What are Niacin Supplements?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Asparagus is a good source of niacin.
Asparagus is a good source of niacin.

Niacin supplements are vitamins a person takes when he wants to consume more niacin than he world normally get from his regular diet. Niacin is a B vitamin that is important for a range of body processes. It also provides many health benefits, including the lowering of cholesterol in the body, the stabilization of blood sugar, and the metabolization of fats. Also called vitamin B3, niacin is naturally present in a range of food sources, including asparagus, crimini mushrooms, and salmon.

Niacin supplements have been used to treat menstrual pain.
Niacin supplements have been used to treat menstrual pain.

Most people get enough niacin by consuming a well-balanced diet. Those who do not may develop a deficiency that is accompanied by weakness, appetite loss, and skin infections. People who develop niacin deficiencies may also have problems related to digestion.

Besides diet, there are several conditions that may lead to niacin deficiency. Among them are inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions that cause a person to have chronic diarrhea. Sometimes people who are deficient in tryptophan, an amino acid, also develop niacin deficiencies. This is because a person’s body gets some of the niacin it needs by converting tryptophan. In the absence of suitable levels of this amino acid, niacin levels can suffer.

Niacin supplements might be beneficial to those dealing with insomnia.
Niacin supplements might be beneficial to those dealing with insomnia.

A person who has a niacin deficiency, or even some of the symptoms of it, may take niacin supplements, which are available in pill form. Besides treating deficiencies, niacin supplements can be helpful in the treatment or prevention of a wide range of medical conditions. Among them are cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, hallucinations, convulsions, and depression. Niacin supplements may also prove helpful for those who have frequent headaches or struggle with insomnia. They may even help to relieve menstrual pain and prevent inflammatory bowel disease.

Salmon is a natural source of niacin.
Salmon is a natural source of niacin.

Niacin supplements can also prove helpful for giving people increased energy. They help to facilitate the body’s conversion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy. These supplements can also prove helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels in those with high cholesterol. They are even helpful for the regulation of a person’s blood sugar levels.

Niacin and other B vitamins can help improve the functioning of the heart.
Niacin and other B vitamins can help improve the functioning of the heart.

When an individual consumes niacin in food, he is unlikely to take in enough to have problems with toxicity. Some people may experience symptoms of toxicity with very high doses of niacin supplements, however. Among the symptoms of niacin toxicity are skin flushing, itching, and low blood pressure. Doses of more than 75 milligrams (0026 ounces) may be enough to cause liver damage in some people.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Asparagus is a good source of niacin.
      Asparagus is a good source of niacin.
    • Niacin supplements have been used to treat menstrual pain.
      Niacin supplements have been used to treat menstrual pain.
    • Niacin supplements might be beneficial to those dealing with insomnia.
      Niacin supplements might be beneficial to those dealing with insomnia.
    • Salmon is a natural source of niacin.
      Salmon is a natural source of niacin.
    • Niacin and other B vitamins can help improve the functioning of the heart.
      Niacin and other B vitamins can help improve the functioning of the heart.