The Niacin is one of the eight vitamins B complex and depending on how consumed may have different effects. As nicotinic acid it is used as a supplement that helps regulate cholesterol and treat cardiovascular problems, as Niacinamide or nicotinamide is used to treat type 1 diabetes and some skin diseases, among other beneficial health effects.

Known as vitamin PP, it is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 (which dissolves in water), which means that the body does not store them and expel them in the urine if they are not necessary. It is found naturally in foods such as green vegetables, red meat, milk, eggs, yeast, fish, and cereal grains. It is taken to prevent vitamin B3 deficiency and for conditions linked to vitamin deficiencies such as pellagra.

It is necessary for people who have a diet very low in protein, which must consume them daily and in quantities to avoid deficiencies, since a large part of these substances are lost during cooking.

One of its functions is to help the digestive system function properly to achieve a better conversion of food into energy, necessary for the body to function properly.

Niacin benefits

This vitamin fulfills certain functions that are of great importance for the human body, since it is one of the essential nutrients for life. Among its benefits and uses are:

  • It is used to control the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol in the blood, and to increase the good HDL cholesterol.
  • It reduces triglycerides , which reduces cardiovascular problems. Strengthens the circulatory system by reducing oxidative stress and hardening of the arteries associated with atherosclerosis.
  • Helps transform sugars into energy necessary for the body.
  • It allows to stabilize the levels of glucose in the blood, in order to reduce the risks of suffering from diabetes.
  • One of its functions is to help the proper functioning of the digestive system to achieve metabolism and obtain a better conversion of food into energy, so that the body functions properly.
  • Helps the body produce sex hormones.
  • It is recommended to repair genetic damage to cells.
  • It helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and the loss of mental abilities in advanced age, thus increasing brain function, giving it the energy to function properly.
  • It is taken by those people who have hallucinations due to excessive drug abuse, and by people who suffer from schizophrenia.
  • Maintains healthy skin , protecting it from ultraviolet rays. It is especially recommended to treat problems such as acne.
  • It helps to improve the circulatory system, allowing a controlled blood flow, favoring the relaxation of blood vessels and giving them adequate elasticity for their proper functioning.
  • Helps reduce inflammation of the joints in people suffering from arthritis, improving mobility.

Effects that insufficient niacin can have on the body

Niacin insufficiency can trigger the following negative health effects:

  • It can cause physical and mental fatigue.
  • Nervous disorders that can decrease mental health, leading to headaches, depression, nervousness, insomnia, memory loss, and confusion.
  • Problems in the digestive system such as diarrhea, indigestion and oral problems such as small sores and bad breath.
  • You affect the skin, causing rashes that can cause discomfort and pain.

One of the main causes of niacin deficiency in the body is excessive alcohol consumption.

Niacin Daily Requirements

Maintaining a balanced, varied and balanced diet is the best way to obtain your daily vitamin requirements.

When it is done through supplements, the recommendations developed by the nutrition and food committees of the institute of medicine should be followed, which may vary according to age and sex:

Babies, children, adolescents and adults:

  • 0 to 6 months 2mg / day
  • 7 to 12 months 4mg / day
  • 1 to 3 years 6mg / day
  • 4 to 8 years 8mg / day
  • 9 to 13 years 12mg / day
  • 14 to 70 years 16mg / day for men and 14mg / day for women
  • Pregnancy 18mg / day
  • Lactation 17mg / day

Niacin contraindications

When it is consumed only through food, there should be no problem affecting the body, but on the contrary, when it is consumed through supplements and in excess, it can lead to side effects, which are manifested as follows:

  • In normal doses it can cause flushing on the skin, which is produced by the dilation of the blood vessels, causing redness in different parts of the body, generating pain and discomfort. This is called flushing and it goes away as it is taken regularly.
  • It can cause stomach upset, intestinal gas, dizziness, and sore mouth.
  • It should not be given in patients with medical histories of ulcers, as it can exacerbate their symptoms.
  • Special care should be taken in patients with arterial hypertension, due to its vasodilator properties.
  • In excess, it can produce an abnormal increase in the amount of glucose in the blood, so caution should be exercised in people with diabetes.
  • High doses can cause liver malfunction, liver damage, jaundice, and hepatitis.
  • High doses can increase the concentration of uric acid in the blood, forming crystals in the joints causing inflammation and pain.


To maintain a good state of health and be able to have all the benefits of niacin, it is enough to eat a good diet that is nutritious and balanced, but in case of consuming supplements you must have a rigorous medical control, since its side effects can be harmful, more than the benefits it can bring.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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