, you can avoid the flush by starting with low amounts of vitamin B3 and increase the dosage gradually. You can thus build up the tolerance and avoid the flush.
The health benefits of vitamin B3 intake include healthy skin, good blood circulation, strong memory, normal functioning of the brain, a healthy digestive tract, and normal cholesterol levels. Also, B3 is helpful in reducing the effects of arthritis and in improving the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Niacin use and health benefits
There is a wide range of health benefits niacin use is associated with.
- Digestive tract benefits: niacin promotes a healthy appetite and aids in the normal functioning of the digestive tract helping it to absorb enough carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Cholesterol levels – an intake of 1,000 to 3,000 mg of niacin a day reduces the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raises the good HDL cholesterol. This will further prevent the thickening of artery walls and health conditions such as atherosclerosis.
- Pellagra – Severe Vitamin B3 deficiency is associated with conditions like pellagra, weak muscles, skin irritation, and digestive problems. People with such conditions should increase their niacin intake by taking a vitamin B3 supplement. See your doctor and get the green light before taking any supplement.
- Memory loss and senility – According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, 1,000 mg of B3 taken 3 times a day can lead to better memory and reduce senility. The doctor has successfully used niacin to treat depression and schizophrenia.
- Arthritis – Several studies have reported that the use of niacinamide has triggered good results in arthritic patients. Unlike niacin which opens up the blood vessels near the surface, niacinamide opens up the deep blood vessels like the ones that surround the joints. Taking 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day has triggered excellent results in cases of moderate arthritis. In more severe cases, it is recommended to increase the dosage to 3,000 – 4,000 mg.
- Motion sickness – Combined with tablets of papaya, niacin can work wonders in the case of people with motion sickness. Just try to take 200-300mg of niacin and two or three papaya tablets about 15 minutes before your flight or car ride.
- Heart disease – Several studies have linked the use of niacin with heart health benefits. Vitamin B3 reduces cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood fats which are associated with heart disease and cancer. Niacin has also been useful in improving the blood sugar conditions that can affect the arterial walls. Unlike heart patients who did not take niacin, those who were on niacin treatment experienced lower death rates and less illness after five years. Niacin also improves blood vessels which can further improve circulation to the areas that don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients.
- Insomnia – Since niacinamide activates the benzodiazepine receptors, its use can help people sleep better. 50 mg to 1,000 mg of niacinamide taken before sleep can rid you of insomnia. Even people who take sleeping pills may have a B3 deficiency. Therefore, try this remedy to see if your sleep improves.
- Blood circulation – The use of niacin can improve blood circulation in the legs and feet in old people and people with diabetes. Niacin has also proved to increase the blood supply to the ear in cases of tinnitus, deafness, and vertigo.
- Energy – Niacin converts proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy.
Sources and dosage of niacin
Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that the excess of the vitamin can be discharged through urination and the vitamin can be administered through foods and liquids.
Foods rich in niacin include tuna fish, meat, turkey, eggs, curds, poultry products, peanuts, legumes, oats, brown rice, potatoes, milk, wheat flakes, bread, cereals, and cheese.
Niacin comes in three forms: niacinamide, nicotinic acid, and Inositol Hexaniacinate. These three forms have different effects on the body. For instance, nicotinic acid and Inositol hex a niacinate may improve the blood circulation whereas niacinamide has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Doctors recommend that women should have a daily intake of 15-18mg of niacin whereas men should go for 15-19 mg every day. No matter your health condition, you should always see your doctor even if we’re talking about a vitamin supplement. Doctors recommend that the dosage of Vitamin B3 should be divided into five or six doses spread throughout the day rather than being taken all at once. Therefore, make sure you get your doctor’s approval regarding the intake and use of niacin supplements.
The importance of seeing your doctor and getting his approval when taking such supplements is further highlighted by the things that can occur:
- Vitamin B3 can irritate the stomach lining. That’s why it is of utmost importance to take it after a meal and not on a cold stomach.
- Time-released forms of vitamin B3 can affect the liver. Avoid taking such forms of any vitamin you need.
- Vitamin B3 competes with the excretion of uric acid, which could trigger a gout attack in people with gout problems.