Niacin – Consumer

Allan I. Fleming

A woman discussing supplements with a pharmacist.

This is a reader-pleasant overview of Niacin. For more particulars, see our well being skilled truth sheet on Niacin.

What is niacin and what does it do?

Niacin (also called vitamin B3) can help flip the foodstuff you take in into the strength you will need. Niacin is essential for the improvement and operate of the cells in your system.

How a great deal niacin do I will need?

The sum of niacin you will need depends on your age and sex. Regular each day advisable quantities are outlined beneath in milligrams (mg) of niacin equivalents (NE) (besides for infants in their initially six months).

The mg NE measure is used mainly because your system can also make niacin from tryptophan, an amino acid in proteins. For example, when you take in turkey, which is high in tryptophan, some of this amino acid is converted to niacin in your liver. Employing mg NE accounts for both of those the niacin you consume and the niacin your system helps make from tryptophan. Infants in their initially six months do not make a great deal niacin from tryptophan.

Existence Stage Encouraged Amount
Delivery to six months two mg
Infants 7–12 months four mg NE
Young children 1–3 a long time six mg NE
Young children 4–8 a long time eight mg NE
Young children 9–13 a long time 12 mg NE
Teen boys 14–18 a long time 16 mg NE
Teen women 14–18 a long time fourteen mg NE
Adult adult males 19+ a long time 16 mg NE
Adult women of all ages 19+ a long time fourteen mg NE
Pregnant teens and women of all ages eighteen mg NE
Breastfeeding teens and women of all ages 17 mg NE

What food items give niacin?

Niacin is uncovered naturally in numerous food items, and is additional to some food items. You can get advisable quantities of niacin by taking in a range of food items, including the pursuing:

  • Animal food items, these as poultry, beef, pork, and fish
  • Some sorts of nuts, legumes, and grains
  • Enriched and fortified food items, these as numerous breads and cereals

What varieties of niacin dietary nutritional supplements are obtainable?

Niacin is uncovered in multivitamin/multimineral nutritional supplements. It is also obtainable in B-complex dietary nutritional supplements and nutritional supplements containing only niacin. The two major types of niacin in dietary nutritional supplements are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide.

Niacin (in the sort of nicotinic acid) is also obtainable as a prescription medication used to treat high blood cholesterol ranges.

Am I finding adequate niacin?

Most people today in the United States get adequate niacin from the food items they take in. Niacin deficiency is very rare in the United States. Nevertheless, some people today are more probably than some others to have trouble finding adequate niacin:

What occurs if I do not get adequate niacin?

You can produce niacin deficiency if you do not get adequate niacin or tryptophan from the food items you take in. Critical niacin deficiency potential customers to a sickness called pellagra. Pellagra, which is uncommon in designed countries, can have these effects:

  • Tough pores and skin that turns crimson or brown in the solar
  • A vivid crimson tongue
  • Vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Head aches
  • Serious tiredness
  • Intense, paranoid, or suicidal conduct
  • Hallucinations, apathy, decline of memory

In its final stages, pellagra potential customers to decline of hunger adopted by death.

What are some effects of niacin on well being?

Scientists are learning niacin to far better fully grasp how it impacts well being. In this article is an example of what this study has revealed.

Cardiovascular sickness
Scientists have examined the use of big doses of niacin in the sort of nicotinic acid to help lower the danger of heart attack and stroke in people today with atherosclerosis. They uncovered that prescription-strength nicotinic acid (more than a hundred instances the advisable dietary allowance) can reduced blood ranges of LDL (undesirable) cholesterol, raise ranges of HDL (great) cholesterol, and reduced ranges of triglycerides. But these favorable effects on blood lipids (fat) do not have an effect on the danger of getting a cardiovascular occasion, these as heart attack, unexpected cardiac death, or stroke. In addition, specialists do not advise high doses of nicotinic acid for people today having a statin medicine.

Your health care supplier should approve and supervise any use of very high doses of nicotinic acid (in the hundreds of milligrams) to treat atherosclerosis.

