Niacin is a substance classified to the group of vitamins B, which are essential for the proper functioning of our organism. The benefits from its proper concentration are numerous and as it turns out in practice, not so hard to obtain. In the present article, we will present the properties of vitamin B3 and inform what may entail its insufficient supplementation.

  1. What is niacin?

Niacin, often also called vitamin B3 or PP is a name encompassing two chemical compounds: nicotinic acid and its amide, also called nicotinamide. Vitamin B3, contrary to some other representatives of this group of vitamin compounds, is an endogenous substance, which means that a human organism is able to produce it by itself. A substrate in the process of vitamin B3 production is tryptophan, an organic chemical compound in the group of protein amino acids. Unfortunately, the amounts of endogenously produced niacin are too low in order to cover the needs of an average human being. Moreover, tryptophan is an exogenous amino acid, which means that it is not able to be produced by our metabolism. Therefore, vitamin PP should be provided with food.

  1. Properties of vitamin PP

Niacin is primarily one of the elements creating two important coenzymes: NAD and NADP. Each of them, by combining with protein produces an enzyme called oxidoreductase. Oxidoreductase, in turn, is a compound which has indissoluble influence on the metabolism of all basic macroelements of our food – proteins, fats and carbohydrates.


Supplementation with niacin also entails benefits for the immune system. Research shows that systematic application of vitamin B3 leads to the increase of the number of neutrophils. They are white cells allowing to destroy disease-causing microbes in the form of bacteria. Vitamin PP also leads to the improvement of the functionality of the central nervous system. The increase of the activity in the nuclei of mitochondria, which are located in the nucleus accumbens, contributes to the improvement of mental condition, which appears as: the increase of self-confidence, decrease of the consequences of daily stress and limiting anxiety.

However, these are not all properties that niacin may entail. Researchers also provide a few other effects resulting from the systematic application of vitamin B3. They are:

– normalization of the production and secretion of gastric juice;

– increase of detoxification mechanisms;

– participation in the production of some hormones (e.g. insulin, thyroxine);

– participation in the synthesis of red cells;

– improvement of the state of skin, hair and nails;

– decrease of the concentration of LDL cholesterol and increase of the content of HDL cholesterol.

  1. Sources of vitamin B3

As mentioned earlier, despite endogenous character of niacin, it is a compound requiring additional supplementation. The best way to complement deficient amounts of vitamin B3 is well-balanced diet, which will use products containing not only large supplies of vitamin PP, but also tryptophan, essential for its production. Therefore, what should the menu of a person who needs to take care of the proper concentration of niacin in blood contain?

The main sources of vitamin B3 are products rich in protein of animal origin. The leaders are primarily lean meat, such as veal, chicken or turkey. However, we cannot skip offal (e.g. heart or liver), pork or beef, as the doses contained in these types of meat are also very high. Also eggs, some types of fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel or tuna) as well as dairy products, such as curd cheese or skimmed milk are good organic sources of vitamin PP.

It is also worth mentioning that supplementation with niacin should be combined with the application of chromium. The application of this element enables even more efficient absorption of vitamin B3 from food. The dosing of vitamin PP is the following:

Group Norms
Children 6–12 mg
Teenagers Girls: 12–14 mg
Boys: 12–16 mg
Men 16 mg
Women 14 mg
Pregnant women 18 mg


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