When it comes to promoting your health and wellness, one of the best directions to get you started is vitamins. Vitamins are excellent tools to help boost health and wellness. Niacin is one of the B vitamins, also referred to as vitamin B-3, and is commonly found in multivitamins and nutritious foods. 

Niacin is an example of a vitamin that has a range of benefits for the body, benefits that may surprise you. So, how can you know if Niacin is right for you? This guide helps break it down. Read on to learn the basics of what Niacin is, how it works, and the range of benefits it promotes as well as how to determine whether or not Niacin is right for you. 

What is Niacin?

In short, Niacin is the B vitamin known as B-3. Niacin helps the nervous system, digestion, and even skin health. It also helps the body convert food into energy. Niacin is naturally found in yeast, milk, some meats, tortillas, and some grain-based cereals. 

Niacin itself has a range of benefits for the body, but it also comes in another form known as niacinamide. 

How Niacin Works

This B vitamin works in a unique way. The main goal of niacin is to help convert food into energy which the body can then use to perform a number of important functions. Niacin helps enzymes perform cellular metabolism. This vitamin also helps cell signaling, synthesizing DNA, repairing DNA, and acts as an antioxidant in the body.

The mechanism of niacin involves a unique characteristic. When you take niacin, even as little as 50 mg a day, it works to open up your blood vessels. In other words, your blood vessels dilate, or expand, allowing more blood to enter and flow through the vessels. This can result in some interesting, but harmless, side effects which we’ll talk about later. 

Benefits of Niacin

While Niacin plays an important role in the body and promotes a variety of processes, you’re likely wondering what the direct benefits of niacin are. Here are a few of the most significant benefits of incorporating niacin into your routine.

Memory: Niacin can help improve memory over time and correct other kinds of issues that arise with age. It has even been shown to help lessen the levels of phosphorylated tau, one of the two proteins associated with Alzheimer’s. 

Sleep: Another benefit of taking niacinamide is that it promotes better sleep. It targets and activates receptors in the brain that help many sleep longer and better. 

Cholesterol: Niacin can also assist in the lowering of cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is how it works. This B vitamin decreases levels of lipoproteins, which are associated with heart disease. Niacin can also help improve blood sugar levels and circulation.

Arthritis: Niacinamide is the alkaline form of niacin that doesn’t cause a flushing sensation. This is known to help soothe arthritis because it works to open up the deeper blood vessels near joints. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking niacinamide for arthritis and evenly distribute your dosages throughout the day instead of taking them all at once. 

Side Effects of Niacin

It’s important to note that there are a few side effects associated with taking niacin. Let’s take a closer look below. 

The first and most common side effect of taking niacin is known as flush. The way niacin works in the body make the blood vessels become larger. This expansion may cause a warm and tingling sensation and noticeably red areas of skin. While flush is not harmful, it can be scary if you’re not prepared for it. 

You may also experience things like increased heart rate, increased itchiness, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, gout, diabetes, and liver damage. These are typically only associated with high doses of niacin when taken as prescribed. Lower doses of niacin that remain under 2,000 to 6,000 mg a day typically don’t result in serious side effects. 

Deciding if Niacin is Right for You

Determining whether or not Niacin is right for you involves looking at a variety of factors. First, it’s important to look at Niacin benefits. Does Niacin offer a benefit that you need? Do you want to experience improved memory, sleep, cholesterol, or arthritis? Next, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your eligibility. If you experience any other health conditions, it may interfere, so be sure to ask your doctor if it’s right for you.