Vitamin B3 called niacin or vitamin PP, like all B vitamins, is soluble in water. It stands out of the other vitamins in the B group because it is the only one that can be produced in the body by itself. However, the amounts of vitamin B3 are so small that they are not able to satisfy the body’s proper needs for this vitamin, which is why it is important to provide it with food or supplementation. Vitamin B3 is responsible for proper functioning of the brain, peripheral nervous system, synthesizing sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) and cortisone, thyroxine and insulin. In addition, niacin contributes to the maintenance of normal energy metabolism and reduces fatigue and weariness.

Apart from the foregoing properties, niacin also:

  • participates in the synthesis and distribution of fatty acids, carbohydrates and amino acids,
  • affects the formation of erythrocytes,
  • participates in the detoxification of the body, inhibits toxic effects of drugs and chemical compounds,
  • dilation of the blood vessels, so that it can prevent migraine and alleviate its course,
  • has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system, lowers blood pressure,
  • it positively affects the mental state – improves sleep, calms down, reduces nervousness, relieves symptoms of schizophrenia,
  • improves the condition of skin and hair,
  • prevents gastrointestinal disorders and some types of diarrhea.

Symptoms of Vitamin B3 deficiency:

weakness, insomnia, headaches and dizziness, memory problems, depression, irritability, anger, anxiety, agitation, skin diseases, diarrhea, vomiting, increased glycemia. Chronic, extreme deficiency of niacin may result in severe treatment for pellagra.

Symptoms of excess amount of Vitamin B3

Excess vitamin B3 is excreted in the urine, therefore it is difficult to overdose. High doses above 1 g may however cause:

  • headaches,
  • dilation of blood vessels,
  • skin reddness,
  • feeling of indigestion.

High doses, about 3, increase the likelihood of liver damage and increase uric acid levels.

Sources of Vitamin B3 in food:

The largest amounts of niacin are found in products that are a rich source of animal protein, including in: lean meat, fish (mainly tuna, mackerel), liver, eggs, quark. Niacin also occurs in yeasts, vegetables (including broccoli), cereal grains, legumes (including beans, peas) and sunflower seeds.

Supplementation with Vitamin B3:

Supplements which contain Vitamin B3:

Vitamin B3 – Niacin F-VIT B3 servings (Formeds)  – product available here

Niacin 500 mg – Vitamin B3 – 250 tablets (Now Foods) – product available here


High doses of niacin should not be taken by people with diabetes, liver disease, gout and peptic ulcer disease.