Niacin Deficiency & Dangerous Side Effects

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the 8 types of vitamin B complex that functions in metabolism and provide energy for the body. Niacin defi...

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the 8 types of vitamin B complex that functions in metabolism and provide energy for the body. Niacin deficiency is rare, as is found in many foods, including dairy products, eggs, meat, legumes, nuts and enriched breads and cereals. Even so, the people who live areas where maize is the main food source, are at risk to suffer from pellagra because maize contain little niacin and tryptophan. Likewise with chronic alcohol drinkers have a higher risk of suffering from pellagra.Niacin, or vitamin B3, is one of the 8 types of vitamin B complex that functions in metabolism and provide energy for the body. Niacin deficiency is rare, as is found in many foods, including dairy products, eggs, meat, legumes, nuts and enriched breads and cereals.


Even so, the people who live areas where maize is the main food source, are at risk to suffer from pellagra because maize contain little niacin and tryptophan. Likewise with chronic alcohol drinkers have a higher risk of suffering from pellagra. Pellagra also occur in patients with Hartnup disease, a rare disease, which tryptophan absorption in the intestine and kidney disorder. To prevent the onset of symptoms, these patients require high doses of niacin.

Pellagra marked abnormalities in the skin, gastrointestinal tract and brain. The first symptoms such as redness on the skin area that is symmetrical, similar to burns from the sun and will get worse if exposed to sunlight (photosensitivity). The skin changes do not disappear and will brown and scaly.

Skin symptoms are usually followed by digestive disorders, such as nausea, loss of appetite and diarrhea were stinking and sometimes bloody. The entire digestive tract can be affected by:
- Is not able to produce enough stomach acid (aklorhidria)
- The tongue and mouth become inflamed, which then turned into a dark red color light.

The vagina may also be affected. In the end, mental changes, such as fatigue, insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and apathy. The symptoms are usually preceded by abnormalities in brain function (encephalopathy, such as confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, amnesia and even manic-depressive psychosis.

Diagnosis is based on the history of food, symptoms and low levels of niacin in the urine. Blood tests can also help diagnosis. Given high doses of niacin-amide (approximately 25 times the recommended daily dose) plus other B vitamins in high doses (10 times the recommended daily dose). Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and pantothenic acid should be given due to lack of these vitamins can cause symptoms similar to pellagra.

Vitamin B3 daily needs

What is the need of vitamin B3 per day?
  • Infants 0-6 months of age need 2 mcg
  • Infants aged 7-12 months require 4 mcg
  • Toddlers ages 1-3 years need 6 mcg
  • Children ages 4-8 years need 8 mcg
  • Children aged 9-13 years require 12 mcg
  • Adolescents aged 14 years and older men need 16 mcg,
  • and for women require 14 mcg

Maximum daily dose tolerated by their bodies:
  • Children ages 1-3 years old up to 10 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years old up to 15 mcg
  • Children ages 9-13 years old up to 20 mcg
  • Maximum age of 14 years and above 30-35 mcg

 

Vitamin B3 or Niacin Foods

Niacin is found in variety of foods, including liver, chicken, beef, fish, cereal, peanuts, and legumes, and is also synthesized from tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in most forms of protein.
Animal products:
  • liver, heart and kidney (9 – 15 mg niacin per 100 grams)
  • chicken, chicken breast (6.5 mg)
  • beef (5 – 6 mg)
  • fish: tuna, salmon, halibut (2.5 – 13 mg)
  • eggs (0.1 mg)
  • venison (8.43 mg)
Fruits and vegetables:
  • avocados (1 mg niacin per 100 grams)
  • dates (2 mg)
  • tomatoes (0.7 mg)
  • leaf vegetables (0.3 – 0.4 mg)
  • broccoli (0.6 mg)
  • carrots (0.3 – 0.6 mg)
  • sweet potatoes (0.5 – 0.6 mg)
  • asparagus (0.4 mg)
Seeds:
  • nuts (2 mg niacin per 100 grams)
  • whole grain products (4 – 29.5 mg)
  • legumes (0.4 – 16 mg)
  • saltbush seeds
Fungi:
  • mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms (3.5 – 4 mg niacin per 100 grams)
  • brewer's yeast (36 mg)
Other:
  • beer (6 mg per pint, less if filtered)
  • Ovaltine (18 mg)
  • Peanut butter (15 mg)
  • Tofu
  • Soy sauce (0.4 mg)
  • Vegemite (from spent brewer's yeast) (50 mg niacin per 100 grams)
  • Marmite (from spent brewer's yeast) (50 mg niacin per 100 grams)
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Health Fame: Niacin Deficiency & Dangerous Side Effects
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