Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is one of the eight B-complex vitamins. Vitamin B3 plays important roles in many physiological functions such as metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, blood circulation, functioning of the nervous system, and synthesis of insulin, sex hormones, cortisone, and thyroxin.
An early sign of vitamin B3 deficiency is a lack of appetite. Vitamin B3 deficiency may be mild or severe. A mild deficiency of vitamin B3 causes symptoms such as a coated tongue, mouth sores, low blood sugar, dizziness, and chronic headaches. Other possible symptoms of mild vitamin B3 deficiency are skin lesions, anemia, and diarrhea. Forgetfulness, insomnia, irritability, and nervousness are psychological symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency.
Pellagra is a vitamin B3 deficiency disease. This disease is caused by a severe and prolonged deficiency of vitamin B3. Pellagra is characterized by bilateral dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. A prolonged and severe niacin deficiency may cause depression and neurasthenia (weakening of muscles).
Vitamin B3 deficiency can be overcome by including vitamin-B3-rich foods in the diet including milk, egg, fish, tuna, beef, chicken; dates, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, leaf vegetables; whole-grain products and nuts.
For more information about vitamin B3, consult the following:
What Conditions Does Vitamin B3 Help?
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