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Vitamin B3

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble B vitamin that can be found naturally in certain foods, added to foods, and sold as a supplement.

Pure Medical - Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble B vitamin that can be found naturally in certain foods, added to foods, and sold as a supplement.

Overview

Niacin is a type of vitamin B3 that the body produces from tryptophan. It can be found in a variety of foods such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereals.

Vitamin B3 niacin is necessary for the proper function of fats and sugars in the body as well as the maintenance of healthy cells. Because of its effects on blood clotting, niacin at high doses may benefit people with heart disease. It may also improve blood levels of fats known as triglycerides.

The Department of Health and Social Care has approved prescription forms of niacin for treating high cholesterol and preventing vitamin B3 deficiency and related conditions such as pellagra. People take niacin supplements to treat metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cataracts, high blood pressure, and a variety of other conditions, but there is little scientific evidence to back up most of these claims.

Vitamin B3 niacin should not be confused with NADH, niacinamide, inositol nicotinate, IP-6, or tryptophan. These are not the same thing.

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Source of Vitamin B3

Food Sources of Vitamin B3

Niacin deficiency is uncommon because it is found in many foods, both animal and plant-based, these include:
  • Red meat: beef, beef liver, pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Brown rice
  • Fortified cereals and bread
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Legumes
  • Bananas 

Supplements

Vitamin B3 niacin supplements are available in the form of nicotinic acid or nicotinamide. Sometimes the amounts in supplements are far above the RDA, causing unpleasant flushing side effects. Niacin supplements are also available as a prescription medicine for the treatment of high cholesterol; this typically comes in an extended-release form of nicotinic acid that allows for slower, more gradual absorption, preventing flushing. Because of the extremely high doses of nicotinic acid required, up to 2,000 mg daily, this supplement should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

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Uses & effectiveness of Vitamin B3

Most Likely Beneficial for

Cholesterol or blood fat levels that are abnormal (dyslipidemia). In people with abnormal cholesterol levels, taking niacin prescription products by mouth in doses of 500 mg or more improves cholesterol levels. Dietary supplement forms of Vitamin B3 niacin are typically lower in the dose and do not appear to improve blood fat levels.

A disease caused by a lack of niacin (pellagra). Niacin prescription products are approved by the Department of Health and Social Care for the prevention and treatment of pellagra.

Possibly Beneficial for

Blood fat levels in HIV/AIDS patients are abnormal. In people with this condition, taking prescription niacin products by mouth appears to improve levels of cholesterol and blood fats known as triglycerides. It is unknown whether niacin supplements are beneficial.

A collection of symptoms that raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). In people with metabolic syndrome, taking prescription niacin products by mouth appears to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol while decreasing levels of blood fats called triglycerides. It is unknown whether niacin supplements are beneficial.

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Side Effects of Vitamin B3

When taken orally, niacin is probably safe for most people if used correctly. When used as directed, prescription niacin products are safe. Vitamin B3 Niacin-containing foods and supplements are safe in doses less than 35 mg daily.

A flushing reaction is a common niacin side effect. Burning, itching, and redness of the face, arms, and chest, as well as headaches, may result. Starting with small doses and taking 325 mg of aspirin before each Vitamin B3 niacin dose may be beneficial. This reaction usually subsides as the body becomes accustomed to Vitamin B3 niacin.

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If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this page. In the UK you can also report side effects directly to the Yellow Card Scheme By reporting side effects you can help provide vital information on the safety of this medical supplement.

Is this Vitamin B3 suitable for you?

Take precautions:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding. When taken orally while pregnant or breastfeeding, niacin is most likely safe. While pregnant or breastfeeding, the maximum recommended amount of niacin is 30 mg daily for those under the age of 18, and 35 mg daily for those 19 and older.
  • Children. Niacin is probably safe when taken orally in doses less than the tolerable upper intake level (UL) by age. The UL is 10 mg for children aged 1-3 years, 15 mg for children aged 4-8 years, 20 mg for children aged 9-13 years, and 30 mg for children aged 14-18 years.
  • Allergies. Niacin may aggravate allergies by causing histamine release. Histamine is the chemical that causes allergic reactions.
  • Chest pain (Angina). Niacin should be used with caution in people who have angina.
  • Diabetes. Niacin has the potential to raise blood sugar levels. People with diabetes who take niacin should keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels.
  • Gallbladder disease. Niacin may aggravate gallbladder disease.
  • Gout. Niacin in high doses may increase the risk of gout.
  • Kidney disease. Niacin may build up in people with kidney disease. This could be harmful.
  • Liver disease. Taking large amounts of niacin may cause liver damage. If you have liver disease, avoid using large amounts.
  • Low blood pressure. Taking niacin in high doses might lower blood pressure and worsen this condition.
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers. Niacin may aggravate ulcers. If you have ulcers, do not use them in large quantities.
  • Surgery. Niacin may impair blood sugar control during and after surgery. Consult your doctor about whether you should stop taking niacin before a scheduled surgery.
  • Fatty deposits around tendons (tendon xanthomas). Niacin may increase the risk of xanthoma infections.
  • Thyroid disorders. Thyroxine is a hormone that the thyroid gland produces. Niacin may lower thyroxine levels in the blood. This may aggravate the symptoms of certain thyroid disorders.

