Archive for the ‘Vitamin B-3’ Category

Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)

Monday, December 8th, 2008

This vitamin is seen as a potent cholesterol-lowering agent because it rivals some prescription drugs in its effectiveness. It also shows promise in the prevention and treatment of arthritis and a host of other ailments. 

Niacin is also known as vitamin B-3. The body can convert the amino acid tryptophan into vitamin B-3.

Niacin is needed to release energy from carbohydrates, and also controls blood sugar, keeps the skin healthy, and maintains the nervous and digestive systems.

High doses of niacin raise HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies have shown that niacin may be more effective than prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs in reducing the risk of heart disease.

High doses of niacinamide may reverse the development of type 1 diabetes-the form that typically ocures before age 30. And this should be done only under medical supervision.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 14 mg for women and 16 mg for men daily. Much higher doses are needed to lower cholesterol and treat other disorders. The cholesterol-lowering forms of niacin are nicotinic acid and inositol hexaniacinate. For lowering cholesterol or preventing atherosclerosis or heart attack take 500 to 1000 mg or inositol hexaniacinate 3 times a day.

Too little niacin will cause patches of irritated skin, appetite loss, indigestion, and weakness.

Too much nicotinic acid can cause stomach upset and very high doses can cause liver damage. It’s best to check with a doctor who is supportive of alternative methods rather than just using drugs.

Niacin is found in foods high in protein, like chicken, beef, fish and nuts. Breads, cereals and pasta are enriched with niacin. Although low in niacin, milk and other dairy products, as well as eggs, are good sources of the vitamin because they are high in tryptophan.