Niacin – Consumer

A woman discussing supplements with a pharmacist.

This is a reader-friendly overview of Niacin. For far more particulars, see our overall health specialist fact sheet on Niacin.

What is niacin and what does it do?

Niacin (also identified as vitamin B3) will help flip the food stuff you consume into the energy you need. Niacin is important for the development and perform of the cells in your system.

How substantially niacin do I need?

The total of niacin you need relies upon on your age and sex. Normal day by day advisable amounts are stated underneath in milligrams (mg) of niacin equivalents (NE) (except for infants in their to start with six months).

The mg NE evaluate is used because your system can also make niacin from tryptophan, an amino acid in proteins. For case in point, when you consume turkey, which is large in tryptophan, some of this amino acid is converted to niacin in your liver. Employing mg NE accounts for both the niacin you take in and the niacin your system tends to make from tryptophan. Infants in their to start with 6 months do not make substantially niacin from tryptophan.

Lifetime Phase Proposed Amount of money
Beginning to six months 2 mg
Infants 7–12 months four mg NE
Young children 1–3 yrs six mg NE
Young children 4–8 yrs 8 mg NE
Young children 9–13 yrs 12 mg NE
Teenager boys 14–18 yrs sixteen mg NE
Teenager ladies 14–18 yrs 14 mg NE
Grownup guys 19+ yrs sixteen mg NE
Grownup girls 19+ yrs 14 mg NE
Expecting teenagers and girls eighteen mg NE
Breastfeeding teenagers and girls seventeen mg NE

What foodstuff provide niacin?

Niacin is observed by natural means in a lot of foodstuff, and is included to some foodstuff. You can get advisable amounts of niacin by feeding on a wide range of foodstuff, which include the next:

  • Animal foodstuff, this sort of as poultry, beef, pork, and fish
  • Some kinds of nuts, legumes, and grains
  • Enriched and fortified foodstuff, this sort of as a lot of breads and cereals

What types of niacin dietary nutritional supplements are obtainable?

Niacin is observed in multivitamin/multimineral nutritional supplements. It is also obtainable in B-sophisticated dietary nutritional supplements and nutritional supplements containing only niacin. The two most important forms of niacin in dietary nutritional supplements are nicotinic acid and nicotinamide.

Niacin (in the form of nicotinic acid) is also obtainable as a prescription medicine used to address large blood cholesterol stages.

Am I obtaining sufficient niacin?

Most men and women in the United States get sufficient niacin from the foodstuff they consume. Niacin deficiency is really scarce in the United States. Having said that, some men and women are far more possible than other people to have problems obtaining sufficient niacin:

What happens if I don’t get sufficient niacin?

You can create niacin deficiency if you you should not get sufficient niacin or tryptophan from the foodstuff you consume. Significant niacin deficiency qualified prospects to a disease identified as pellagra. Pellagra, which is unusual in produced nations, can have these results:

  • Tough skin that turns red or brown in the sun
  • A vibrant red tongue
  • Vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Complications
  • Severe tiredness
  • Aggressive, paranoid, or suicidal actions
  • Hallucinations, apathy, loss of memory

In its last levels, pellagra qualified prospects to loss of hunger followed by death.

What are some results of niacin on overall health?

Scientists are studying niacin to far better comprehend how it impacts overall health. Here is an case in point of what this research has proven.

Cardiovascular disease
Scientists have studied the use of large doses of niacin in the form of nicotinic acid to enable lessen the possibility of coronary heart assault and stroke in men and women with atherosclerosis. They observed that prescription-energy nicotinic acid (far more than 100 periods the advisable dietary allowance) can reduce blood stages of LDL (lousy) cholesterol, increase stages of HDL (fantastic) cholesterol, and reduce stages of triglycerides. But these favorable results on blood lipids (fat) don’t have an effect on the possibility of possessing a cardiovascular occasion, this sort of as coronary heart assault, unexpected cardiac death, or stroke. In addition, gurus do not recommend large doses of nicotinic acid for men and women getting a statin treatment.

