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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
|Food||Serving||Cals||Amount (mg)||% RDA||Nutrient Density|
|Crimini mushrooms, raw||5 oz-wt||31.2||5.39||26.9||15.6|
|Shiitake Mushrooms, raw||1 cup||49.3||5.62||28.1||10.3|
|Tuna, yellowfin, baked/broiled||4 oz-wt||157.6||13.54||67.7||7.7|
|Tamari (Soy Sauce)||1 tbs||10.8||0.72||3.6||6|
|Chicken breast, roasted||4 oz-wt||223.4||14.41||72||5.8|
|Calf's liver, braised||4 oz-wt||187.1||9.61||48||4.6|
|Halibut, baked/broiled||4 oz-wt||158.8||8.08||40.4||4.6|
|Asparagus, boiled||1 cup||43.2||1.95||9.8||4.1|
|Salmon, chinook, baked/broiled||4 oz-wt||261.9||11.34||56.7||3.9|
|Romaine lettuce||2 cup||15.7||0.56||2.8||3.2|
|Lamb loin, roasted||4 oz-wt||229.1||7.75||38.8||3|
|Tomato, ripe||1 cup||37.8||1.13||5.6||2.7|
|Mustard greens, boiled||1 cup||21||0.61||3||2.6|
|Shrimp, steamed/boiled||4 oz-wt||112.3||2.94||14.7||2.4|
|Summer squash, cooked, slices||1 cup||36||0.92||4.6||2.3|
|Sardines||3.25 oz can||191.4||4.83||24.1||2.3|
|Green peas, boiled||1 cup||134.4||3.23||16.1||2.2|
|Cod, baked/broiled||4 oz-wt||119.1||2.82||14.1||2.1|
|Collard greens, boiled||1 cup||49.4||1.09||5.5||2|
|Carrots, raw||1 cup||52.5||1.13||5.6||1.9|
|Broccoli, steamed||1 cup||43.7||0.94||4.7||1.9|
|Eggplant, cooked, cubes||1 cup||27.7||0.59||3||1.9|
|Peanuts, raw||0.25 cup||207||4.4||22||1.9|
|Spinach, boiled||1 cup||41.4||0.88||4.4||1.9|
|Fennel, raw, sliced||1 cup||27||0.56||2.8||1.9|
|Turnip greens, cooked||1 cup||28.8||0.59||3||1.8|
|Spelt grains, cooked||4 oz-wt||144||2.91||14.6||1.8|
|Beef tenderloin, lean, broiled||4 oz-wt||240.4||4.44||22.2||1.7|
|Winter squash, baked, cubes||1 cup||80||1.44||7.2||1.6|
|Swiss chard, boiled||1 cup||35||0.63||3.1||1.6|
|Cauliflower, boiled||1 cup||28.5||0.51||2.5||1.6|
|Kale, boiled||1 cup||36.4||0.65||3.2||1.6|
|Green beans, boiled||1 cup||43.8||0.77||3.9||1.6|
|Mustard seeds||2 tsp||35||0.6||3||1.5|
|Cantaloupe, cubes||1 cup||56||0.92||4.6||1.5|