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Niacin effects and what is vitamin B3 important for? – Here’s everything you should know!

In order for our body to remain healthy and efficient, it needs all vitamins in sufficient quantities. Our blood, bones, skin, organs, eyes and nerves all need vitamins to function. If you eat a balanced diet, you can usually achieve the recommended amount of vitamins. While we all know what vitamins A, C, and D are important for, most of us don’t know what vitamin B3 is good for. Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is one of the eight B vitamins and is essential for numerous metabolic processes in the body, such as the production of fatty acids and cell division. It also ensures healthy skin, the regeneration of muscles and nerves and can lower cholesterol levels. But what is niacin and what foods contain it? Read on to find out everything you should know about niacin’s effects and functions.

What is niacin?

Niacin effects health vitamin B3 for skin and hair

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 and belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins. It is the generic term for two related compounds with vitamin effects – nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Nicotinic acid can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Niacinamide, on the other hand, can help treat psoriasis and prevent skin cancer. These are converted by the body into the biologically active form vitamin B3. Since it can not only be ingested through food, but can also be produced by the human body itself, it is actually not a vitamin in the classic sense. Niacin is found in all living cells in the body, but its concentration is highest in the kidneys, adipose tissue and liver. It is extremely important for the normal functioning of the nervous system and is involved in the build-up and breakdown of carbohydrates. It also supports the health of the skin and mucous membranes and helps reduce tiredness.

What is the daily requirement and what are the symptoms of niacin deficiency?

Vitamin B3 benefits Niacin effects skin and hair

How much niacin the body needs depends on a number of factors, including age, gender, and energy needs. The German Nutrition Society recommends the following values ​​for the daily vitamin B3 intake:

  • Children and adolescents: 8 to 17 mg
  • Adult women: 13 to 17 mg
  • Adult men: 14 to 17 mg
  • Pregnant women: 14 to 16 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 16 mg

Daily needs are covered on the one hand by food and on the other by the body’s own production. Alcoholics and people with chronic intestinal inflammation have an increased need. A niacin deficiency is quite rare in Western countries and is first noticeable through unspecific symptoms such as loss of appetite and physical weakness. Although niacin deficiency is rare, niacin overdose can in some cases have negative side effects such as reddening of the skin, itching, liver damage or even gastrointestinal discomfort. So unless you have a proven deficiency, then you should avoid dietary supplements. Here are some of the most common symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency:

  • Strong headache
  • Skin problems and inflammation
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • Memory loss and mental confusion
  • depression
  • If left untreated, niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra, which can cause multiple organ failure.

Niacin effects on health

Vitamin B3 Benefits Health Niacin effects on skin and hair

Niacin is involved in many processes in our body and is said to support heart health, promote motivation, focus and mental energy and lower cholesterol levels. It also ensures beautiful skin and hair. In the following you will learn more about the effects of niacin and its importance for health.

  • Niacin for a Healthy Digestive System – Niacin plays an important role in breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol in the digestive system. This makes vitamin B3 essential for digestion.
  • Vitamin B3 for cholesterol levels – The niacin effect is particularly important for the cholesterol metabolism. Not only can it lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 20 percent, it can also increase the “good” HDL cholesterol by up to 35 percent. Therefore, niacin can be used to treat high blood lipid levels.

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  • Niacin increases brain function – The brain needs niacin to maintain energy and to function properly. The vitamin is of great importance for the development of various neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, and for the functioning of the nerves. According to a study carried out by the University of Tübingen, niacin has a positive effect on damaged nerve cells and can be used to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Vitamin B3 for muscle regeneration and more energy – Many sports enthusiasts can also benefit from the positive effects of niacin on the body. It increases the energy level and drives away tiredness and also contributes to the regeneration and recovery of the muscles after training.

The positive effects of niacin on our skin and hair

Skin care home remedies Niacin effect for the skin

Niacin is not only of great importance for our health, but is also considered a real wonder drug in the beauty world. Numerous clinical studies have already shown that vitamin B3 can have a positive effect on the skin and hair. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used for almost any skin problem and skin type. Since niacin is very well tolerated, there is no risk of irritation or sensitivity. Here are the top reasons why you should include niacin skin care products in your routine.

  • Niacin has an anti-aging effect – Thanks to its antioxidant properties, vitamin B3 can protect the skin from free radicals and thus prevent premature skin aging. In addition, niacin stimulates collagen and elastin production and ensures firmer and smoother skin that gains elasticity.
  • Provides plenty of moisture and strengthens the protective function of the skin – Niacin supports the formation of ceramides and lipids – substances that are essential for the protective function of the skin. A healthy skin barrier makes the skin more resistant to external influences and, above all, ensures that the skin loses less moisture. Therefore, skin care products with niacin are ideal for women with dry skin.

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  • Niacin minimizes enlarged pores – Niacin works on the inside of the pores and prevents the build-up of dirt and thus blockages and uneven, rough skin. Niacin skin care products strengthen the skin from the inside and help to visibly shrink the pores in the shortest possible time.
  • Reduces skin imperfections and has a soothing effect on the skin – Niacin regulates the skin’s production of sebum and can help mattify the T-zone. In addition, it has an antibacterial effect and supports skin regeneration, which means that the skin is less irritated and the complexion looks even and healthy.
  • Niacin against skin discoloration – As you know, the harmful rays of the sun can lead to hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Niacin inhibits the synthesis of melanin and can help treat and lighten pigment spots.

List of the best niacin foods

Niacin Foods Vitamin B3 Benefits for Skin and Hair

Niacin can be produced by the body itself or it can be taken in through food. It can be found in many foods – especially in animal products such as fish, meat and offal. Many plant-based foods such as mushrooms, mung beans, and peanuts are other excellent sources of vitamin B3. Since a niacin deficiency is relatively rare in this country, you should rather avoid dietary supplements. If you eat a healthy and varied diet, you shouldn’t have any problems meeting your daily niacin needs naturally. Here are the best niacin foods to include in your diet.

  • liver is one of the best natural sources of niacin. Just 100 grams of beef liver provide the body with up to 16 mg of niacin and thus cover our daily requirement.
  • chicken breast is a good source of not only niacin but high quality protein as well. 100 grams of cooked chicken breast contain around 15 mg of niacin, which corresponds to around 96% of the daily requirement.
  • Fish – Canned tuna is a great option for people who eat fish but not meat. A can of tuna contains up to 23 mg of niacin, which is even more than the recommended dose. 100 grams of grilled salmon also cover around 50% of the daily requirement for men and 62% of the daily requirement for women.
  • peanuts are one of the best plant-based niacin foods for anyone on a vegetarian or vegan diet. About 30 grams of peanut butter with no added sugar is sufficient to cover about half of the daily requirement.
  • Coffee and whole grains  are also excellent suppliers of vitamin B3.

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