Vitamin B3 - Niacin - Relieves Skin Eruptions

Vitamin B3 or niacin is an important vitamin of the B group. From 1867 it was known as nicotinic acid to organic chemists. Although nicotinic acid is chemically related to nicotine found in tobacco, it has none of its physiological properties. It is, therefore, commonly called niacin to avoid confusion.

Vitamin B3 or niacin is an odourless, white, crystalline substance, readily soluble in water. It is resistant to heat, oxidation, and alkalies. It is, in fact, one of the most stable vitamins.

Cooking causes little actual destruction of niacin, but a considerable amount may be lost in the cooking water and drippings from cooked meat if these are discarded. In a mixed diet, 15% to 25% of niacin of the cooked foodstuff may be lost in this way. Sulphur drugs, alcohol, food- processing techniques, and sleeping pills tend to destroy this vitamin.

Vitamin B3 or niacin is absorbed from both the stomach and intestines and stored in all the tissues. It is excreted in the urine, mostly as its salts, and to a smaller extent, as free niacin.

Recommended Daily Allowance - Vitamin B3

Men 17 mg
Women 13 mg
Children 15 mg
Infants 650 mcg

Vitamin B3 Benefits - Functions in the body

Vitamin B3 or niacin is important for proper blood circulation and the healthy functioning of the nervous system. It maintains the normal functions of the gastro-intestinal tract and is essential for the proper metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. It helps to maintain a healthy skin. Niacin dilates the blood capillary system. This vitamin is also essential for synthesis of the sex hormones, namely, oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as cortisone, thyroxin, and insulin. It also maintains mental and emotional well-being.

Vitamin B3 Deficiency Symptoms

A mild deficiency of vitamin B3 or niacin may result in a coated tongue, sores in the mouth , irritability, nervousness, skin lesions, diarrhoea, forgetfulness, insomnia, chronic headaches, digestive disorders, and anaemia. Severe prolonged deficiency may cause neurasthenia (weakness of the nerves), mental disturbances, depression, mental dullness, and disorientation.

Vitamin B3 Rich Food Sources

In general, meat and fish are better sources of niacin than plant products. Foods of animal origin rich in this vitamin are sheep liver, lean meats, prawns, pork, and cow's milk. Vegetarian sources rich in this vitamin are rice bran, rice, wheat, groundnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and chilgozas; and green vegetables like turnip and beet greens, and the leaves of carrots, colocasia, and celery. Yeast and bran are good natural sources of this vitamin but the removal of the bran in the milling of wheat reduces the niacin content of white-wheat flour to a low level.

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