Niacin: Water Soluble Vitamin

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for many aspects of health, growth, and reproduction. It is part of the vitamin B complex. Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy.

Proper intake of niacin keeps the skin healthy. It can also be used therapeutically to control cholesterol levels, maintain proper circulation, and ease inflammation in arthritics.

Niacin is also useful for balancing blood sugar levels, which helps in the prevention of diabetes. Niacin can also be used to stimulate a healthy nervous system, and eases symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Deficiency of Niacin (Vitamin B3)

A deficiency may cause pellagra, the classic niacin deficiency disease, and is characterized by bilateral dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. A shortage of niacin may be indicated with symptoms such as canker sores, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, halitosis, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, limb pains, loss of appetite, low blood sugar, muscular weakness, skin eruptions, and inflammation.


The dosage underneath is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.

  • Male 18 mg per day
  • Female 13 mg per day

Niacin (also known as vitamin B-3) is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs. Legumes and enriched breads and cereals also supply some niacin. A deficiency of niacin causes pellagra. The symptoms of pellagra include inflamed skin, digestive problems, and mental impairment.

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods. Niacin is lost readily when food is cooked in water.

Spices and herbs that contain niacin are black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, chili, ginger, mustard seed, turmeric, sage, cumin, coriander, dill, allspice, fennel, fenugreek, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, curry, garlic, paprika, nutmeg, anise, caraway seed, savory, parsley and chervil.

Read More: Essential Nutrients