Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Insights & Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B3 benefits relate to energy production and improved skin health. Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that is also known as niacin. It exists in two main forms, as nicotinic acid and nicotinamide which have slightly different effects in the body.

What is Vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble vitamin that doesn’t stay in our bodies for long since it is discharged through urine. This also means that your body can secrete surplus amounts of niacin if it is not required. Our body’s key source of niacin is through foods, but it also derives the vitamin from tryptophan, an amino acid. As will all B vitamins, vitamin B3 helps converts food into fuel by helping enzymes properly do their work. Particularly, vitamin B3 is a key component of NADP and NAD, two coenzymes that are involved in cellular metabolism. Moreover, this vitamin plays a key role in making, signaling, and restoring DNA, besides acting as a powerful antioxidant.

What Does Vitamin B3 Do?

Like all of the 8 B vitamins, niacin plays a role in converting carbohydrates into glucose, metabolising fats and proteins, and keeping the nervous system working properly. B-complex vitamins are needed for a healthy liver, healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and to help the nervous system function properly. Niacin also helps the body make sex– and stress-related hormones. It also helps improves circulation and cholesterol levels.

Symptoms Of Vitamin B3 Deficiency

  1. Indigestion
  2. Fatigue
  3. Canker sores (ulcers)
  4. Vomiting
  5. Poor circulation
  6. Depression
  7. Memory loss
  8. Depression
  9. Swollen mouth
  10. Severe deficiency is called Pellagra and is characterised by cracked, scaly skin, dementia, and diarrhea

What Are The Benefits Of Niacin (Vitamin B3)?

1.Improves Heart Health
2.Can Improve Skin And Hair Health
3.Boosts Brain Function
4.Might Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes
5.Helps Treat Arthritis
6.Helps Treat Pellagra
7.Can Treat Erectile Dysfunction
8.Helps Treat Insomnia
9.Treats Sun Sensitivity
10.Prevent Motion Sickness
11.Helps With Detoxification
12.Boosts Energy
13.Can Promote Longevity
14.Promotes Digestion
15.Lowers LDL Cholesterol
16.Treats Pellagra
17.Improves Digestion

How much vitamin B-3 do we need?

The recommended daily intake varies according to age, sex, health goals, or a history of vitamin B deficiency. Vitamin B-3 intake is measured in niacin equivalents (NE).

For most people, the following daily a intake guidelines will prevent niacin deficiency:

  • infants 0-6 months: 2 NE
  • infants 7-12 months: 4 NE
  • children 1-3 years: 6 NE
  • children 4-8 years: 8 NE
  • children 9-13 years: 12 NE
  • children 14-18 years: 16 NE for boys; 14 NE for girls
  • adults 19 years and older: 16 NE for men; 14 NE for women
  • pregnant women: 18 NE
  • breast-feeding women: 17 NE

Vitamin B3 Rich Food Sources


Scientists and researchers constantly go back and forth trying to decide if coffee is definitively good or bad for your health, but there is one thing they know for sure—coffee is an excellent source of niacin. One cup o’ joe will set you back only a few calories (skip the cream and sugar) but will pack in a whopping 39.73 mg of niacin. Because it is so high in niacin, as well as caffeine, try to stick to a single cup per day.


Fish is also one of the best sources of vitamin B3. Among all the fish, tuna fish is exceptionally high in vitamin B3, providing 110 percent of the daily recommended value. Other varieties of fish that also contain niacin are mackerel and salmon. Plus they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

3.Chicken And Turkey

Chicken and turkey are widely consumed all over the world. These meats are a very good source of niacin. 100 grams of cooked chicken breast provides 74 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B3. Turkey breast contains 50 percent of vitamin B3.

4.Green Peas

Vegetarians needn’t worry about their daily intake of vitamin B3. There are plenty of vegetables that contain niacin, including green peas. A serving of 100 grams of green peas provides 10 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin B3.


All types of mushrooms are a good source of vitamin B3. Mushrooms contain 71 percent of niacin and also possess anti-cancer properties. White button mushrooms contain significant amounts of niacin with 35 percent of the daily recommended value.


Broccoli is one of the best natural sources of vitamin B3. Cooked or steamed broccoli can provide you with 1 milligram of niacin. Apart from providing the body with sufficient amounts of niacin, broccoli contains fibre, antioxidants and other important nutrients.


Asparagus is one of the most nutrient-dense foods and it is a good source of niacin too. Asparagus can provide you with 1 milligram of niacin and also it is high in nutritional value. You can prepare asparagus as a main dish or add it in chicken or beef curries.


Peanuts are crunchy legumes that can fulfil your daily requirement of vitamin B3. A 100 grams of serving provides 69 percent of vitamin B3. Peanut butter is equally beneficial when it comes to vitamin B3 if it is only organic peanut butter.

9.Kidney Beans

Kidney beans contain some amount of niacin. A 100 grams of serving contains 2 milligrams of niacin and these beans are extremely versatile. You can add kidney beans into your soups or cook them up as a main dish.


Tuna is another meet that people eat fairly regularly and is quite affordable. Rich in omega-3’s and niacin, tuna is a good protein option once in a while (just don’t get carried away as nutritionists are still concerned about the potential amounts of mercury in the fish).


A great sandwich meat and holiday treat, turkey is low in calories and incredibly rich in niacin. A typical 100 gram serving will ring in at just under 12 mg of niacin.


One of the few fruits considered to be high in niacin, the tasty mango offers 1.7 mg of niacin per fruit (about 11%DV).

Also read:

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