Vital to a well-functioning body
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is part of the energy metabolism of all the cells of the body. The vitamin is extremely important to a well-functioning body. Vitamin B3 plays a role in the conversion of glucose, amino acids and fat.
The vitamin has a basic function in a wide range of body functions:
- the metabolism, where the vitamin keeps the body burning fat, and ensures conversion of air and food into energy
- the nervous system, where the vitamin keeps the system healthy and strong, so signals can be sent throughout the body
- mucus membranes - vitamin B3 protects against damage in the membranes by maintaining optimal strength
- the skin, where proteins both build up the muscles and strengthen the skin
- energy levels, where vitamin B3 counteracts and prevents fatigue
- normal physical function, because of the vitamin’s effect on other areas of the body
In the absence of vitamin B3, the body's amino acid tryptophan transforms and begins to form the vitamin. Deficiencies can arise from alcoholism, liver disease, prolonged dieting, untreated diabetes and the use of diuretic drugs.
A vitamin B3 deficiency is rarely seen in the north of Europe. However, a deficiency can cause the disease pellagra, which leads to diarrhea, sunburn-like eczema, hallucinations and, in severe cases, dementia and extreme emaciation.
You can find vitamin B3 in foods with protein content, such as:
- All types of meat; including fish and poultry
- Whole grain products
- Green vegetables; for example, spinach, broccoli and cabbage
Recommended daily dosage:
Women: 15 NE
Men: 18 NE
NE = niacin equivalents