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Niacin (nicotinic acid, vitamin B3) | What we need to know

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in some foods or is sold as a dietary supplement. The two most common forms of niacin in food and supplements are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. The body can also convert the amino acid tryptophan into nicotinamide. Niacin is water-soluble, so its unnecessary excess in the body is excreted in the urine. Niacin works as a coenzyme in the body, over 400 enzymes depend on it for various reactions. Niacin helps convert nutrients into energy, cholesterol and fat formation, DNA creation, repair and antioxidant effects.

Foods rich in niacin

  • Red meat: beef, beef liver, pork;
  • fish
  • brown rice;
  • cereals and bread;
  • nuts, seeds;
  • legumes;
  • banana

as a supplement

Niacin is available in supplement form as nicotinic acid or nicotinamide. Sometimes the amount in supplements is much higher than the RDA, causing unpleasant side effects of flushing. Only under the supervision of a doctor should you determine the dosage of a nicotinamide supplement.

Prescription niacin may be helpful for people with high cholesterol who cannot take statins or who cannot control their cholesterol levels through diet and exercise. Do not take niacin to treat high cholesterol if you are pregnant.


High doses of prescription niacin can cause:

  • severe redness of the skin;
  • Dizziness;
  • Rapid heartbeat;
  • itching
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • stomach-ache;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Gout;
  • liver damage;
  • Diabetes mellitus;

Niacin deficiency

Niacin deficiency causes pellagra, a condition that causes dark, sometimes scaly, patches of skin to develop. Also, redness of the tongue; and constipation/diarrhea. Other signs of severe niacin deficiency include:

  • Depression;
  • headache;
  • Fatigue;
  • Memory loss;
  • hallucinations;

Risk groups with niacin deficiency

  • 1. People whose diet is limited to a variety of foods. (sick people and people living in poverty);
  • 2. People with chronic alcoholism.;
  • 3. Persons with carcinoid syndrome. It is a disease of slow-growing cancer cells in the intestine that release a chemical called serotonin. The syndrome causes dietary tryptophan to be converted to serotonin rather than niacin, increasing the risk of niacin depletion.

Niacin excess

Toxicity is rare when consuming foods containing niacin, but long-term use of high-dose supplements can lead to an excess of niacin in the body. Reddened skin, itching or tingling sensations on the face, arms and chest are the symptoms of niacin excess. Flushing occurs mainly when taking high-dose supplements in the form of nicotinic acid instead of nicotinamide.

Other symptoms:

  • Dizziness;
  • low pressure;
  • Fatigue;
  • headache;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea;
  • blurred vision;

did you know

  • A. Many B vitamins are believed to help increase energy in the body, including niacin. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods is essential because niacin is the best way to metabolize energy in moderation and beneficially.
  • B. Corn is naturally rich in niacin, but it is associated with excess carbohydrates, making it difficult for the human body to absorb it.


When the above-mentioned symptoms appear, it is necessary to check the dose of niacin in the body in order to avoid diseases caused by excess or deficiency of niacin. The dose is determined by a special nicotinamide test, which can be performed at any branch of Synevo laboratories.



To determine the dose of niacin, the "Synevo" laboratory offers the following studies:

Name of the test Category Price CODE Response time (working day) ** Location of the analysis **** Buyhf: categories


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