Vitamin B3

In light of the recent publishing of Australian research, “Vitamin B3 may prevent miscarriages and birth defects” nicotinamide/niacin or simply vitamin b3 does a whole lot more for us.

Within our clinic, we provide the vitamin B12 and B complex and occasionally B1, B6 and B7. B12 is the highly requested due to, simply, deficiencies in vast populations, mainly vegans, vegetarians, malabsorption syndrome, pernicious anaemia and mostly gut related illnesses. In a healthy state, we can all absorb these nutrients, considering we are sourcing them from the right foods and maintaining a balanced diet.

Where do we get B3 from?

Vitamin B3 is mainly sourced from foods that are high in protein such as meat, fish, wheat flour, eggs, carrots, peas, peanuts, legumes, tomatoes etc. The UK’s daily recommended is 0.3 mg/kg/day.

B3 Deficiency

Severe deficiency in vitamin B3 results in pellagra, which is very rare in the United Kingdom, however, certain populations listed below are susceptible to deficiency. Four “D’s” mainly characterize the disease: diarrhoea, dermatisis, dementia and potentially, death if left untreated. Additionally, the diagnosis can be strongly suggested by examining the levels of niacin, tryptophan and compounds found for enzyme function. A combined urine excretion of a metabolite of niacin and end product of niacin less than 1.5 milligrams in 24 h indicates severe niacin deficiency.

Populations susceptible to deficiency:

  • Staple diets consisting of consuming corn and sorghum
  • Individuals with eating disorders for example, anorexia nervosa

  • Congenital malabsorption of tryptophan (amino acid) from the intestines and kidney

  • Chronic alcoholics

  • Food fadists

Why B3 now?

This happens whenever “breakthroughs” or positive significant findings come out. B3 has always been important and beneficial like all nutrients and little is promoted on why nutrients are vital for our wellbeing. Good research comes out quite often and it is only fair to say this one was a lucky pick.

Besides the recent vitamin B3 findings, here is a list of the other known benefits:

  • Essential in all cells for energy production

  • Helps with metabolism

  • Repairs our DNA

  • Maintenance of the healthy skin or aging facial skin appearance

  • Free radical scavenger

  • Influences immune cell function and survival

  • Reduces the damage ultraviolet (UV) has on our immunity

  • An adjuvant in alcoholism treatments

Future of B3

B3 has been found to be a promising agent for the chemoprevention of melanoma in high-risk population. This is currently in the early stages of study and we can only cross our fingers for now that a solid foundation can be built upon from this. The headlined findings are definitely good news worth echoing and boosting your vitamins and diet to, certainly, doing more good than harm for those trying to start a family. On the other hand, we hope future studies clarify if lower levels of B3 are a partial cause of birth defects.

As exciting as it sounds, this should not open doors for a new fad diet. This is a breakthrough study, which was done under controlled environments, in mice, mice that probably don’t smoke, possibly exercise, and have their life entirely controlled in a lab. At the end of the day, these biological effects mirror human beings, and hopefully, this research will be translated onto us soon.