Niacin, or vitamin B3, as it is also known, is involved in over 50 metabolic processes that are meant to turn carbohydrates into energy. Besides providing energy to the cells from the entire body, niacin is also responsible for the integrity of these cells. Further on are listed some of the processes niacin participates in:
- Antioxidant effect
- Blood sugar control
- Decrease of cholesterol levels
- Production of adrenal hormones
- Production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach
- Production of sex hormones
Vitamin B3 will also turn fat into energy, as it is also involved in fat metabolism. Below are detailed some of the most important health benefits of this vitamin.
1. Niacin Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Vitamin B3 decreases the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Besides lowering the LDL cholesterol levels, which is known as bad cholesterol, niacin also increases HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which is known as good cholesterol. In fact, the latter effect seems to be more prominent than the effect on LDL cholesterol. This vitamin is able to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing this substance from getting accumulated in the liver and on the arteries. For this, niacin needs to be taken in high doses and although it is very effective on its own, sometimes it may also be combined with other medication.
2. Vitamin B3 and the Prevention of Atherosclerosis
Niacin is also involved in the production of histamine, which is a chemical compound capable of dilating blood vessels. This way, blood circulation is improved to all the areas of the body, which means that hands and feet will benefit from this effect, too. When administered in high doses, inositol hexaniacinate - the form of niacin responsible for this effect, is able to prevent atherosclerosis. In addition, the risk of heart attack and peripheral vascular disease also decreases considerably. Blood circulation problems are often painful, but vitamin B3 is very reliable, both in the prevention and in the treatment of such disorders. The best effects are obtained when vitamin B3 is combined with simvastatin, a drug that is used for lowering cholesterol levels.
3. Niacinamide and the Prevention of Diabetes
Niacinamide represents a chemical substance found in the composition of vitamin B3. This substance is believed to be effective for preventing diabetes and also for delaying the need for insulin. According to some studies conducted on animals, niacinamide improves the efficiency of the oral drug treatment that is administered for diabetes. However, you should not take niacin prior to consulting a health care provider, as this vitamin is suspected for increasing blood sugar levels.
4. Vitamin B3 as Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Niacinamide also seems to be very effective in increasing joint mobility. Correlated with the facts that niacin enhances muscle strength and reduces muscle and joint fatigue, this means that vitamin B3 can be successfully used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. If it is administered in high doses each day, effects are observed in 3 to 4 months. Niacin is also appreciated for its anti-inflammatory effect, which makes it a proper treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Worn down cartilage is rebuild when sufficient vitamin B3 is taken.