What is Niacin?
Niacin is a B vitamin, and is also known as vitamin B3. Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that must be consumed through one’s diet or supplements in order to be attained by the body. Its primary function is to help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn provides the body with energy. It is also beneficial to the digestive and nervous systems, and helps to keep the eyes, skin, and hair healthy. A deficiency of niacin in one’s diet may lead to a slowing of the body’s metabolism, and a severe deficiency can lead to the disease pellagra and possibly death. Niacin deficiency usually only occurs in cultures like those in South America that depend on corn as a primary grain, for the body cannot convert the nutrients of corn into niacin without other accompanying ingredients.

What are the health benefits of Niacin?
Niacin can help promote blood flow through the dilation of capillaries and therefore is used to treat tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. Niacin has also been found to lower overall cholesterol and yet raises HDL, or good, cholesterol. Other conditions for which niacin is used include arthritis, cold hands and feet or Raynaud’s phenomenon, headaches, migraines, and high blood pressure. Niacin has also been used for pain relief.

What foods are good sources of Niacin?
Niacin may be found in beef, chicken, tuna, salmon, milk, eggs, whole grain foods, enriched grains and cereals, nuts, legumes, green and leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and asparagus, among other foods.

Where can I find Niacin?
Niacin is also available as a supplement. Niacin can be found online, in pharmacies, in health food stores, and in the offices of alternative medical practitioners.

Are there any precautions for taking Niacin?
Excessive dosages of niacin can lead to skin conditions, gastrointestinal conditions, cardiac conditions, gout, and liver toxicity.

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This entry was posted in Natural Health Dictionary, Supplements, Vitamins and Nutrients.