20% off £30

000000s
Code:GET20
 

20% off £30

000000s

Code:GET20

Buy 1 Get 1 FreeSummer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFlash Sale up to 50% offFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Better than half priceShort DatedBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubJoints, Aches & PainsGut HealthImmunityEnergyChildren's HealthHealthy HeartLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyWeight ManagementExercise & RecoveryVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPDigestive EnzymesSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionCholesterolAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesRescue RemedyAshwagandhaMilk ThistleGinseng & GuaranaHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsCBD Homeopathic Buy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayH&B ExpertDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubImmunityExercise & RecoveryGut HealthEnergyJoints, Aches & PainsWeight ManagementDental HealthFood & Drink Shop AllHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyNut ButtersJams & ChutneysSpreadsPateSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & RelaxationDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsVegan FoodSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsCrisps & ChipsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsFlapjacksPopcornDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesNatural Energy DrinksKombuchaJuicesSoft DrinksWaterProtein ShakesAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaGrenadeHeath & HeatherPukkaNakdMeridianTwiningsHuelBionaGluten FreeDairy FreeWheat FreeEgg FreeMilk FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeFish FreeMustard FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubExercise & RecoveryEnergyWeight ManagementLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietySports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinWhey ProteinClear ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneElectrolytesEnergy GelsSports CollagenPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutCaffeine-free-pre-workoutAmino Energy PowdersBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSHuelFoodspringYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreePalm Oil FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubSkin Health - by skin concernDental HealthWomen's Health - Cycles & MenstruationSexual HealthWomen's Health - PregnancyJoints, Aches & PainsChildren's HealthExercise & RecoveryLow Mood & DepressionStress & AnxietyNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautySun CareShop all Sun CareMineral Sun CareSun Lotion SPFAfter SunHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandMiaromaSukinQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubExercise & RecoveryWeight ManagementEnergyHealthy HeartWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50GrenadeOptimum NutritionHolland & BarrettUSNPulsinPhDEat WaterNew NordicSlimExpertApplied NutritionDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessGut HealthSkin Health - by skin concernEnergyWomen's Health - Menopause & PerimenopauseExercise & RecoveryJoints, Aches & PainsWomen's Health - Hormonal HealthImmunitySleep & RelaxationLow Mood & DepressionJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeHolland & BarrettDr OrganicNaturtintVitabioticsSolgarOptimum NutritionWeledaNew NordicEthiqueWildDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeSugar FreeParfum FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeSesame Seed FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseSkincareJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsArticlesAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

Vitamin B3: Benefits, functions & foods

food source of vitamin b3, also known as niacin
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is 1 of 8 essential vitamins we need. It’s clever in supplying you with energy and supporting your nervous system, learn more, here.

Vitamin B3 – also known as niacin – is one of the eight essential B vitamins.

It helps to release energy from the food we eat, supports normal nervous system function, fights fatigue and also helps to keep your skin healthy.1

Niacin is water-soluble, so we need to find it in our daily diet. Our bodies do make a small amount of niacin, but we get most of it from our food.2

B3 is found in meat, such as:3,4

  1. Liver
  2. Beef
  3. Chicken
  4. Turkey
  5. Oily fish

Vegetarian sources include:

  1. Eggs
  2. Milk and dairy products
  3. Bread
  4. Fortified breakfast cereals
  5. Broccoli
  6. Asparagus
  7. Peanuts
  8. Mushrooms
  9. Green peas
  10. Sunflower seeds
  11. Avocado

A niacin deficiency is rare in the UK, but a severe lack of vitamin B3 can lead to a condition called pellagra.

Symptoms include dry, itchy skin (dermatitis) and diarrhoea.5

What does niacin do in the body?

Like all the B vitamins, niacin helps to break down fats and protein, converting our food into energy.

There are two main forms of niacin: nicotinic acid and niacinamide (or nicotinamide).

Nicotinic acid has been shown to help reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.6

The four main functions of niacin include:7,8

  1. Promoting skin health
  2. Supporting the nervous system
  3. Helping keep normal, psychological function
  4. Reducing tiredness and fatigue

How much niacin do I need?

How much niacin vitamin B3 you need is dependent on your age and gender.

The reference nutrient intake (RNI) for vitamin B3 is:9

  • 2mg a day for women
  • 5mg a day for men

Our body can make small amounts of niacin from the amino acid tryptophan,10 but you still need to get enough from your diet every day.10

Do children need niacin?

The guidelines for children are as follows:11

Age (years) Recommended amount of B3 per day
  Boys Girls
1 5mg 4.7mg
2-3 7.2mg 6.6mg
4-6 9.8mg 9.1mg
7-10 12mg 11.2mg
11-18 16.5mg 13.2mg

Vitamin B3 foods

Wondering how you can make sure you get your daily dose of B3? Read on to find out. 

