Niacin, also called vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient – so important that every part of our body needs this vitamin to function properly. There are two main chemical forms of niacin: niacinamide and nicotinic acid. Both these forms can be found in foods as well as supplements. As niacin is water-soluble, your body cannot store it. This also means that your body excretes extra amounts of this vitamin through urine if it’s not needed.
The deficiency of this vitamin may cause symptoms, such as depression, fatigue, skin rash, headache, memory loss, loss of appetite, etc.[r331] However, its deficiency is rare in most western countries as niacin is present in most foods we eat every day, such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and grains.
Fights Against Bad Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is regarded as harmful to our bodies. It gets deposited in the blood vessels and can lead to numerous cardiovascular problems. Niacin is known as an effective treatment for high cholesterol and can help in reducing bad cholesterol levels by 5 to 20%.[r178]
Helps Protect The Heart
Apart from being effective in lowering cholesterol levels, niacin is found to have beneficial impacts on heart health.[r176] It is asserted that niacin is an incredible anti-oxidant. It has been found to reduce oxidative stress along with having positive impacts on inflammation in the arteries. This results in reduced risks of atherosclerosis, which can harden the arteries and restrict blood flow. Research indicates that treatment of heart diseases with niacin is effective in both the cases – with and without statins.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Type-1 diabetes is characterized by a reduction in the pancreatic cells, which produce insulin. It is regarded as an autoimmune disease. Niacin has shown promising results regarding positive impacts on lowering the risk of type 1 diabetes. It is ascertained that niacin helps protect the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas; thus, having a beneficial effect on reducing the risk of developing type-1 diabetes.[r175]
Boosts Brain Function
Niacin helps provide energy to the brain, which is essential for carrying out all the functions of the body. Research into this has also revealed the significance of niacin for preventing brain fog and psychiatric symptoms.[r174] Though not definitive, some research evidence has also highlighted that high levels of niacin are required to keep Alzheimer's disease at bay.[r173] Niacin is also found to be extremely helpful in mending the damage done to brain cells in schizophrenia.[r172]
Helps Reduce Joint Inflammation
After a preliminary study investigating the role of niacin, it was concluded that niacinamide might possibly help cure arthritis.[r171] It was found to be effective in improving the flexibility of the joints and in lowering inflammation. Further investigations are being carried out to find the link between arthritis and niacin.
Daily Niacin Intake
Healthy Foods High In Niacin
|Black Chia Seeds||63%|
|White Sesame Seeds||32%|
- All food nutrient profiles are based on a weight of 100 grams.
- * RDI values are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day (Female, Age 19-30).
- All foods are vegetarian.