Health article

Niacin – Shopper

It is a reader-friendly overview of Niacin. For extra particulars, see our well being skilled reality sheet on Niacin.

What’s niacin and what does it do?

Niacin (additionally referred to as vitamin B3) helps flip the meals you eat into the vitality you want. Niacin is necessary for the event and performance of the cells in your physique.

How a lot niacin do I would like?

The quantity of niacin you want is determined by your age and intercourse. Common day by day beneficial quantities are listed beneath in milligrams (mg) of niacin equivalents (NE) (apart from infants of their first 6 months).

The mg NE measure is used as a result of your physique may also make niacin from tryptophan, an amino acid in proteins. For instance, while you eat turkey, which is excessive in tryptophan, a few of this amino acid is transformed to niacin in your liver. Utilizing mg NE accounts for each the niacin you eat and the niacin your physique makes from tryptophan. Infants of their first six months don’t make a lot niacin from tryptophan.

Life Stage Beneficial Quantity
Start to six months 2 mg
Infants 7–12 months 4 mg NE
Youngsters 1–3 years 6 mg NE
Youngsters 4–8 years 8 mg NE
Youngsters 9–13 years 12 mg NE
Teen boys 14–18 years 16 mg NE
Teen ladies 14–18 years 14 mg NE
Grownup males 19+ years 16 mg NE
Grownup ladies 19+ years 14 mg NE
Pregnant teenagers and girls 18 mg NE
Breastfeeding teenagers and girls 17 mg NE

What meals present niacin?

Niacin is discovered naturally in lots of meals, and is added to some meals. You will get beneficial quantities of niacin by consuming quite a lot of meals, together with the next:

  • Animal meals, comparable to poultry, beef, pork, and fish
  • Some varieties of nuts, legumes, and grains
  • Enriched and fortified meals, comparable to many breads and cereals

What sorts of niacin dietary dietary supplements can be found?

Niacin is present in multivitamin/multimineral dietary supplements. Additionally it is accessible in B-complex dietary dietary supplements and dietary supplements containing solely niacin. The 2 major types of niacin in dietary dietary supplements are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide.

Niacin (within the type of nicotinic acid) can also be accessible as a prescription medication used to deal with excessive blood levels of cholesterol.

Am I getting sufficient niacin?

Most individuals in the USA get sufficient niacin from the meals they eat. Niacin deficiency could be very uncommon in the USA. Nonetheless, some individuals are extra probably than others to have bother getting sufficient niacin:

What occurs if I don’t get sufficient niacin?

You may develop niacin deficiency if you aren’t getting sufficient niacin or tryptophan from the meals you eat. Extreme niacin deficiency results in a illness referred to as pellagra. Pellagra, which is unusual in developed international locations, can have these results:

  • Tough pores and skin that turns crimson or brown within the solar
  • A vibrant crimson tongue
  • Vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Melancholy
  • Complications
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Aggressive, paranoid, or suicidal habits
  • Hallucinations, apathy, lack of reminiscence

In its remaining levels, pellagra results in lack of urge for food adopted by dying.

What are some results of niacin on well being?

Scientists are learning niacin to raised perceive the way it impacts well being. Right here is an instance of what this analysis has proven.

Heart problems

Scientists have studied using giant doses of niacin within the type of nicotinic acid to assist cut back the danger of coronary heart assault and stroke in folks with atherosclerosis. They discovered that prescription-strength nicotinic acid (greater than 100 occasions the beneficial dietary allowance) can decrease blood ranges of LDL (dangerous) ldl cholesterol, increase ranges of HDL (good) ldl cholesterol, and decrease ranges of triglycerides. However these favorable results on blood lipids (fat) don’t have an effect on the danger of getting a cardiovascular occasion, comparable to coronary heart assault, sudden cardiac dying, or stroke. As well as, specialists don’t advocate excessive doses of nicotinic acid for folks taking a statin remedy.

