Did you know that the benefits of Vitamin B3 include protection against heart disease, heightened energy levels, and better sleep?
Vitamin B3 is one of the eight vitamins in the B-complex, and it is a jack of all trades. It protects you against heart disease, it reduces cholesterol, reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type-1 diabetes. It also keeps your nervous system healthy and keeps your digestive tract running smoothly, as well as boosting your energy levels.
Because Vitamin B3 is water soluble and the body is unable to produce or store it, you need to get all your vitamin B3 through eating vitamin B3 rich foods. You can also get your vitamin B3 through a multivitamin or a proper vitamin b-complex supplement. Unfortunately, there are so many different forms of vitamin B3 that you can’t get all the forms you need from single supplements.
Niacin Benefits for Heart Health
Niacin (nicotinic acid) is the form of vitamin B3 typically found in vitamin supplements and fortified foods. Niacin is the force behind the “niacin flush” that boosts circulation and blood flow. It does this by opening up blood vessels and capillaries.
Studies have been done that show niacin improves heart health by lowering levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by 23% and boosting good cholesterol (HDL) by 33%.
Studies have also shown that increasing your intake of niacin reduces levels of two of the most dangerous heart disease risk factors; lipoproteins and triglycerides, which are reduced by 33% and 30-50% respectively.
Niacin can also reduce your chances of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) which is another major indicator of cardiovascular risk.
Studies have also shown that getting a lot of niacin from food can also reduce your chances of developing heart disease and cataracts.
Niacin also provides an all-over boost to your nervous system. It regulates your hormones and stimulates different sex and stress-related hormones across the whole body; especially the adrenal gland.
It’s also suggested that niacin can be used to treat rosacea and acne, prevent cancer, and fight aging.
Experts do caution against overdoing niacin and taking too much. Too much niacin can lead to an upset stomach, peptic ulcers, headaches, vision problems, dizziness, skin rashes and liver damage.
Niacin also interacts with other drugs, particularly cholesterol-lowering statins. It’s important that you consult your physician about the risks before supplementing niacin.
If you already have kidney or liver damage or have stomach or intestinal ulcers, then you should avoid taking too much niacin.
Taking B3 for Better Sleep
Research has been done that shows that an alternate form of B3 known as niacinamide or nicotinamide encourages deeper and more restful sleep. Niacinamide works by making tryptophan more efficient. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps you sleep at night.
The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a study in 2005 that looked at alternative sleep aids, including niacinamide.
There were two groups of subjects in the study; those who suffered from sleeping disorders such as insomnia and those who weren’t. Both groups were given varying doses of niacinamide for 21 days and both groups showed an improvement in sleep; showing that B3 supplements do help people sleep at night.
Boost Energy Levels
Both niacin and niacinamide are necessary for the production and release of energy. They both help the body to absorb and convert carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy and amino acids. Without proper levels of vitamin B3, your body is essentially running on fumes.
Boost Brain Power
Vitamin B3 also boosts your brainpower and memory and can be used in the treatment of psychological disorders including depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting enough vitamin B3, then it’s recommended that you supplement between 10-20mg a day. The best way to give your body the nutrients it needs is through your diet.
To get more B3, you should eat more tuna, salmon, halibut, roasted chicken breast and mushrooms. Click here to read more about niacin rich foods.