Thursday, February 15, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Rich food sources of niacin include organ meats, eggs, fish, and peanuts. These foods are high in tryptophan. The body can then convert tryptophan into niacin. Other good food sources are legumes, whole grains (except corn), avocados, and milk.

Niacin containing enzymes play a vital role in energy production; the manufacturer of sex and adrenal hormones; and fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrate metabolism. It functions in the body as a component in coenzymes NADP and NAD, which are involved in over 50 chemical reactions in the body.

Niacin is also involved in antioxidant mechanisms, blood sugar regulation, detoxifications reactions, and is best known for its lipid lowering activity. Niacinamide may be a preventative to insulin-dependent diabetes.

Niacin is ornately involved with the other B vitamins in energy metabolism. It can be taken in conjunction with lipid-lowering medications.

Some nutritionists believe that niacin is not an essential nutrient as long as tryptophan is present. Niacin is a blood vessel dilator. This chemical reaction is what causes the “flush” sensation or redness. To avoid skin flushing, the best form of niacin is inositol hexanicotinate. Sustained release niacin is the least preferred choice of all niacin forms.

by John Connor, CNC

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