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Consult your doctor

If you are taking any of the following medicines please consult your doctor:

  • Alcohol (Ethanol). Vitamin B3 niacin has the potential to cause flushing and itchiness. Consuming alcohol while taking niacin may aggravate the flushing and itching. There is also some concern that drinking alcohol while taking niacin may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Allopurinol (Zyloprim). Gout is treated with allopurinol. Large doses of niacin may aggravate gout and reduce the effects of allopurinol.
  • Diabetes medications (Antidiabetes drugs). High niacin doses may raise blood sugar levels. Taking niacin in conjunction with diabetes medications may reduce the effectiveness of these medications. Keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels.
  • Medications used for lowering cholesterol (Bile acid sequestrants). Some medications known as bile acid sequestrants can reduce the amount of niacin absorbed by the body. This may lessen the effects of niacin. Niacin and these medications should be taken at least 4-6 hours apart.
  • Medications used for lowering cholesterol (Statins). In some people, taking niacin with statins may increase the risk of muscle damage. Use with extreme caution.
  • Probenecid (Benemid). Gout is treated with probenecid. Large doses of niacin may aggravate gout and reduce the effectiveness of probenecid.
  • Sulfinpyrazone (Anturane). Gout is treated with sulfinpyrazone. Large doses of niacin may aggravate gout and reduce the effects of sulfinpyrazone.
  • Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs). Niacin has the potential to lower blood pressure. Taking niacin with blood pressure medications may cause blood pressure to drop too low. Keep a close eye on your blood pressure.
  • Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs). Niacin may be harmful to the liver. Some medications can also be toxic to the liver. Taking niacin with a liver-harming medication may increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs). Niacin may help to slow blood clotting. Taking niacin with other medications that slow blood clotting may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.
  • Thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones are produced by the body on their own. Niacin may lower thyroid hormone levels. Taking niacin with thyroid hormone pills may reduce the effectiveness of the thyroid hormone.
  • Gemfibrozil (Lopid). In some people, taking niacin with gemfibrozil may increase the risk of muscle damage. Use with extreme caution.
  • Aspirin. Aspirin is frequently used to alleviate the flushing caused by niacin. When combined with niacin, these low doses of aspirin do not appear to cause any problems. However, taking higher doses of aspirin, such as 1 gramme daily, may slow the body’s elimination of niacin. This could result in an excess of niacin in the body, which could lead to side effects. Stick to lower aspirin doses, such as 325 mg or less.

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Dosage for Vitamin B3

Niacin (Vitamin B3) is listed on the label of supplements in niacin equivalents (NE). 1mg of niacin equals 1mg of NE. When niacin is labelled as NE, it may contain other forms of niacin, such as niacinamide, inositol nicotinate, and tryptophan.
Vitamin B3 Niacin can also be found in a variety of foods such as meat, fish, milk, eggs, vegetables, and cereals. The recommended dietary allowance is the amount that should be consumed on a daily basis (RDA). The RDA for males 14 years and older is 16 .5mg NE. The RDA for females 14 years and older is 13.2 mg NE. The RDA for pregnant women is 18 mg NE. The RDA for NE while breastfeeding is 17 mg. The RDA for children varies according to age. Speak with a doctor to determine the best dose for a specific condition.

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Other names

OTHER NAME(S):
3-Pyridine Carboxamide, 3-Pyridinecarboxylic Acid, Acide Nicotinique, Acide Pyridine-Carboxylique-3, Amide de l’Acide Nicotinique, Anti-Blacktongue Factor, Antipellagra Factor, B Complex Vitamin, Complexe de Vitamines B, Facteur Anti-Pellagre, Niacin-Niacinamide, Niacin/Niacinamide, Niacina y Niacinamida, Niacinamide, Niacine, Niacine et Niacinamide, Nicamid, Nicosedine, Nicotinamide, Nicotinic Acid, Nicotinic Acid Amide, Nicotylamidum, Pellagra Preventing Factor, Vitamin B3, Vitamin PP, Vitamina B3, Vitamine B3, Vitamine PP.
INGREDIENTS:
 Nicotinic acid, croscarmellose sodium, hydrogenated vegetable oil, magnesium stearate and microcrystalline cellulose.

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