Vitamin B3: benefits, deficiencies, sources

What are the benefits of vitamin B3? How to get it and what are the risks in case of shortage? Here’s everything you need to know about vitamin B3.


What is Vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3 is present also called vitamin PP (preventive pellagra), ‘Niacin’ and ‘nicotinic acid’. It is soluble in water (soluble in water) and is one of B vitaminslike vitamins B1B2, B5, B6B8, B9 and B12. Its amide is nicotinamide. The redox cofactor, vitamin B3, is a precursor to NAD + (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP + (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate), a coenzyme required for metabolism. Vitamin PP is involved in the conversion of nutrients into energy, the synthesis of fatty acids and the production of sex hormones (testosteroneestrogen, progesterone) as well as red blood cells.

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What are the benefits and indications of vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3 is a cholesterol-lowering agent: it is known for its ability to lower blood cholesterol. Also, it poses HDL cholesterol levels (high-density lipoproteins), commonly referred to as ‘good cholesterol’. HDL cholesterol transports cholesterol to the liver to break it down. Thus, it “cleanses” the arteries of bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, which causes the arteries to become clogged with lipids and other cells.

Vitamin B3 is essential proper functioning of the nervous system. It benefits brain function (memory, concentration, reasoning). A study by researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne was published in the journal Science 2016 indicates that vitamin B3 regenerates cells skin, mouse muscles and brain. In a study of genetically modified flies, the University of Leicester team showed that vitamin B3 protects dopaminergic neurons from degeneration, which would help fight Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin B3 helps maintain normal skin. According to some sources, it would be beneficial for the hair as it stimulates blood flow to the roots and slows down the aging of hair cells. scalp. In addition, vitamin B3 promote sleep by reducing stress and stabilizes the mood. However, it should be noted that the European Health Authorities do not allow niacin products to claim:

  • improve hair growth through microcirculation in the scalp;
  • improve nail growth;
  • essential for healthy hair, nails, teeth, bones and skin;
  • maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
  • helps maintain normal blood circulation.

What are the symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency?

Vitamin B3 deficiency causes pellagra. The disease manifests itself in chronic diarrhea, skin hyperpigmentation sun exposure, skin lesions and neurological disorders (dementia). Vitamin B3 supplements can be used to treat pellagra, which is the origin of the name ‘vitamin PP’: Pellagra Preventive.

Vitamin B3 deficiency can affect people with chronic bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and celiac disease) as well as people withalcoholism and cirrhosis.

Where can I Find Vitamin B3 in Food?

Foods rich in vitamin B3 include Royal jellybaked yeast, rice bran, whole grains, liver, meat and fish.

What are the recommended amounts of vitamin B3?

ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety) defines vitamin B3 requirements in milligrams EN / MJ (niacin equivalent per megajoule. Average nutritional requirement (ANR) is 1.3 mg IU / MJ and population dietary RNP) is 1, 6 mg NE / MJ.

According to ANSES, the upper limit of safety (MRL) is:

  • 2 mg EN / MJ for children from 1 to 3 years;
  • 3 mg EN / MJ for children 4 to 6 years of age;
  • 4 mg EN / MJ for children aged 7-10 years;
  • 6 mg EN / MJ for adolescents aged 11 to 14 years;
  • 8 mg EN / MJ for adolescents aged 15-17 years;
  • 10 mg EN / MJ for men and women 18 years of age and older.

Other sources indicate the recommended daily intake of vitamin B3 in milligrams per day: 14 mg / d for men and 11 mg / d for women.

Vitamin B3 can be supplied in the form supplement capsules or tablets available at pharmacies and online sales sites. Vitamin supplements contain nicotinamide, which is easier to absorb. In case of deficiency, the daily dose can range from 500 to 1000 mg. Nicotinamide tablets are available by prescription.

What is the risk of vitamin B3 overdose?

Therapeutic use of vitamin B3 must be directed by your doctor. In fact, an overdose of nicotinic acid can cause side effects : hot flushes with redness of the face, chest and neck, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or itching. A An overdose of vitamin B3 also affects the liver and may cause symptoms of diabetes.

On the other hand, nicotinic acid may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and cholesterol treatments.high blood pressureepilepsy, Type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Therefore, it is important to tell your doctor about the use of vitamin B3 before starting treatment or taking any other food supplement.

Take high doses of vitamin B3 not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. It is also contraindicated in people with diabetes, liver disease. kidney stones or excess uric acid.

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