Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin, Nicotinic acid, and Nicotinamide. Vitamin B3 was discovered in 1937 by Casimir Funk. He was a polish biochemist that accidentally isolated Vitamin B3. At first it was named the pellagra preventing factor. Funk’s research didn’t become relevant until Joseph Goldberger attempted to analyse Vitamin B3 deficient diets of Mississippi inmates. This was when Pellagra was discovered and action taken to treat it.
Symptoms fo deficiency, known as pellagra includes dry/scaly skin, indigestion, vomiting, depression, low mood, reduced circulation and lethargy. The best dietary sources of Vitamin b3 includes rice, wholegrains, turkey, mackerel, red meat and seeds. Tryptophan can also be a secondary source, food sources of tryptophan are dairy products and eggs.
A typical adult should consume 14-16mg per day. This increases to 18mg when pregnant and 17mg when breast feeding. We are actually able to produce Vitamin B3 ourselves from the amino acid Tryptophan. For every 60mg of Tryptophan, 1mg and Niacin is produced.
Here are some health benefits of Vitamin B3 :
- Vitamin B3 has been associated with improvements in diabetic symptoms, nervous system functionality, improved blood flow and healthy skin.
- Much like all B-vitamin, Vitamin B3 is involved in energy production. In fact, one of the body’s main co-enzymes involved in energy production is Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, produced from Vitamin B3.
- Vitamin B3 is associated with improvements in cognitive health. One study found taking Vitamin B3 led to better mental clarity, cognitive health and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Vitamin B3 has also been associated with heart health according to studies. One study showed a 10% improvement in cholesterol levels and as a result a 26% reduction in the incidence of strokes.