Vitamin B3 is the third of the various vitamins that comprise the group B complex. It was originally known as nicotinic acid before being more commonly referred to as niacin. This vitamin is rather stable due to its resistance to heat, oxidation and alkalies. While the process of cooking foods does not reduce the amount of niacin, 15-25% of niacin content may still be lost in the cooking water and meat drippings because it is water soluble. The liver is able to manufacture niacin from tryptophan but not enough is able to be synthesized so it must also be acquired through daily food intake.
Bodily Functions Performed by Vitamin B3
Niacin helps the other vitamins from the B group metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins into a usable energy source. It helps maintain enzyme activity and nervous cell signaling within the body. This vitamin also plays a role in dilating blood capillaries and, in combination with other vitamins, maintains healthy skin. It is necessary in the production of various hormones such as insulin, cortisone, thyroxin, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Symptoms Of Deficiency:
- The deficiency of niacin is known as a disease called pellagra
- Mouth sores
- Diarrhea and upset stomach
- Nervousness and irritability
- Chronic headaches
- Inability to remember things properly
- Mental weakness and dizziness
- Neurasthenia – weakness of the nerves
- May contribute to anemia
Foods High In Vitamin B3
Animal foods such as sheep liver, pork, poultry, prawns, other lean meats and cow milk are quality niacin sources. Green vegetables such as turnip, beet greens, carrot leaves, colcasia and celery also contain niacin. The vitamin is also found in chilgoza pine seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, rice and wheat. However, white-wheat flour contains a lower amount of niacin due to the removal of the bran during the milling process.
Ailments That Vitamin B3 Eliminates:
Flushing and redness of the skin, itching and rashes, diarrhea, dry skin, upset stomach
Vitamin B3 Toxicity:
High dosages of 3000 mg per day may cause digestion problems, high blood sugar level, blurred vision jaundice and liver disorders.