Vitamin B3 – Niacin

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niacin

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Vitamin B3 is needed for proper circulation and healthy skin.

It helps the functioning of your nervous system; the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; and the production of hydrochloric acid for your digestive system.

It’s involved in the normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids, and in the production of sex hormones.

Niacin lowers cholesterol and improves circulation.

It’s helpful for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and is also a memory-enhancer.

Pellagra is a disease caused by niacin deficiency.

Other symptoms of niacin deficiency include canker sores, dementia, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, halitosis, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, limb pains, loss of appetite, low blood sugar, muscular weakness, skin eruptions, and inflammation.

Sources

Niacin is found in beef liver, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, carrots, cheese, corn flour, dandelion greens, dates, eggs, fish, milk, nuts, peanuts, pork, potatoes, rabbit, tomatoes, wheat germ, and whole wheat products.

Herbs containing niacin include alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, slippery elm, and yellow dock.

A cup of coffee provides about 3 mg of niacin.

Comments

A flush, usually harmless, may occur after you take a niacin supplement; you might develop a red rash on your skin and a tingling sensation may also be experienced.

Usually, these symptoms last only a few minutes.

There are 2 forms of this vitamin:  niacin and niacinamide.

In the form of niacinamide, it doesn’t cause flushing.

However, niacinamide doesn’t have all the same properties of niacin.

Specifically, it’s not effective for lowering blood cholesterol.

Taking high doses of special, extended-release niacin for cholesterol control is a relatively recent phenomenon.

The intent is to lower levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol), raise levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or “good”, cholesterol), and to reduce triglyceride levels.

This type of niacin is not dietary niacin.

A product called Niaspan, produced by Abbott Laboratories, is an extended-release type of niacin approved for cholesterol control.

Cautions

Dietary niacin should not be substituted for Niaspan.

Taking high doses of dietary niacin (more than 500 mg daily) can damage your liver.

People who are pregnant or who suffer from diabetes, glaucoma, gout, liver disease, or peptic ulcers should use niacin supplements with caution.

Niacin can elevate blood sugar levels.

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Dick and Lenay

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