The roles of Vitamin B3

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The roles of vitamin B3 (niacin) in your body are many and varied.

Vitamin B3 helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body.

It supports good circulation and helps suppress inflammation.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) is important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and metabolism.

It is known to help lower the risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and learning disorders such as ADHD. It also protects against acne, migraines, osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions.

The roles of vitamin B3 don’t end there. This important nutrient supports brain function, helps balance cholesterol levels and helps protect against diabetes by regulation of blood sugar levels.

Vitamin B3 is also instrumental in protecting against erectile dysfunction.

And recent widely publicized research in Australia and the U.S. suggests that the active form of vitamin B3, nicotinamide, may protect against skin cancer.

It is thought that nicotinamide works by helping repair DNA damage caused by excessive UV exposure.

The researchers worked with 386 healthy volunteers with a history of skin cancers. The volunteers were divided into groups, with one group taking daily vitamin B3 supplements and the other taking placebos.

The subjects taking the supplements were 23 percent less likely to have a re-occurrence of skin cancer.

The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study is just more evidence of the importance of consuming adequate nutrients in order to give your body the ammunition it needs to fight for your health. It’s not just about the skin!

Some of the best food sources of vitamin B3/niacin include peanuts, beets, sunflower and other seeds, salmon, tuna, wild game, turkey, broccoli, asparagus, beans, bell peppers and coffee

Foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan, such as poultry, red meat, dairy, eggs and mushrooms are converted by the body into niacin.

It must be remembered that the roles of vitamin B3 operate in a symbiotic relationship with countless other vitamins and minerals.

For instance, all the B’s work together in the body converting food to fuel (glucose)—which produces energy.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, noted natural health physician and author of the book about vitamin D, Dark Deception, offers one important criticism on the vitamin B3/skin cancer study.

It concludes by advising against ‘excessive’ sun exposure and promotes use of sunscreens.

‘Excessive’ is a relative term. Some people can stand more sun than others. Dr. Mercola advises ‘appropriate’ sun exposure— and that the common advice to stay out of the sun is  “misguided.”

He notes that vitamin D is metabolized when UV rays strike the skin and goes directly into the genes.  Appropriate sun not only reduces the risk of melanoma, but also other types of cancer.

In fact, he says, “sun avoidance can become a factor that triggers skin cancer.”

In addition, he adds, regular use of most sunscreen not only blocks the body’s ability to utilize vitamin D for its many important functions, it often gives people a false sense of security, encouraging them to stay in the sun too long.

Numerous informative articles on vitamin D can be found on this blogsite.

Keep in mind that the roles of vitamin B3 function in a symbiotic relationship with all the other vitamins and minerals working on your body’s behalf.

Vitamin D/ sun is the friend, not the enemy, of vitamin B3. Learn about them and use them wisely.

Other sources:, University of Maryland Medical Center.