Which foods are the best sources of niacin?

The richest sources of niacin are animal-based foods, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can find all the vitamin B3 you need in a wide variety of plant foods.

But how much is in each food? The below table should give a clearer picture of how much niacin is in each:12,13,14

Food Mg per serving % RDA
Beef liver, pan fried, 3 oz 14.9 93
Chicken breast, meat only, grilled, 3 oz 10.3 64
Marinara sauce, ready to serve, 1 cup 10.3 64
Turkey breast, meat only, roasted, 3 oz 10 63
Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 oz 8.6 54
Tuna, light, canned in water, drained, 3 oz 8.6 54
Pork, tenderloin, roasted, 3 oz 6.3 39
Beef, ground, 90% leam, pan-browned, 3 oz 5.8 36
Rice, brown, cooked, 1 cup 5.2 33
Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 oz 4.2 26
Breakfast cereals fortified with 25% DV niacin 4 25
White rice, enriched, cooked, 1 cup 2.3 14
Potato (russet), baked, 1 medium 2.3 14
Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, 1 oz 2 13
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 1.4  
Pumpkin seeds, dry roasted, 1 oz 1.3 8
Soy milk, unfortified, 1 cup 1.3 8
White bread, enriched, 1 slice 1.3 8
Lentils, boiled and drained, 1/2 cup 1 6
Cooked bulgur, 1 cup 0.9 6
1 medium banana 0.8 5
Frozen edamame, 1/2 cup 0.7 4
Raisins, 1/2 cup 0.6 4
Cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup 0.5 3
Broccoli, boiled, drained, 1/2 cup 0.4 3
Cry roasted cashews, 1 oz 0.4 3
Plain low fat yoghurt, 1 cup 0.3 2
1 medium apple 0.2 1
Canned chickpeas, drained, 1 cup 0.2 1
Milk, 1% milk fat, 1 cup 0.2 1
Frozen spinach, boiled, 1/2 cup 0.2 1
Raw firm tofu, 1/2 cup 0.2 1
Chopped onions, 1/2 cup 0.1 1
1 large egg 0 0

 

What are the symptoms of a niacin deficiency?

A niacin deficiency is very rare in most Western countries. Symptoms include those related to the skin, nervous system and digestive system - in severe cases this can include:

  1. Thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight
  2. Headache
  3. Memory loss
  4. Dry skin
  5. Nausea / vomiting
  6. Irritability
  7. Disorientation
  8. Fatigue
  9. Feeling lethargic

 

If left untreated, a niacin deficiency can develop into pellagra that produces sore or ‘raw’ skin, similar to sunburn. It can also lead to dementia and could even be fatal.15

What happens if I consume too much niacin?

It’s not possible to overdose on niacin through your diet, but you can if you take too many supplements, for example taking a multivitamin and a separate B-complex.

Too much nicotinic acid can cause itching or flushing skin, and, over time, may lead to liver damage.

There’s not enough research to show what happens if you take too much nicotinamide.16

 The NHS says taking less than 17mg of nicotinic acid, or less than 500mg of nicotinamide, a day is not likely to cause any harm.17

When should I take a niacin supplement?

If you eat a balanced diet with a wide range of foods, you should get all the niacin you need.

Niacin is sometimes prescribed by health professionals to help with high cholesterol, but talk to your GP if you’re interested in taking it.18

Should children take a niacin supplement?

Children should be able to get all the niacin they need from their daily diet.

Should women take a niacin supplement during pregnancy?

If you are deficient in vitamin B3 – ask your doctor for a blood test – a niacin supplement may have the potential to help prevent miscarriage or developmental problems.

But the NHS doesn’t recommend that pregnant women in general take vitamin B3.19

What are the potential benefits of taking a niacin supplement?

B vitamins have been shown to help brain function, with niacin in particular warding off cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.20,21

A number of studies have found that certain B vitamins may benefit people with osteoarthritis.22

It’s not fully understood how, but niacinamide can improve joint mobility and reduced inflammation in those with OA.23

Sources

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/niacin-benefits
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219593
  5. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/634
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29224428
  7. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1757
  8. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  9. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  10. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/vitamins.html?limit=1&start=8
  11. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/
  12. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-niacin
  13. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/vitamins.html?limit=1&start=8
  14. https://www.hsis.org/a-z-food-supplements/vitamin-b3-niacin/
  15. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/vitamins.html?limit=1&start=8
  16. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  17. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/
  18. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219593
  19. https://www.nicswell.co.uk/health-news/vitamin-b3-found-in-marmite-unproven-to-prevent-miscarriage
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15258207
  22. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/complementary-and-alternative-treatments/types-of-complementary-treatments/vitamins-b-complex/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8841834
 

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
 
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.