Vitamin B3 (nictotinic acid, niacin or Inositol hexaniacinate)

Vitamin B3, also called nictotinic acid, niacin or Inositol hexaniacinate, is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs to the vitamin B complex. Vitamin B3 is not stored in the body and must be made sufficiently available on a daily basis through a high-quality diet or through supplementation. But the body can also produce vitamin B3 itself using vitamins B1, B2 and B6 from the amino acid tryptophan, provided that these are sufficiently available.

As mentioned above, there are different forms of vitamin B3; niacin (nicotinic acid), niacinamide and Inositol Hexanicotinate. Niacin is known that this form can cause a so-called "Flush" with the result that the skin becomes red and warm, this is often accompanied by a burning, tingling and or itchy feeling. The other 2 forms, Niacinamide and Inositol Hexanicotinate, do not cause a “Flush”.

Vitamin B3 supports energy production by being part of two important coenzymes in the body: NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate). These two substances activate more than two hundred specific enzymes (dehydrogenase) that are important for electron transport and cell respiration (dissimilation). Cell respiration is the process by which ATP (adenosine triphosphate, carrier of chemical energy) is generated in the mitochondria (the “energy generator” of the cell) by the combustion of nutrients.

Vitamin B3 also ensures, among other things, that the small blood vessels are removed, which improves blood circulation. As a result, cells and tissues are also reached that are otherwise less well supplied with blood. Another function is that vitamin B3 can lower elevated blood pressure.

Other functions include supporting the nervous system, lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol, lowering triglyceride levels and promoting stomach acid production.

Some examples of a vitamin B3 deficiency are digestive problems resulting in diarrhoea, restless and/or intestinal cramps. Mucous membrane inflammations in the mouth and intestines. Abdominal pain in children. Skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis. Psychological problems such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. Fatigue symptoms. Canker sores in the mouth and cracked lips. Alcoholics and people who consume a lot of sugars often have a shortage of vitamin B3 because the body needs a lot of B3 to process it.

Vitamin B3 is found in fish, meat, chicken liver, eggs, cheese, whole grain products, legumes, nuts seeds, potatoes, mushrooms, fig dates, plums, avocado.