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Vitamin B3 or Niacin is also known as Niacinamide, Nicotinamide or Nicotinic Acid. Vitamin B3 is a part of the 8 B vitamins which are needed in the body’s many metabolic processes and for the health and development of the many organs of the body like the eyes, skin, hair, nervous system and immune system.
Vitamin B3 is water soluble and is easily available in its natural form, through food and food stuffs or through vitamin B dietary supplements.
History and Origin
The discovery of the B vitamins and vitamin B3 has led to the research of the amazing benefits these vitamins have for the body. The name Niacin was coined in Italy in 1771 when it was used to describe the skin of a person that was deficient in vitamin B3. The skin was rough and sun burnt looking.
Vitamin B3 is found naturally in foods like peanuts, animal meat, fish and brewer’s yeast. It is also a vitamin found in whole grains. It is commercially added to flour to be made into bread and pastries making it impossible to become deficient with this vitamin. An average person needs only 10 to 25 mg of vitamin B3 everyday for overall body function.
The use of vitamin B3 was not known during ancient times but the food sources for this vitamin were used as a staple food of many cultures and countries all around the world.
In modern times, vitamin B3 is found to be very important in the body’s overall health and development. It maintains normal blood circulation and can prevent high blood pressure and the development of bloods clots. There have been studies regarding the ability of vitamin B3 in the lowering of blood cholesterol levels; dietary supplements containing vitamin B3 are marketed as niacin to lower cholesterol.
Vitamin B3 is also an effective vitamin in the treatment of schizophrenia and mood disorders. Medical experts also believe that vitamin B3 can also help in the relive of arthritis joint pain and inflammation; it relieves redness, pain and swelling of the joints increasing joint movement.
It is also needed for the digestion and complete absorption of carbohydrates, proteins and fats as energy sources of the body. Deficiency of vitamin B3 is uncommon but there is a rare vitamin B3 deficiency called pellagra. It is characterized by loss of appetite, a dry and scaly skin rash, diarrhea, beefy tongue texture and mental changes. This is seen in Western societies.
It is important to note that vitamin B3 has capillary dilation properties and may have adverse reactions to any medication you may be taking. At higher doses, skin flushing and redness may appear but symptoms usually go away on its own.
It is important to stick to regular daily doses of this vitamin. Over dosage may lead to cramps, feeling of lightheadedness and gastric ulcers. There is also a mild skin rash and skin itching. There are no reports of vitamin B3 toxicity and if you want to use niacin dietary supplements, it is necessary to consult your doctor regarding the appropriate dose for you.