Niacin – Not Just Another B Vitamin
Vitamin B3 is yet another B vitamin. Many times, the importance of each of these B vitamins loses their unique importance because they all bear the label of B. But each B vitamin is important in its own right, and vitamin B3 is no exception. Also known as niacin, this vitamin is fairly easy to obtain in a regular, balanced diet. But, in this day and age of fast food and microwave meals, it’s getting easier and easier to fall short of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recommended daily allowance (RDA) of even a vitamin as easy to find as B3. If you want to make sure that you’re getting enough of it in your diet, then you may need to take a supplement.
The most common reasons for B3 deficiency worldwide is general malnutrition. Cultures in which corn is a staple grain also have a higher occurrence of B3 deficiency. This is because corn must undergo a special process in order to increase the bioavailability of niacin in this grain. Otherwise, vitamin B3 is relatively plentiful in a variety of foods. But, once again, the more people are eating junk food that is devoid of nutritional value, the more they are at risk of suffering from vitamin deficiencies.
Pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency, can lead to death if untreated. But even before it causes death, it can cause plenty of uncomfortable symptoms, including dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, skin lesions, and digestive disturbances. Even without developing pellagra, vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to some uncomfortable mental symptoms such as apathy, anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue, depression, and an inability to concentrate. As you can see, it’s definitely in your best interest to make sure that you’re getting all of the vitamin B3 that you need in order to keep your body healthy.
As an added bonus, niacin has been proven to reverse atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. It can reduce the total cholesterol in the blood, as well as triglycerides, very low density lipids (VLDL), and low density lipids (LDL). It can also simultaneously increase the levels of “good cholesterol” or high density lipids (HDL), which can help to prevent heart attacks. By making sure that you have enough vitamin B3 in your diet, either by making sure that you eat enough B3-rich foods or by taking vitamin supplements, you can make sure that you stay in better health and a better mood.