The Benefits, Function, and Importance of Vitamin B3

Unlike a lot of other vitamins out there, vitamin B3, known most commonly as Niacin, is fairly unconventional in its makeup. It is one of the over forty essentially nutrients the human body requires per day to function properly, but Niacin isn’t found in the same volume via food sources as other B vitamins.

Niacin is a crucial assist, working in conjunction with other compounds to properly maintain and repair the body. B3 also works to prevent the formation of bad cholesterol in the body – low density lipoproteins. By preventing fats from being broken down into these lipoproteins, sufficient B3 levels allow fats to be metabolized in whole form, preventing cholesterol buildup.

An average adult will require around 14/16mg/day of Niacin and slightly more if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Vitamin B3 Deficiency

Vitamin deficiencies are quite serious, mostly because the deficiency doesn’t happen overnight but builds through months and years. This is why the effects of deficiency are so dramatic and why deficiencies are so hard to treat.

For B3 in particular, this deficiency is quite rare in civilized countries and anywhere people eat a relatively balanced diet. In countries suffering famine, B3 deficiency is more common; it is also common for a Niacin deficiency to accompany alcoholism or malnutrition.

A B3 deficiency can cause a slow metabolism, weight gain, and a decreased tolerance to colder temperatures. But the real threat is with a condition called Pellagra, brought about by a continuing B3 deficiency.

Symptoms of Pellagra include:

Top 3 Healthy Benefits of Vitamin B3

    1: The biggest health benefit of this vitamin is the potential reduction of LDL cholesterol. Niacin is able to help prevent heart disease by helping to prevent the buildup of LDL levels, and sufficient quantities of this vitamin will also increase the good cholesterol levels in your blood, HDL.

    2: Studies have shown that proper B3 levels can aid in a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, type-1 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and dementia.

    3: B3 also assists in the production of healthy cells. For your digestive and nervous systems, this cell production is crucial.

Foods Containing Vitamin B3

FoodServingCalsAmount (mg)% RDANutrient Density
Crimini mushrooms, raw5 oz-wt31.25.3926.915.6
Shiitake Mushrooms, raw1 cup49.35.6228.110.3
Tuna, yellowfin, baked/broiled4 oz-wt157.613.5467.77.7
Tamari (Soy Sauce)1 tbs10.80.723.66
Chicken breast, roasted4 oz-wt223.414.41725.8
Turkey4 oz-wt153.18.542.55
Calf's liver, braised4 oz-wt187.19.61484.6
Halibut, baked/broiled4 oz-wt158.88.0840.44.6
Asparagus, boiled1 cup43.21.959.84.1
Salmon, chinook, baked/broiled4 oz-wt261.911.3456.73.9
Venison4 oz-wt179.27.61383.8
Romaine lettuce2 cup15.70.562.83.2
Lamb loin, roasted4 oz-wt229.17.7538.83
Tomato, ripe1 cup37.
Mustard greens, boiled1 cup210.6132.6
Shrimp, steamed/boiled4 oz-wt112.32.9414.72.4
Summer squash, cooked, slices1 cup360.924.62.3
Sardines3.25 oz can191.44.8324.12.3
Green peas, boiled1 cup134.43.2316.12.2
Cod, baked/broiled4 oz-wt119.12.8214.12.1
Collard greens, boiled1 cup49.41.095.52
Carrots, raw1 cup52.
Broccoli, steamed1 cup43.70.944.71.9
Eggplant, cooked, cubes1 cup27.70.5931.9
Peanuts, raw0.25 cup2074.4221.9
Spinach, boiled1 cup41.40.884.41.9
Fennel, raw, sliced1 cup270.562.81.9
Turnip greens, cooked1 cup28.80.5931.8
Spelt grains, cooked4 oz-wt1442.9114.61.8
Beef tenderloin, lean, broiled4 oz-wt240.44.4422.21.7
Raspberries1 cup60.
Winter squash, baked, cubes1 cup801.447.21.6
Swiss chard, boiled1 cup350.633.11.6
Cauliflower, boiled1 cup28.50.512.51.6
Kale, boiled1 cup36.40.653.21.6
Green beans, boiled1 cup43.80.773.91.6
Mustard seeds2 tsp350.631.5
Cantaloupe, cubes1 cup560.924.61.5

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