Niacin. B3 Vitamin. Get Niacin-rich Now & Boost Your Vitality

Updated: 12/21/23

Have you ever felt like your energy levels were in the dumps? Maybe you’ve struggled with falling asleep or waking up feeling unrested. You might be lacking in an essential B vitamin called niacin. Also known as vitamin B3, niacin plays a key role in converting food into fuel for our bodies and minds. It supports over fifty enzyme reactions in the body related to energy production. Getting enough niacin could be the natural vitality boost you’ve been looking for! In this post, we’ll cover some delicious niacin-rich foods to add to your diet, the many health benefits of this underrated B vitamin, and simple lifestyle tweaks to help your body absorb more niacin from your meals. By the end, you’ll be excited to get your daily dose of niacin so you can feel like your best self. Let’s get started with exploring this overlooked yet crucial nutrient!

What is Niacin?

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the body. It is part of the B-vitamin family and is also called vitamin B3. Niacin occurs naturally in foods such as meat, fish, nuts, and grains. Niacin is also added to some vitamin supplements and fortified foods. The recommended daily dosage for niacin varies depending on age, gender, and health status.

Niacin is essential for the body because it helps convert food into energy. It also supports healthy skin, digestive system, and nervous system. Niacin helps reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels, which can protect against heart disease. Studies show that niacin can improve joint mobility, cut down inflammation and ease diabetic nerve damage. Niacin is also used to treat some skin conditions, including acne.

Niacin has been used medicinally for centuries. It was first extracted from livers in 1873 and isolated in 1938. Niacin was discovered to be effective in treating face pigmentation and skin blisters. In the 1950s, scientists discovered its role in cholesterol metabolism. Niacin is also used in alternative medicine in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. A ritual in Scientology is the “purification rundown,” which uses niacin doses alongside exercise and sauna visits.

Niacin B3 Benefits

Niacin has a range of benefits when taken as a supplement. It can boost brain function, relieve arthritis and even lower cholesterol.

May Improve Heart Health

It has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood flow, which are both essential for a healthy heart. In fact, some studies have found that niacin can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 30%. That’s pretty impressive!

May Boost Brain Power

It also plays a role in maintaining optimal brain function. It helps improve blood flow to the brain, which can enhance cognitive performance and help ward off age-related cognitive decline.

May Increase Energy Levels

It helps convert food into energy, which makes it a popular nutrient for athletes and people who lead an active lifestyle. It improves endurance, performance, and reduces muscle fatigue.

Supports Digestive Health

It promotes digestive health by reducing inflammation, stimulating the growth of good gut bacteria, and reducing the risk of gastrointestinal disorders.

Supports Athletic Performance and Weight Management

Whether you are an athlete or not, you can benefit from niacin B3’s ability to enhance energy metabolism and fat burning. B3 helps convert food into glucose, which is the primary fuel source for your body’s cells. By doing so, niacin B3 can increase endurance, stamina, and overall physical performance. It also enhances insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for regulating blood sugar levels and preventing weight gain and obesity.

May Reduce Anxiety and Depression

It helps boost levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that’s linked to happiness, mood regulation, and relaxation. It also helps regulate the adrenal gland, which helps manage stress.

May Boosts Brain Function and Mood

There is a reason why niacin is sometimes called the “brain vitamin.” Niacin B3 plays a crucial role in the brain’s communication system by helping produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are important for regulating mood, cognition, memory, and behavior. Niacin B3 also improves cerebral blood flow and energy metabolism, which enhances brain function and reduces the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

May Serve as a Phosphorus Binder

It has been found to be an effective phosphorus binder. In individuals with chronic kidney disease, high levels of phosphorus in the blood can lead to a plethora of health complications, such as weakened bones, muscle weakness, and even death. By binding with excess phosphorus in the gut, B3 helps to prevent its absorption into the bloodstream.

Promotes Younger-looking Skin

Who doesn’t want youthful, glowing skin? B3 can help with that too! It works by boosting collagen production, which is essential for keeping skin plump and firm. It also helps reduce inflammation and prevent damage from free radicals, which can contribute to premature aging.

May Improve Joint Health

If you suffer from joint pain or arthritis, niacin may be able to help. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

Supports Fertility and Intimate Health

It supports the production of hormones, which play a crucial role in fertility and intimate health. It maintains healthy reproductive organs and helps improve passion.

Regulates Blood Sugar

It helps regulate blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing diabetes. It improves insulin sensitivity, which helps the body use glucose more efficiently.

May Prevent Pellagra

Pellagra is a type of niacin B3 deficiency, characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. Although cases of pellagra are rare in developed countries, vegetarians and those with compromised digestive function may suffer from this deficiency. Taking an adequate amount of niacin B3 can help prevent pellagra, maintaining overall good health.

May Reduce Symptoms of Migraine

It acts as a vasodilator, which helps widen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.

May Provide Better Sleep

If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, niacin may be able to help. It helps your body produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s essential for regulating sleep and mood.