Your healthcare provider really should approve and supervise any use of really large doses of nicotinic acid (in the thousands of milligrams) to address atherosclerosis.

Can niacin be dangerous?

The niacin that food stuff and drinks by natural means incorporate is safe. Having said that, dietary nutritional supplements with thirty mg or far more of nicotinic acid can make the skin on your experience, arms, and upper body flip red and burn off, tingle, and itch. These indicators can also direct to head aches, rashes, and dizziness.

If you consider nicotinic acid as a treatment in doses of 1,000 or far more mg/day, it can result in far more extreme side results. These involve:

  • Small blood stress (which can improve the possibility of falls)
  • Severe tiredness
  • Significant blood sugar stages
  • Nausea, heartburn, and abdominal pain
  • Blurred or impaired eyesight and fluid buildup in the eyes

Prolonged-term cure, particularly with prolonged-release forms of nicotinic acid, can result in liver challenges, which include hepatitis and liver failure.

Niacin in the form of nicotinamide has less side results than nicotinic acid. Having said that, at large doses of 500 mg/day or far more, nicotinamide can result in diarrhea, uncomplicated bruising, and can improve bleeding from wounds. Even better doses of 3,000 mg/day or far more can result in nausea, vomiting, and liver problems.

The day by day upper boundaries for niacin from dietary nutritional supplements are stated underneath.

Ages Upper Limit
Beginning to 12 months Not founded
Young children 1–3 yrs 10 mg
Young children 4–8 yrs 15 mg
Young children 9–13 yrs 20 mg
Teenagers 14–18 yrs thirty mg
Older people 19+ yrs 35 mg


Does niacin interact with medications or other dietary nutritional supplements?

Niacin dietary nutritional supplements can interact or interfere with specific medicines that you consider, and some medicines can reduce niacin stages in your system. Here are some illustrations:

  • Tuberculosis medicines (this sort of as isoniazid and pyrazinamide) interfere with the body’s skill to transform tryptophan to niacin. This interference can reduce niacin stages in your system.
  • Significant doses of nicotinic acid (1,500 mg/day or far more) can increase blood sugar stages and interfere with the success of diabetic issues medications. These doses can even increase blood sugar stages in men and women who don’t have diabetic issues.

Convey to your physician, pharmacist, and other healthcare vendors about any dietary nutritional supplements and prescription or over-the-counter medicines you consider. They can notify you if the dietary nutritional supplements could interact with your medicines. They can also notify you if the medicines could interfere with how your system absorbs, uses, or breaks down niacin and other vitamins.

Niacin and healthful feeding on

Folks really should get most of their vitamins from food stuff and drinks, in accordance to the federal government’s Dietary Recommendations for Individuals. Meals incorporate natural vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other components that reward overall health. In some conditions, fortified foodstuff and dietary nutritional supplements are beneficial when it is not possible to meet up with requires for 1 or far more vitamins (e.g., in the course of specific lifestyle levels this sort of as pregnancy). For far more info about developing a healthy dietary pattern, see the Dietary Recommendations for Individualsexternal link disclaimer and the U.S. Office of Agriculture’s MyPlate.external link disclaimer

Where by can I discover out far more about niacin?

  • For normal info on niacin:
  • For far more info on food stuff sources of niacin:
  • For far more guidance on deciding upon dietary nutritional supplements:
  • For info about developing a healthy dietary pattern:


This fact sheet by the Office environment of Dietary Nutritional supplements (ODS) delivers info that really should not consider the place of health-related guidance. We encourage you to chat to your healthcare vendors (physician, registered dietitian, pharmacist, and so forth.) about your curiosity in, inquiries about, or use of dietary nutritional supplements and what might be most effective for your general overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific product or service or service, or recommendation from an business or specialist culture, does not stand for an endorsement by ODS of that product or service, service, or qualified guidance.

Up-to-date: March 22, 2021 Heritage of improvements to this fact sheet