Why is vitamin B3 as essential as other nutrients?

Vitamins and minerals are essential components of our body. If we lack vitamins or minerals, we pay for them with our health.

Vitamin B3, well known as vitamin B3 complex, is one of the eight essential water-soluble vitamins. The term complex refers to the three forms of vitamin B3 which are niacin (nicotinic acid), nicotinamide (niacinamide) and nicotinamide riboside.

These three forms of vitamin B3 are converted in the body to synthesize nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (i.e. NAD), and it is almost impossible to obtain NAD without one of the B3 vitamins or a tryptophan, an essential amino acid.

You usually get the vitamin from the foods you eat. Some people take a niacin supplement to make sure they get enough. Others may use prescription niacin to manage their health conditions.

Why do you need niacin?

Niacin is an essential nutrient that you primarily get from food. Your body can also convert some tryptophan, one of the body’s amino acids, into a nutrient.

Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, your body does not store niacin. It excretes any excess vitamin in your urine. It’s important to eat foods containing niacin regularly to make sure you’re getting enough each day.

The amount of niacin you need varies depending on your age and gender. For example, adult women over 18 need 14 mg while adult men need 18 mg. Pregnant or breastfeeding women need 18mg and 17mg respectively.

Although rare in Western countries, it is possible to develop niacin deficiency. Symptoms include:

  • Tired
  • stomach problems
  • Depression

Untreated, it can lead to a disease called pellagra.

Like other B vitamins, niacin plays a role in many functions in your body. The body uses it for things like proper functioning of the nervous system and metabolism.

Food sources

Like any other water-soluble vitamin, this vitamin B3 complex is also eliminated from the body. Therefore, a diet rich in vitamin B3 food options should be consumed to prevent deficiency syndromes. Vitamin B3 is not only found in a variety of processed and fortified foods and energy drinks, but also in countless natural food sources that are sufficient for the body’s daily vitamin B3 needs.

The main sources of vitamin B3 are:

  • Vegetarian sources include avocado, mushrooms, green peas, beans, lentils, bell pepper, and potatoes.
  • Nuts and seeds include peanuts, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, soy milk, etc.
  • Dairy sources include milk, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, whole milk, curds, etc.
  • Grain products include all fortified breakfast cereals, oatmeal, pasta and bread.
  • Whole grain flours, such as rice, wheat, barley and corn.
  • Animal sources include marine fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines including eggs, chicken, and other animal sources.
  • Vitamin B3 is very stable and not easily destroyed, so food sources can be cooked and eaten.
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