Your healthcare supplier ought to approve and supervise any use of very excessive doses of nicotinic acid (within the hundreds of milligrams) to deal with atherosclerosis.

Can niacin be dangerous?

The niacin that meals and drinks naturally comprise is protected. Nonetheless, dietary dietary supplements with 30 mg or extra of nicotinic acid could make the pores and skin in your face, arms, and chest flip crimson and burn, tingle, and itch. These signs may also result in complications, rashes, and dizziness.

In case you take nicotinic acid as a medicine in doses of 1,000 or extra mg/day, it may trigger extra extreme unwanted effects. These embrace:

  • Low blood strain (which might enhance the danger of falls)
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Excessive blood sugar ranges
  • Nausea, heartburn, and stomach ache
  • Blurred or impaired imaginative and prescient and fluid buildup within the eyes

Lengthy-term therapy, particularly with extended-release types of nicotinic acid, may cause liver issues, together with hepatitis and liver failure.

Niacin within the type of nicotinamide has fewer unwanted effects than nicotinic acid. Nonetheless, at excessive doses of 500 mg/day or extra, nicotinamide may cause diarrhea, straightforward bruising, and might enhance bleeding from wounds. Even increased doses of three,000 mg/day or extra may cause nausea, vomiting, and liver harm.

The day by day higher limits for niacin from dietary dietary supplements are listed beneath.

Ages Higher Restrict
Start to 12 months Not established
Youngsters 1–3 years 10 mg
Youngsters 4–8 years 15 mg
Youngsters 9–13 years 20 mg
Teenagers 14–18 years 30 mg
Adults 19+ years 35 mg


Does niacin work together with drugs or different dietary dietary supplements?

Niacin dietary dietary supplements can work together or intervene with sure medicines that you simply take, and a few medicines can decrease niacin ranges in your physique. Listed below are some examples:

  • Tuberculosis medication (comparable to isoniazid and pyrazinamide) intervene with the physique’s skill to transform tryptophan to niacin. This interference can decrease niacin ranges in your physique.
  • Excessive doses of nicotinic acid (1,500 mg/day or extra) can increase blood sugar ranges and intervene with the effectiveness of diabetes drugs. These doses may even increase blood sugar ranges in individuals who don’t have diabetes.

Inform your physician, pharmacist, and different healthcare suppliers about any dietary dietary supplements and prescription or over-the-counter medicines you’re taking. They will let you know if the dietary dietary supplements would possibly work together along with your medicines. They will additionally let you know if the medicines would possibly intervene with how your physique absorbs, makes use of, or breaks down niacin and different vitamins.

Niacin and healthful consuming

Individuals ought to get most of their vitamins from meals and drinks, in keeping with the federal authorities’s Dietary Tips for Individuals. Meals comprise nutritional vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and different elements that profit well being. In some instances, fortified meals and dietary dietary supplements are helpful when it isn’t potential to fulfill wants for a number of vitamins (e.g., throughout particular life levels comparable to being pregnant). For extra details about constructing a wholesome dietary sample, see the Dietary Tips for Individualsexternal link disclaimer and the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s MyPlate.external link disclaimer

The place can I discover out extra about niacin?

  • For basic info on niacin:
  • For extra info on meals sources of niacin:
  • For extra recommendation on selecting dietary dietary supplements:
  • For details about constructing a wholesome dietary sample:


This reality sheet by the Workplace of Dietary Dietary supplements (ODS) offers info that ought to not take the place of medical recommendation. We encourage you to speak to your healthcare suppliers (physician, registered dietitian, pharmacist, and many others.) about your curiosity in, questions on, or use of dietary dietary supplements and what could also be greatest on your total well being. Any point out on this publication of a selected services or products, or advice from a corporation or skilled society, doesn’t characterize an endorsement by ODS of that product, service, or skilled recommendation.

Up to date: March 22, 2021 Historical past of adjustments to this reality sheet

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