Niacin benefits infographic

Niacin Side Effects


Perhaps the most common side effect of niacin is flushing. Flushing happens when blood vessels near the surface of the skin dilate, causing the skin to turn red and to feel warm and itchy. Flushing can be unpleasant, but it usually isn’t dangerous and will go away on its own within an hour or two. If you’re worried about flushing, try taking it with food or reducing your dosage.

Digestive Issues

Some people might also experience digestive issues after taking niacin. These can include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To avoid these side effects, try taking it with a meal or a snack, or spread out your dosage throughout the day. If these symptoms persist, consult with your doctor for an alternative solution.


It can also cause headaches, which can range from mild to severe. If you’re prone to migraines or have a history of headaches, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking niacin. If you experience headaches, try taking a lower dosage or breaking your dosage into smaller increments.

Liver Damage

Taking high doses can also lead to liver damage. Symptoms of liver damage can include yellowing of the skin, abdominal pain, and dark urine. Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking high doses of niacin, especially if you have a history of liver problems.


It can also trigger gout flare-ups. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes sudden and severe pain and swelling in the joints. If you’re prone to gout, ask your doctor before taking niacin. If you do experience a gout flare-up, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.

Increased Blood Sugar

It can also impact your blood sugar levels. Research shows that high doses can lead to elevated blood glucose levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, talk to your doctor before adding niacin to your supplement regimen.

Allergic Reactions

Finally, some people may experience an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking B3, stop taking it immediately and seek medical attention.

Can Niacin Lower Cholesterol?

Yes, it can. B3 is a promising supplement that shows to reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve overall health. However, it is not a magic pill and must be taken in combination with a healthy lifestyle to reap its full benefits. If you’re considering supplementation, speak to your doctor first and opt for trusted brands. With the right approach, niacin could be just the supplement you need for healthy cholesterol levels.

Can Niacin Lower Blood Pressure?

Niacin is a form of vitamin B3 that’s essential for your body to function properly. It helps your body convert food into energy, maintain healthy skin, and support your nervous system. Niacin also plays a role in regulating cholesterol levels, which is why it’s often used to treat high cholesterol. But how does B3 affect blood pressure? It works by dilating blood vessels, which can help lower resistance to blood flow and ultimately lower blood pressure.

Research on the effects of niacin on blood pressure has been mixed. Some studies have found that B3 can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, while others have found no significant effect. One study even found that it may increase blood pressure in some people. It’s worth noting, however, that most of the studies on niacin and blood pressure have been small and short-term. More research is needed to determine whether niacin is a reliable way to lower blood pressure.

Niacin for Depression

Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is found in many different foods. It plays an important role in energy metabolism and helps support healthy skin, nerves, and digestion. When it comes to mental health, niacin is believed to work by boosting levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, and increasing serotonin levels can help improve symptoms.

Numerous studies have shown that B3 can be an effective treatment for depression, either on its own or in combination with other therapies. One study published in the journal Psychiatry Research found that niacin was as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in reducing symptoms of depression in patients with major depressive disorder. Another study from the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that niacin supplementation improved both depressive symptoms and overall cognitive function in patients with bipolar disorder.

Why Take Niacin at Bedtime?

One of the key benefits of taking B3 at bedtime is improved sleep quality. Niacin is known to have sedative effects, which can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. By taking niacin before bedtime, you can improve the quality of your sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed and energized.

Another reason to take niacin at bedtime is its ability to regulate cholesterol levels. Niacin has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s best to take B3 at night because it can cause flushing, which can be uncomfortable during the day.

Niacin Supplement Dosage

It is best to take 100 mg (scant 1/16 tsp) to 500 mg (scant 1/4 tsp) per day, or as directed by a physician. A serving size of about 1/8 tsp equals roughly 275 mg. If taken along with a meal, this supplement may potentially reduce stomach discomfort.

For flush-free niacin (inositol nicotinate) powder, take 625 mg (scant 1/4 tsp) daily, or as directed by a physician. Individual needs may vary.

Where to Buy Niacin

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The Bottom Line

In summary, B3 or nicotinic acid is one of the important nutrients that should not be forgotten when considering overall health. It shares an association with multiple benefits and proves to promote cardiovascular health, healthy skin, optimal brain functioning, and reduced inflammation. Incorporating vitamin B3 into your diet can be quite easy by including foods such as chicken, fish, legumes, and whole grains. However, consuming B3 solely from food may not be enough for therapeutic benefits; thus, supplements are an excellent option. Nevertheless, seek the guidance of a health practitioner before starting any supplements. Make B3 part of your daily routine in optimal health.

Niacin is an essential nutrient that can provide a range of health benefits, but it’s not without side effects. If you’re considering taking as a supplement, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and talk to your doctor before starting. Remember, everyone’s body is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. By doing your research and monitoring your body’s response, you can make an informed decision about whether it is right for you.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Author: Ryan Quigley
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.