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Niacin effect and what is vitamin B3 important for? – Here is everything you need to know!

For our body to remain healthy and efficient, it needs all vitamins in sufficient quantities. Our blood, bones, skin, organs, eyes and nerves need vitamins to function. If you eat a balanced diet, you can usually get the recommended amount of vitamins. While we all know what vitamins A, C and D are important for, most of us don’t know what vitamin B3 is good for. Vitamin B3, also still known as niacin, is one of the eight B vitamins and is essential for numerous metabolic processes in the body, such as the production of fatty acids and cell division. It also ensures healthy skin, the regeneration of muscles and nerves, and can lower cholesterol levels. But what is niacin and what foods contain it? Read on to learn everything you need to know about niacin effects and functions.

What is niacin?

Niacin effect health vitamin B3 for skin and hair

Niacin is also still known as vitamin B3 and belongs to the group of water-soluble B vitamins . It is the generic term for two related compounds with vitamin effects – nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Nicotinic acid can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Niacinamide, on the other hand, can help treat psoriasis and prevent skin cancer. These are converted by the body into the biologically active form vitamin B3. Since it can be absorbed not only through food, but also produced by the human body itself, it is actually not a vitamin in the classical sense. Niacin is found in all living cells of the body, but its concentration is highest in kidneys, fatty tissue and liver. It is enormously important for the normal functioning of the nervous system and is involved in the formation and breakdown of carbohydrates. It also supports the health of the skin and mucous membranes and helps reduce fatigue.

What is the daily requirement and what are the symptoms of a niacin deficiency?

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How much niacin the body needs depends on various factors, including age, gender and energy requirements. The German Nutrition Society recommends the following values for daily vitamin B3 intake:

  • Children and adolescents: 8 to 17 mg
  • Adult women: 13 to 17 mg
  • Adult men: 14 to 17 mg
  • Pregnant women: 14 to 16 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 16 mg

The daily requirement is covered on the one hand by food and on the other hand by the body’s own production. Alcoholics and people with chronic intestinal inflammations have an increased requirement. Niacin deficiency is quite rare in Western countries and first becomes noticeable through non-specific symptoms such as loss of appetite and physical weakness. Although niacin deficiency is rare, in some cases niacin overdose can have negative side effects such as skin redness, itching, liver damage, or even gastrointestinal distress. So if you don’t have a proven deficiency, then you should avoid supplements. Here are some of the most common symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency:

  • Severe headaches
  • Skin problems and inflammation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss and mental confusion
  • Depression
  • If left untreated, niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra, which can cause multi-organ failure.

Niacin effect on health

Vitamin B3 benefits health niacin effect for skin and hair

Niacin is involved in many processes in our body and is believed to support heart health, promote motivation, concentration and mental energy, and lower cholesterol levels . It also makes for beautiful skin and hair. Below you will learn more about the niacin effect and importance for health.

  • Niacin for a healthy digestive system – Niacin plays an important role in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and alcohol in the digestive system. This makes vitamin B3 essential for digestion.
  • Vitamin B3 for cholesterol – Especially for cholesterol metabolism, the niacin effect is enormously important. Not only can it lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 20 percent, but it can also raise “good” HDL cholesterol by up to 35 percent. Therefore, niacin can be used to treat high blood lipid levels.

B3 niacin effect vitamins for healthy skin


  • Niacin boosts brain function – The brain needs niacin to maintain energy and function properly. The vitamin is essential for building various neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, and for nerve function. According to a study conducted by the “University of Tübingen”, niacin has a positive effect on damaged nerve cells and can be used to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vitamin B3 to regenerate muscles and increase energy – Many sports enthusiasts can also benefit from the positive effect of niacin on the body. It raises energy levels and drives away fatigue, and also contributes to muscle regeneration and recovery after exercise.

The positive niacin effect on our skin and hair

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Niacin is not only of great importance for our health, but is also considered a real miracle drug in the beauty world. Numerous clinical studies have already proven that vitamin B3 can have a positive effect on the skin and hair. It is incredibly versatile and can be used for almost any skin problem and any skin type. Since niacin is very well tolerated, there is no risk of irritation or sensitivity. Here are the top reasons why you should include skin care products with niacin in your skincare routine.

  • Niacin has an anti-aging effect – Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin B3 can protect the skin from free radicals and thus prevent premature aging. In addition, niacin stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, making the skin firmer and smoother, gaining elasticity.
  • Amply moisturizes and strengthens the protective function of the skin – Niacin supports the formation of ceramides and lipids – substances that are essential for the protective function of the skin. A healthy skin barrier makes the skin more resistant to external influences and, above all, ensures that the skin loses less moisture. Therefore, skin care products with niacin are best suited for women with dry skin.

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  • Niacin minimizes enlarged pores – Niacin works on the inside of the pores and prevents the accumulation of dirt, thus preventing blockages and uneven, rough skin. Niacin skin care products strengthen the skin from the inside and help visibly shrink pores in no time.
  • Reduces blemishes and soothes skin – Niacin regulates the skin’s sebum production and can help mattify the T-zone. It also has an antibacterial effect and supports skin regeneration, resulting in less irritation and an even, healthy-looking complexion.
  • Niacin against skin discoloration – As you know, the sun’s harmful rays can cause hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Niacin inhibits the synthesis of melanin and can help treat and lighten pigmentation spots.

List of the best niacin foods

Niacin food vitamin B3 benefits for skin and hair

Niacin can be produced by the body, as well as ingested through food. It is found in many foods – especially animal products such as fish, meat and offal. Many plant foods such as mushrooms, mung beans and peanuts are also other excellent sources of vitamin B3. Since niacin deficiency is relatively rare in this country, it is better to avoid supplements. If you eat a healthy and varied enough diet, you should have no problem meeting your daily niacin needs naturally. Here are the best niacin foods to include in your diet.

  • Liver is one of the best natural sources of niacin. Just 100 grams of beef liver provides the body with up to 16 mg of niacin, meeting our daily requirements.
  • Chicken breast is a good source not only of niacin, but also of high-quality protein. 100 grams of cooked chicken breast contain about 15 mg of niacin, which is about 96% of the daily requirement.
  • Fish – Canned tuna is a great option for people who eat fish but not meat. One can of tuna contains up to 23 mg of niacin, which is even more than the recommended dose. Also, 100 grams of grilled salmon provides about 50% of the daily requirement for men and 62% of the daily requirement for women.
  • Peanuts are one of the best plant-based niacin foods for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. About 30 grams of peanut butter without added sugar is enough to cover about half of the daily requirement.
  • Coffee and whole grain products are also excellent sources of vitamin B3.

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