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Everything you need to know about niacin: properties, benefits and sources

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, is an essential vitamin for the proper functioning of the body. It plays a crucial role in energy production, fatty acid synthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. In this article, we will explore the different food sources and supplements of niacin, as well as its role in the body. We will also discuss the importance of a balanced and varied diet to ensure adequate niacin intake.


  • Niacin is essential for energy production, fatty acid synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Vitamin B3 regulates cholesterol levels, thus protecting against cardiovascular diseases.
  • It is also involved in the proper functioning of the nervous system and cognitive health.
  • Niacin helps repair DNA and plays a role in skin health.
  • Dietary sources of niacin are varied, ranging from meat to vegetables and whole grains.

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Definition and shapes

What is niacin?

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin belonging to the vitamin B group, which plays a critical role in cellular energy production, fatty acid synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, and many other essential functions. To better understand this vitamin, imagine it as an invisible conductor that coordinates various chemical reactions within the body.

Forms of niacin

Niacin comes in different forms:

  • Niacin (nicotinic acid);
  • Niacinamide (Nicotinamide);
  • Inositol hexanicotinate.

It is important to note that these models have slightly different characteristics and specific uses. For example, niacinamide is more commonly used in nutritional supplements, while doctors frequently prescribe nicotinic acid to treat certain medical conditions.

And its role in the body

Niacin is involved in many chemical reactions and biological processes within the body. Among the main functions of niacin, we can mention:

  1. energy production : Niacin is actively involved in the production of energy from consumed nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). It is involved in the production of ATP, the body's universal energy molecule.
  2. Fatty acid metabolism : Vitamin B3 is necessary for the synthesis of fatty acids, which are the main components of cell membranes and hormones.
  3. Cholesterol regulation Niacin helps regulate blood cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL). Thus it can play a protective role against cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Function of the nervous system : Vitamin B3 is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals necessary for communication between nerve cells. It contributes to maintaining the proper functioning of the nervous system and cognitive health.
  5. DNA repair : Niacin is involved in repairing damaged DNA, a process critical for preventing genetic mutations and associated diseases, such as cancer.
  6. Skin health : Vitamin B3 contributes to skin health by promoting cell regeneration and maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier.

Health benefits

Cholesterol and cardiovascular disease

Did you know that niacin can help you fight bad cholesterol? Well, that's right! Niacin can effectively reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and increase levels of good HDL cholesterol, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. It is as if this vitamin is a veritable army ready to defend our hearts against the dangers that lie ahead.

The nervous system and mental health

Niacin doesn't just take care of our hearts; It also monitors our brain. This vitamin is involved in the normal functioning of the nervous system, helps prevent some mental disorders and even improves mood. In other words, niacin is like a caring friend who supports us in difficult times.

Skin and aging

Niacin also has a positive effect on our skin. In fact, it helps maintain healthy skin and prevents some skin diseases. In addition, this vitamin plays a role in the aging process. Think of niacin as a magic potion that helps our skin stay youthful and glowing!

Food sources and nutritional supplements

Food sources of niacin

Niacin is found in a wide range of foods, including:

  • Meat: chicken, turkey, beef, pork;
  • Fish: tuna, salmon, mackerel;
  • Vegetables: mushrooms, spinach, avocado;
  • Seeds and nuts: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds;
  • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley.

It is important to diversify our diet to ensure adequate intake of niacin. So, feel free to diversify the fun by cooking these foods in different ways!

Niacin supplements

For some people, niacin supplements may be necessary, especially in cases of confirmed deficiency, malabsorption, or specific diseases. Here are some recommendations for choosing and using niacin supplements:

  • Choose high-quality supplements, manufactured by well-known brands;
  • Prefer forms of niacin that are better absorbed by the body, such as niacinamide.
  • Follow recommended doses and consult your doctor if in doubt.
Vitamin B3 deficiency is relatively rare in developed countries, but can occur in cases of malnutrition or malabsorption.
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Recommended daily dose

Vitamin B3 requirements vary depending on age, gender and health condition. The recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin B3 are 16 mg per day for adult men and 14 mg per day for adult women. The needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women for vitamin B3 increase, as the recommended daily intake is 18 and 17 mg, respectively.

Vitamin B3 deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency include pellagra, a disease characterized by skin lesions, digestive disorders, and neuropsychiatric disorders. To prevent deficiency, it is important to follow a balanced and varied diet rich in vitamin B3 sources.

Niacinamide and cosmetics

Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is increasingly used in cosmetics for its beneficial properties for the skin. It has anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and antioxidant properties, which can help improve the appearance of the skin, reduce redness and hyperpigmentation, and reduce signs of aging.

The last word

The niacine is an essential vitamin that plays a crucial role in the biological process, noting the production of energy, the synthesis of acids, the regulation of cholesterol, the function of the nerve system, the recovery of the ADN and the santé. Of leather. A balanced and varied diet, rich in foods containing niacin, is essential to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin.

(Tags for translation) Definition and forms
Everything you need to know about niacin: properties, benefits and sources

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