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.
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.
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.
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.
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.