Can niacin be destructive?

The niacin that foodstuff and beverages naturally consist of is safe. Nevertheless, dietary nutritional supplements with thirty mg or more of nicotinic acid can make the pores and skin on your facial area, arms, and upper body flip crimson and burn up, tingle, and itch. These signs or symptoms can also direct to headaches, rashes, and dizziness.

If you get nicotinic acid as a medicine in doses of 1,000 or more mg/working day, it can bring about more extreme aspect effects. These include:

  • Small blood pressure (which can improve the danger of falls)
  • Serious tiredness
  • Higher blood sugar ranges
  • Nausea, heartburn, and abdominal pain
  • Blurred or impaired vision and fluid buildup in the eyes

Lengthy-phrase treatment, primarily with extended-release types of nicotinic acid, can bring about liver challenges, including hepatitis and liver failure.

Niacin in the sort of nicotinamide has less aspect effects than nicotinic acid. Nevertheless, at high doses of five hundred mg/working day or more, nicotinamide can bring about diarrhea, straightforward bruising, and can improve bleeding from wounds. Even bigger doses of 3,000 mg/working day or more can bring about nausea, vomiting, and liver harm.

The each day higher boundaries for niacin from dietary nutritional supplements are outlined beneath.

Ages Higher Restrict
Delivery to 12 months Not established
Young children 1–3 a long time 10 mg
Young children 4–8 a long time fifteen mg
Young children 9–13 a long time twenty mg
Teens 14–18 a long time thirty mg
Adults 19+ a long time 35 mg


Does niacin interact with medicines or other dietary nutritional supplements?

Niacin dietary nutritional supplements can interact or interfere with sure medicines that you get, and some medicines can reduced niacin ranges in your system. In this article are some examples:

  • Tuberculosis prescription drugs (these as isoniazid and pyrazinamide) interfere with the body’s capability to transform tryptophan to niacin. This interference can reduced niacin ranges in your system.
  • Higher doses of nicotinic acid (1,five hundred mg/working day or more) can raise blood sugar ranges and interfere with the effectiveness of diabetes medicines. These doses can even raise blood sugar ranges in people today who do not have diabetes.

Explain to your health practitioner, pharmacist, and other health care companies about any dietary nutritional supplements and prescription or over-the-counter medicines you get. They can explain to you if the dietary nutritional supplements might interact with your medicines. They can also explain to you if the medicines might interfere with how your system absorbs, takes advantage of, or breaks down niacin and other nutrition.

Niacin and healthful taking in

Men and women should get most of their nutrition from foodstuff and beverages, according to the federal government’s Dietary Recommendations for People. Foodstuff consist of nutritional vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other components that profit well being. In some circumstances, fortified food items and dietary nutritional supplements are helpful when it is not probable to satisfy requirements for one particular or more nutrition (e.g., during precise lifestyle stages these as being pregnant). For more information about constructing a healthful dietary pattern, see the Dietary Recommendations for Peopleexternal link disclaimer and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate.external link disclaimer

Where can I locate out more about niacin?

  • For common information on niacin:
  • For more information on foodstuff resources of niacin:
  • For more suggestions on choosing dietary nutritional supplements:
  • For information about constructing a healthful dietary pattern:


This truth sheet by the Business of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides information that should not get the location of healthcare suggestions. We inspire you to talk to your health care companies (health practitioner, registered dietitian, pharmacist, and many others.) about your fascination in, thoughts about, or use of dietary nutritional supplements and what may perhaps be greatest for your all round well being. Any mention in this publication of a precise solution or support, or recommendation from an firm or skilled society, does not stand for an endorsement by ODS of that solution, support, or specialist suggestions.

Current: March 22, 2021 Record of modifications to this truth sheet

Next Post

Manganese - Consumer

This is a reader-pleasant overview of Manganese. For much more information, see our overall health experienced simple fact sheet on Manganese. What is manganese and what does it do? Manganese is a mineral that your physique wants to keep healthy. Your physique uses manganese to make power and shield your […]