Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, helps:

  • the body release energy from food
  • keep the nervous system and skin healthy

Good sources of niacin

There are 2 forms of niacin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Both are found in food.

Good sources of niacin include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • wheat flour
  • eggs
  • Banana
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes
  • Red meat: beef, beef liver
  • Fortified cereals and bread.

How much niacin do I need?

The amount of niacin you need is about:

  • 16.5mg a day for men
  • 13.2mg a day for women

You should be able to get all the niacin you need from your daily diet.

Niacin cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

What happens if I take too much niacin?

Taking high doses of nicotinic acid supplements can cause skin flush. Taking high doses for a long time could lead to liver damage.

There’s not enough evidence to know what the effects might be of taking high daily doses of nicotinamide supplements.

Important Tips

You should be able to get the amount of niacin you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take niacin supplements, do not take too much as this might be harmful.

Taking 17mg or less of nicotinic acid supplements a day, or 500mg or less of nicotinamide supplements a day, is unlikely to cause any harm.

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