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the wonders of vitamin b3 niacin

Vitamin B3, also called Niacin, is a B vitamin that's made and used by your body to turn food into energy. It helps keep your nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy. Vitamin B3 is a water soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body's tissues but are not stored in the body, and excess is flushed out of your system. 


You mostly get Niacin from the food that you eat :


·        Red meat: beef, beef liver, pork.

·        Poultry.

·        Fish.

·        Brown rice.

·        Fortified cereals and breads.

·        Nuts, seeds.

·        Legumes.

·        Bananas.

Niacin plays an important role in maintaining the health of your heart, blood vessels, and metabolism. It may also be used with other medications to decrease bad cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood.


Niacin also helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body. Niacin helps improve circulation, and it has been shown to suppress inflammation. 


Benefits of Niacin (Vitamin B3):

1.     Control cholesterol

2.     Lower blood pressure

3.     Improve mental health

4.     Clear skin

5.     Manage migraines

6.     Promote joint health

7.     Protect cognitive function

8.     Support digestion

9.     Minimize birth defects

10. Improve erectile dysfunction

A deficiency in Niacin, called pellagra, can cause symptoms related to the skin, digestive system, and nervous system. They include:

Niacin is an essential vitamin with great health benefits, but it’s important to know that it can also cause side effects. It’s uncommon for people to experience side effects from niacin if they’re only getting it from food sources. However, taking niacin as a dietary supplement or at prescription strength is much more likely to cause side effects, especially if high doses are consumed. Here are the most common side effects of niacin: 

  • Flushing (sudden reddening of the face, neck, or upper chest)

  • Itching or dry skin

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Increased cough

If you have liver disease, peptic ulcer disease or severe low blood pressure (hypotension), it is not a good idea to take large amounts of niacin. The supplement has been linked with liver damage, can cause hypotension and might activate a peptic ulcer.


Taking niacin also might worsen allergies, gallbladder disease and symptoms of certain thyroid disorders. If you have diabetes, niacin can interfere with blood glucose control. High doeses of niacin can cause an excess of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia), putting you at risk of gout.


Undoubtedly the most common but harmless side effect of niacin is the niacin flush! It is uncomfortable but harmless. It appears as a flush of red skin followed by itching and burning sensations. The niacin flush is a side effect of taking the immediate release of nicotinic acid, mostly experienced among people who take high doses of immediate-release niacin supplements.


Once taken, the niacin expands the capillaries and increases blood flow to the skin. Some of the common symptoms of the niacin flush include:

·        A burning sensation and itching of the skin.

·        Reddening of the skin, with the pigment looking like a sunburn.

·        Warm skin due to the increased blood flow to the skin.


If we look at genetics, the SIRT1 gene mutation is the one to look at when taking a Niacin supplement. SIRT1 plays a critical role in modulating a wide range of physiological processes, including apoptosis, DNA repair, inflammatory response, metabolism, cancer and stress. With a SIRT1 gene mutation, Niacin actually blocks these receptors making SIRT1 less effective in the body.

Want to know what your genetics are telling you? Why not do our genetic testing? Genetic testing has potential benefits whether the results are positive or negative for a gene mutation. Test results can provide a sense of relief from uncertainty and help people make informed decisions about managing their health care. Understanding your genes can eliminate the need for unnecessary checkups and screening tests and can direct a person toward available prevention, monitoring, and treatment options.

We would also advise you make a booking for an appointment for our full body analysis to get the holistic approach, especially if you are struggling with a specific health issue such as hormone imbalances, auto immune disorders, digestion issues, mental health disorders, allergies. Although genes play an important role in your body’s workings, it is still important to support the body as a whole.


Lindy Landman


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