Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin, nicotinic acid and vitamin PP. It is one of the group of B vitamins.

See also an overview of the main vitamins.

Active Forms of Vitamin B3:

There are two active forms of vitamin B3 :

  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and
  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)

Functions of Vitamin B3:

The main functions of vitamin B3 include:

  • In common with vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 helps with the release of energy from foods and the use of oxygen in the cells of the body. - NAD+ and NADP+ are coenzymes for several dehydrogenases in redox reactions (this information is useful to people who also need to understand the chemical reactions within the body, i.e. details about metabolism)
  • Promotion of healthy growth and development (in children) and to maintain healthy skin, digestive function and nervous system.
  • Supports heart health and circulation.
  • Production of steroid hormones in the adrenal glands.
  • Supports balanced mental and emotional outlook.
  • DNA repair. Specifically, NAD is needed to repair DNA in exposes areas of skin that have been damaged by UV light e.g. due to sunburn.

Sources of Vitamin B3:

There are many different types of foods that include some vitamin B3.

Examples of sources of vitamin B3 include:

In general :

Fruits, nuts / seeds and vegetables:

  • Brewer's yeast
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin B3
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Fish e.g. tuna, salmon
  • Lean meat e.g. beef
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • the amino acid tryptophan (but synthesis of vitamin B3 from tryptophan is inefficient, requires vitamins B1, B2 and B6 as cofactors and only after protein synthesis requirements have been met)
  • dates
  • tomatoes
  • some nuts e.g. peanuts
  • some seeds e.g. sunflower seeds
  • asparagus
  • green leafy vegetables e.g. cabbage
  • broccoli
  • carrots

Vitamin B3 is also included in some dietary supplements e.g. multi-vitamin tablets or capsules.

The vitamin B3 content of foods is depleted by food processing, incl. preserving and cooking.

Problems due to insufficient or too much Vitamin B3:

Possible consequences of deficiency of Vitamin B3 include:

Possible consequences of excessive intake of Vitamin B3 include:

  • Pellagra (also listed with undernutrition diseases)
  • Some skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis
  • Diarrhoea, which can be fatal in some people / situations.
  • Mental and emotional issues, such as
    • anxiety
    • depression
    • poor memory
    • dementia (in the elderly)
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

See also what is a balanced diet?.

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Send special blessings to whoever you see in a hurry today.

This is not medical, First Aid or other advice and is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment. Consult an expert in person. Care has been taken when compiling this page but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This material is copyright.

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