When you're always on the go, it can be difficult to make sure you're receiving the right amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body needs to function properly every day. We all know that it's important to maintain a normal balance of these in our bodies, but sometimes it happens where we don't get enough of them. Being deficient in certain nutrients can contribute to a wide range of health issues, and as a B vitamin, niacin plays an essential role in keeping you healthy and feeling great. Let's take a look at how you can determine whether you're receiving enough of this nutrient.
What It Is
Also known as vitamin B3, niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that is critical for helping out your body in a multitude of ways. Providing support for your adrenal glands, nervous system and circulation is one of the most significant purposes of niacin. Another role this B vitamin plays is to aid with digestion by turning food into energy. Your body also depends on niacin to help metabolize fats and carbs. Dr. Weil states that another benefit of niacin is that it may reduce the risk of heart disease while lowering levels of bad cholesterol; it may increase the amount of good cholesterol.
Signs of Deficiency
It's usually easy to receive enough niacin through your diet, so this makes experiencing a deficiency highly unlikely. However, niacin deficiencies can happen, and they are usually associated with conditions like alcoholism, bulimia or anorexia. The recommended daily amount of niacin for adults 19 and older is between 14-16 mg, depending on gender. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a severe niacin deficiency may manifest through the disease pellagra, which can include symptoms like:
- Rough, scaly sores on skin
- Diarrhea and digestive problems
- Delusional, confused thinking
- Severe fatigue
Sources of Niacin
If your nutritional intake is slacking, you may want to try taking a B complex vitamin that can help boost your levels of niacin as well as other essential nutrients. Taking a niacin supplement on its own may be able to provide benefits
for those struggling with high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, niacin can also be found in certain foods, like:
Supplements with niacin in them commonly cause what is known as the “niacin flush.” While is typically harmless, it may be unpleasant. A niacin flush is often comprised of a warm feeling in the face or chest, redness or “flushing” and even a prickly, tingling sensation. This is usually temporary and will go away. However, it is possible to have too much niacin, especially if you are taking a supplement, so be on the lookout for these symptoms of a potential niacin overdose: flushing sensation, itching, nausea, cramps, diarrhea and headaches. If you're considering taking a niacin supplement, you should talk to your doctor first, as it is not appropriate for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions.
Making sure you have the right amount of vitamins and nutrients in your body is critical in maintaining great health. Find everything you need to keep your active lifestyle going and your health in great shape with our numerous wellness essentials at eVitamins!