Niacin properties

(Vitamin B3)


Characteristics of niacin

Vitamin B, or niacin, belongs to the complex of vitamin B.

Niacin may appear as nicotinic acid and nicotinamide which are obtained directly from food.

It can also be obtained from tryptophan an amino acid that the body gets with the help of B vitamins from food proteins.

What is niacin necessary for?


Niacin is necessary to transform carbohydrates into energy

We must have the suitable niacin leves

  • So that the organism transforms carbohydrates into energy.

  • Along with pyridoxine and riboflavin, to maintain the nervous system in good state.

  • To improve the circulation when relaxing the blood vessels.

  • It works, along with other vitamins of the complex B in the maintenance of the skin.

  • So that the digestive mucous are in good state.

  • To stabilize the sugar levels in the blood.

Problems caused by the lack of niacin

A serious deficiency of this vitamin is pronounced mainly in the form of serious alterations of the health:

  • Pellagra: It is a disease produced by the lack of niacin. Until the midtwentieth century it constituted a worldwide plague. A society that based its power on the consumption of maize, lacking tryptophan and with little niacin, developed a disease characterized by the poor condition of the skin (dark skin, dry, scaly skin with itchy feeling when you sunbathe), in addition to intestinal mucosal inflammation, diarrhea and in severe cases, dementia.

    At first it was thought that this disease was caused by some kind of germ until it was discovered that had its origin in a food shortage: a lack of niacin in the diet. Today is virtually eradicated in the developed world but remains a scourge in Africa and Asia.

  • Nerve Problems: Small deficiencies of niacin can be manifested as alterations of the nervous system, like nervousness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability and, in more serious cases, in the form of dementia.

  • Digestive Problems: The lack of this vitamin can be manifested as inflammations of the digestive apparatus that are translated in diarrhoea, intestinal malaise, indigestion, itching in the rectum, thickening of the tongue and mouth sores.

Niacin deficiency

A smaller deficiency is pronounced in the form of:

  • Bad breath.

  • General discomfort with weakness

  • Lack of interest

  • Indiscriminate general pain.

Where can niacin be found?


Bread has a lot of niacin

  • Animal sources of niacin: The main direct source animals are beef, chicken, lamb or pork. Liver is particularly rich. The fish, especially tuna, is also a rich source.

  • These same sources are also rich in tryptophan from which the body produces too niacin. This component is responsible for half of our food niacin. Milk or milk products (yogurt, custard, cheese, etc..) and eggs are rich in tryptophan.

  • Vegetable sources of niacin: Rich sources of niacin are: whole grains (rice, oats, wheat, etc.) and its derivatives (bread, pasta, wheat germ, etc.), peas, potatoes, artichokes, peanuts. Tryptophan rich vegetable sources are avocados, oats and dates.

  • Niacin supplements: Besides food, they can get this vitamin through supplements in the form of capsules or tablets. There are nicotinic acid supplements, niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate.

* Related information: (Food rich in niacin)

Medicinal properties of niacin

Normally a varied diet is sufficient to meet the daily demands of this vitamin. There are however some situations where it may be necessary to increase the daily dose. Supplementation of this vitamin, under strict medical supervision, may be appropriate.

Among all situations we would mention the following:

  • It helps to to improve circulatory system: Niacin produces relaxation of blood vessels which increases the elasticity of them and improves circulation.

    Supplementation of niacin is interesting in diseases that are caused by poor circulation, such as poor circulation in the legs or poor circulation in their hands. (1,500 mg inositol hexaniacinate split into 3 doses per day)

  • It is useful to reduce cholesterol: It has been shown that niacin can raise levels of good cholesterol and lowers levels of “bad cholesterol.” so it prevents the formation of blood clots (1500 mg inositol hexaniacinate split into 3 doses daily for a maximum of 60 days. Failure to leave the treatment effect.)

  • It improves arthritis: The use of niacin supplements to shrink the joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients, even to recover the damaged joints. (3000 mg of niacin a day, divided into 3 doses. See toxicity)

  • It stops the development of diabetes: Niacin, as niacinamide, can inhibit the development of diabetes mellitus or type I diabetes when given at the beginning of the disease. The use of this element in other types of diabetes aggravates this disease.

  • It improves the tinnitus: The niacin supplementation appears to improve this disease in some patients. (150 mg of niacin Manage divided into three daily doses before meals)

Daily requirement of niacin

The following table shows the minimum amounts recommended.

Recommended amount of niacin (B3 vitamin) in mcg (micrograms)
Less than 6 months 5
Of 6 months to 1 year 6
Of 1 to 3 years 9
Of 4 to 6 years 12
7 to 10 years 13
Men of 11 to 14 years 17
Men of 15 to 18 years 20
Men of 19 to 50 years 19
Men of more than 50 years 15
Women of 11 to 50 years 15
Women of more than 50 years 13
Women during the pregnancy 17
Nursing women 20

Is niacin safe?

Taken from food it is completely safe, but niacin supplements can be toxic if not taken properly ( More information: Niacin toxicity)


Vitamin B1


Vitamin B2


Vitamin B3


Vitamin B5

(Pantothenic acid)

Vitamin B6


Vitamin B7


Vitamin B9

(Folic acid)

Vitamin B12


Inositol PABA Lipoic acid

punto rojo More information on vitamins.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 March, 2019

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.