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The body uses vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It's needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. Niacin also regulates cholesterol.
Vitamin B3 comes in two basic forms- niacin (also called nicotinic acid) and niacinamide (also called nicotinamide).
Niacin is involved in the production of NAD, required for redox reactions in glycolysis and in Krebs cycle during oxidative phosphorylation. It serves as a co-enzyme for a group of enzymes known as dehydrogenase. These dehydrogenase enzymes are responsible for innumberable biochemical reactions in the body including detoxifying alcohol (alcohol dehydrogenase) and utilizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Niacin is required in the production of NADPH which is needed for the synthesis of both fatty acids and steroids. It is also involved in the pentose phosphate shunt pathway, which is one way ribose is synthesized.
Pellagra, the disease caused by a Vitamin B3 deficiency, is rare in Western societies. Symptoms include loss of appetite, skin rash, diarrhoea, mental changes, beefy tongue, and digestive and emotional disturbance.
This condition is often complicated by other B vitamin deficiencies.
Peanuts, brewer's yeast, fish and meat. Some vitamin B3 is also found in whole grains.
GRAS – Generally recognized as safe. No adverse reactions, side effects or overdose symptoms expected when taken within the recommended amounts.
No adverse effects have been reported as a result of taking Niacinamide supplements during pregnancy or lactation.
Niacinamide is almost always safe to take, although rare liver prolems have occurred at doses in excess of 1,000mg per day. Niacin, at amounts as low as 500-100mg, may cause flushing, headache, and stomachache in some people.
Cardiologists, in treating specific health problems sometimes prescribe very high amounts of Niacin- often several 1,000 per day. These doses can cause liver damage, diabetes, gastritis, eye damage, and elevated blood levels of uric acid (which can cause gout) and should never be taken without the supervision of a cardiologist or nutritionally orientated doctor.
The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only. Neither the information provided nor products supplied or offered should be construed to be in any way substitutes for medical attention or prescribed medication. Consult with your healthcare professional before taking any supplements or herbal remedies if you are suffering from an undiagnosed illness or if you are on prescribed medication.