Also known as B3 or Nicotinic Acid, Niacin is a water soluble B vitamin that helps to rebuild your nervous system and turns carbohydrates into energy. In addition to helping your nerves, it helps the digestive system, skin and hair. Its derivatives, such as NADH, help in the energy metabolism process in the living cells. Thus, B3 can help to fight obesity.
Niacin can also raise your HDL, or good cholesterol level. The good cholesterol helps to clean your blood stream of the LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. Currently Niacin is the most effective treatment for HDL high cholesterol, for those at risk of heart disease.
Niacin is a good little vitamin that also helps the body create various stress related hormones in the adrenal glands. This aids the body in combating stress-related disorders. Rumen protected Niacin may also reduce heat stress.
Niacin must be taken in small doses, and I can tell you this from personal experience. I once took a 50mg tablet of Niacin and my skin turned flush red, my face felt hot, and I nearly threw up. My stomach felt upset for 15 minutes, and I nearly passed out. I had to lie down for 30 minutes and let the reaction pass, taking deep breaths. It was a great relief to finally feel my face cool down, and my skin turned back to its normal color. A half hour I’ll never forget…. It was a horrible mistake to take that little tablet.
Most of us as adults need about 16 mg of Niacin per day (14mg for women). Children need slightly less. We can get this by eating the right foods. Don’t take tablets unless your doctor recommends this to you. We can regularly consume good leafy veggies and other foods to get the B3 our bodies need.
The best food sources for B3 Niacin are: fresh vegetables, especially broccoli and carrots, nuts, fish, chicken, lean meat, eggs, enriched breads and cereals, and some dairy products, such as milk and yogurt.
A deficiency of Niacin in your body can cause pellagra and mental impairment.
Too much Niacin can cause liver damage, peptic ulcers, skin rashes, and skin flushing. Sometimes Niacin is prescribed as a treatment for high cholesterol. Caution: Don’t treat yourself this way, though. Only take Niacin under a doctor’s orders.
You can buy the tablets at any pharmacy, but again I would stress the preference for finding it in foods.
Most of use can just eat properly and get the normal daily amounts of B3 Niacin our bodies need. A well balanced diet is the best way to protect our bodies and get the best dosage of vitamins and minerals.
Your doctor can test your Niacin levels, but there is a home test also available. A swab of saliva is taken from your mouth and shipped to a reputable lab. Since this is not an embarrassing subject, I’d recommend just having your local hospital do the test. This will ensure that the swab is taken properly and tested right there.