Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is an important component of the human diet. Like other water-soluble vitamins, the body expresses firing niacin, which means that a continuous supply must be consumed. Common sources of B3, along with other healthy vitamins and minerals, are meat, wheat germ, dairy products and yeast. In rare cases, a patient may need to take this vitamin as a supplement. Care should be taken when putting it on the diet, but as an excess can be harmful.
Vitamin B3 was discovered by chemists working on nicotine. When nicotine was oxidized, it produced nicotinic acid. As chemists explored the properties of the substance, they realized that it had potential health applications. Since nicotinic acid is found in compounds that do not contain nicotine, a new name was chosen to distinguish it from nicotine. Apparently, niacin is a telescopic word of nine cotinic ac id vitamins. Further studies showed that this vitamin played an important role in many biological functions, either in pure form or in the form of chemicals derived from it.
In addition to reducing bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, niacin also helps regulate a variety of bodily processes, including metabolism and cell repair, in the form of derivatives created in the body through biosynthesis. It is also shown to reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. A lack of niacin, called pellagra, can cause skin problems, susceptibility to cold, dementia, and diarrhea. Excess can also cause health problems, so supplemental B3 should only be taken under medical supervision.
Pure niacin is a white, water-soluble powder. Most people get enough of this vitamin from a balanced diet that contains foods with plenty of it. Women require around 14 milligrams each day, and men need a little more, 16 milligrams. Over 20 milligrams a day can bring on skin rashes, liver damage, and changes in the body’s natural insulin levels. If a patient is diagnosed with pellagra, a doctor may prescribe niacin supplements. These supplements are usually taken with food to increase absorption.
Many people do not eat a balanced diet, either because they lead busy lifestyles or because they are unaware of the basic needs of the human body. Vitamin deficiency can lead to health problems further down the line, and patients should consult a physician or nutritionist about their nutritional needs. The needs of the body change with age, and reviewing the diet with a professional can help determine whether a person needs to change their diet, or consider taking extra vitamins for health.
- Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin found in meat.
- Dairy products contain niacin.
- Wheat sprouts are high in niacin.
- Niacin and other B vitamins can help improve heart function.
- Most types of mushrooms are high in niacin, which helps raise good cholesterol in the body.