Niacin vitamins are also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, and they are mostly found in animals and plants. Since they are a form of vitamin B, they are water soluble, and they cannot be stored in the body. They are widely used as a nutritional supplement in food products, because they bring a lot of health benefits to the body. However, over-consumption of niacin can result in certain health problems as well. Here are the pros and cons of niacin vitamins:
- Facilitates Energy Production. Niacin is an essential nutrient because it helps the body metabolize food calories from macronutrient sources. The food that is broken down will be transported to different muscles and organs of the body, so that they can supply energy for various biological and neurological functions. Without B vitamins, such as niacin, muscle tissues will not be able to function effectively.
- Improves Digestive System and Appetite. It is also known that niacin can assist in regulating the digestive system and appetite. It improves the efficiency of the digestive system by controlling the secretion of bile as well as other stomach fluids.
- Maintains Health of Nervous System. Niacin vitamins also play an important role in maintaining nerve function. Niacin deficiency may result in neurological problems such as tremors, weakness, depression, irritability and anxiety. A person with severe niacin deficiency may develop a life-threatening condition called pellagra, which causes delirium, dementia and death.
- Promotes Healthy Skin. Niacin is used in many skin care and anti-aging products because it is effective in promoting healthy skin. Nicotinamide and niacinamide, which are derivatives of niacin, can improve skin moisture, lighten skin and treat acne.
- Enhances Sexual Ability. It has been proven that consumption of niacin can enhance sexual performance. Niacin helps in the production of sexual hormones in various parts of the body. Also, it makes the blood vessels dilate and revs up the heart to boost sexual prowess.
- Prevents and Treats Health Problems. Niacin vitamins are used to treat a number of health problems, including high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's disease and skin conditions. Physicians prescribe niacin to patients with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, because it can reduce bad cholesterol and fat levels in the blood, as well as increase levels of good cholesterol. Niacinamide aids in the prevention of type 1 diabetes, because it offers temporary protection for cells in the pancreas and prevents the production of insulin. This niacin derivative can also improve joint mobility in arthritis patients.
Niacin needs to be replenished regularly because it is quickly disposed by the body through urination. Many people are not aware that large doses of niacin vitamins can result in health problems. Some of the common symptoms of over-consumption of niacin include headache, fatigue, diarrhea, heartburn, skin rashes, vomiting, blurred vision, drowsiness, peptic ulcers and organ damage. Even a normal dose of niacin vitamins can lead to skin flushing. Those who take more than 75 mg of niacin everyday for an extended period of time will be more susceptible to liver damage. It is advisable that you consult a doctor before you decide to take niacin supplements.