Properties and Benefits of Vitamin B3: Vitamin PP, niacin or nicotinic acid all refer to the well-known vitamin B3. In addition to supporting blood circulation, digestion and brain activity, vitamin B3 helps maintain a healthy skin and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Even more, a good niacin intake is said to help ease arthritis symptoms. Severe vitamin B3 deficiency often leads to a life-threatening medical condition called pellagra.
Although malnutrition associated with poverty is the leading cause of severe niacin deficiency, alcoholism, certain medication or medical conditions may also significantly inhibit vitamin B3 absorption. Vitamin B3 is crucial for good health and normal development.
Vitamin B3 (or niacin) is a water-soluble vitamin found in relatively generous amounts in fish, poultry, beef and venison. Malnutrition, specific medical conditions and certain antibiotic, immunosuppressant or anti-cancer medications are believed to interfere with vitamin B3 (niacin) absorption and cause pellagra, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Alcoholism is a major cause of severe vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency and is reported to be a leading cause of a variety of other vitamin and mineral deficiencies. However, a proper diet (balanced and varied) as well as good lifestyle habits are the key to good health. Vitamin B3 is crucial for keeping in good health and here are the most important 7 health benefits it provides:
1) Digestion aid. Vitamin B3, especially in combination with other B complex vitamins, supports the digestion process. An adequate intake can efficiently stimulate appetite.
2) Energy booster. Like other B vitamins, niacin plays a crucial part in the conversion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into energy. Our body needs energy in order to support the most basic functions of important organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.
3) Regulates cholesterol levels. Vitamin B3 (niacin) increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. A generous dietary intake of niacin (vitamin B3) as well as niacin supplements are required for lowering LDL cholesterol.
4) Natural remedy against insomnia. A generous dietary intake of vitamin B3 is known to promote relaxation and, in time, improve the quality of your sleep and even treat insomnia. It’s been 4 days since I have started taking B vitamins supplements and I can honestly say that I haven’t had such a good night’s sleep in years! If you are having trouble sleeping, if you are stressed out and worried, tired or have a feeling of unwell, make sure you are getting your B vitamins.
5) Natural remedy against diabetes. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is believed to regulate high blood sugar levels and thus may help with the prevention and even management of diabetes.
6) Improves memory. Vitamin B3 (niacin) is known to improve memory and support cognition and overall brain activity. Salmon, tuna, beef and chiken are all good dietary sources of niacin.
7) Prevents pellagra. A severe vitamin B3 (niacin) deficit can lead to pellagra, a potentially life-threatening disease. Pellagra symptoms include: severe dermatitis (itchy, inflamed, red, scaly skin), swelling, photosensitivity (increased sensitivity to light), diarrhea, muscle weakness, nerve damage and dementia (a severe neurological disorder that impairs a person’s cognitive abilities). Pellagra is a disease of the poor and malnourished. When vitamin B3 daily requirements are met, pellagra does not occur.
A mild vitamin B3 deficiency can have the following symptoms: loss of appetite, muscle weakness, skin infections, digestive problems. In order to prevent vitamin B3 deficiency, make sure you eat right and give up bad lifestyle habits. Any excess vitamin B3 is eliminated through urine. If you consider it would do you good to take some vitamin (and mineral) supplements, I say you go for it. Vitamins (and minerals) keep us in good health and may even help us live to be 100.