Vitamin B3 is also called Niacin. It is an important member of the B-complex family. Vitamin B3 facilitates the processes involved in metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Vitamin B3 is found in a large variety of foods in small amounts. However, large amounts of vitamin B3 can be found in meat and dairy products. Vitamin B3 is a water soluble nutrient, meaning that the body does not store it. It has to be replaced in the body every day. It is rare to come across anyone with a vitamin B3 deficiency today. In the United States, alcoholism is the prime cause of vitamin B3 deficiency.
Vitamin B3 is important for converting food into energy. Obvious vitamin B3 deficiency symptoms include muscular fatigue and a general tired feeling. As these symptoms are vague, they are often ignored.
Vitamin B3 deficiency leads to loss of memory and an inability to concentrate. It also causes emotional disturbances like mood swings and irritability. It can often lead to a severe loss of appetite which can lead to other diseases.
Another serious symptom of vitamin B3 deficiency is poor skin and mucous membranes.A deficiency may lead to swelling, inflammation, and soreness of the gums, tongue, and nasal cavities along with the skin. Pellagra is a disease usually caused by the deficiency of vitamin B3. It causes lesions that develop on the skin in the presence of sunlight.
A vitamin B3 deficiency leads to gastro-intestinal problems like diarrhea. Diarrhea delays the individual’s recovery from the illness by hindering the absorption of vitamin B3 present in food.
A vitamin B3 deficiency can also cause depression. If left untreated, it can lead to psychosis and dementia. Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency include agitation, anxiety, and mental lethargy. The elderly, drug addicts, alcoholics, and people with liver disease are at great risk for vitamin B3 deficiency.
Common sources of vitamin B3 include meat, milk, seeds, beans, and green vegetables.
Vitamin B3 is available in different supplement forms including niacinamide, niacin, and inositol hexaniacinate. Niacin is available either as a tablet or as a capsule in both regular and time-release forms. The time-release tablets and capsules may have fewer side effects than regular niacin.
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