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The Importance of Vitamin B3 – Niacin

What is Vitamin B3 – Niacin

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By: Robert J Banach  Robert J Banach on Google+  | Sept. 1, 2013

Vitamin B3 is one of 8 B vitamins, it is known as Niacin (nicotinic acid).

All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, help the body use fats and proteins. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver and to maintain nervous system functionality.

In particular, Niacin helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body, it is important in improving circulation and as a cholesterol treatment there is strong evidence that it boosts HDL, the good cholesterol, and assists in lowering triglycerides.

As a treatment plan for HDL, it must be taken in high doses, and could be detrimental to one’s health, thus must be taken under your medical practitioners supervision.

Niacin is important for our DNA as it assists in its production, and a deficiency is thought to be the cause of some cancers.

Other possible benefits of Niacin are to help reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes, research is ongoing.

Sources of Niacin

Excellent sources of Niacin include chicken, turkey, lamb, grass-fed beef, tuna, salmon, sardines, spelt, swordfish, sunflower seeds, peanuts, crimini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus.

Bread and cereals are usually fortified with niacin, and foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body coverts into niacin, include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Recommended Daily Intake

  • Children: between 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age
  • Men: 16 milligrams daily
  • Women: 14 milligrams daily
  • Women (pregnant): 18 milligrams daily
  • Women (breastfeeding): 17 milligrams daily

NOTE:  Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily

Supplements

Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Niacin each day to meet their daily recommended intake.  If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.

Higher doses for treatment of HDL should only be taken under the supervision of your medical practitioner.

Also, as higher doses of Niacin may react with medications, again, consult your medical practitioner.

Deficiency

Niacin deficiency may affect your energy production causing general weakness, muscular weakness and lack of appetite. Skin infections and digestive problems can also be associated with niacin deficiency.

References:

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) | University of Maryland Medical Center | Wikipedia | WebMD | Medline Plus | WHFoods.org

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