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Niacin - Vitamin B3

(nicotinic acid, niacinamide)


Niacin, a member of the B-complex vitamins, is a water-soluble vitamin that is stable to heat, light, oxidation, and acids. It is involved in reactions that generate energy in tissues by the biochemical conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and in the synthesis of DNA and various hormones. It is absorbed in the intestine and stored in the liver. Excessive niacin is excreted in the urine.

Some recent research carried out at the University of California has shown that large doses of vitamin B3 can reverse the effects of Altzheimer’s disease in mice, but a similar effect has not been demonstrated in humans. As usual this lack of research on a promising medicinal agent may be more due to the unpatentable nature of a simple vitamin than to any other factor.

FOOD SOURCES

Animal and poultry meat and offal, brewer's yeast, eyebright, feverfew, seafood, green leafy vegetables, legumes, milk, nuts, sunflower seeds. Niacin is formed in the body from tryptophan.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Niacin, niacinamide. Niacinamide does not give the hot flush effect that can be associated with niacin, however niacinamide may cause depression.

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY

Pellagra (skin disease), redness of skin and inflammation caused by gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired short term memory, apprehension, canker sores, dementia, depression, dermatitis, diarrhoea, dizziness, emotional instability, general fatigue, halitosis, headaches, hyperirritability, indigestion, insomnia, irritation and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, loss of appetite, muscular weakness, nausea, nervous disorders, rashes, rough inflamed skin, strain, swollen red tongue, tender gums, tension, tremors, ulcers, various skin eruptions, vomiting. Excessive consumption of sugar, starches, and antibiotics will deplete the bodies supply of niacin.

SIGNS OF TOXICITY

Dosages in excess of 100mg can cause tingling and itching sensations, intense flushing of the skin, throbbing in the head because of dilation of the blood vessels. These effects are not considered dangerous and only last for approximately 15 minutes. More than 2 grams of niacin can cause liver damage.

DAILY REQUIREMENT

15-20mg depending on body weight and age.

 

 

 

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