Niacin is an essential nutrient for lower blood pressure and even help treat type 1 diabetes.

Among the essential nutrients, your body needs is Niacin Flush, also known as Vitamin B3. It is important for the proper functioning of your body. Moreover, you can get it in the form of supplements that you can purchase. However, what exactly is it? What are some of the side effects, and how do you know whether you should use it or not?

What is Niacin?

This is among the B vitamins known as Vit B3, and it helps treat high cholesterol levels. It is available in two main chemical forms; nicotinic acid and niacinamide.You can obtain it either from foods or in the form of supplements. Also, taking proteins like turkey or other animal sources, gets you amino acid tryptophan, which your body can use to manufacture small amounts of niacin flush.

Besides, since it is water-soluble, it is not stored in your body. You can excrete the excess amounts through urine.

The food sources of niacin include;

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Legumes
  • Breakfast cereals

Niacin flush aids enzymes in the conversion of food into energy. It is also a component of the enzymes that aid in cellular metabolism; NAD and NADP. Other roles of this nutrient are aiding the making and repair of DNA and being an antioxidant.

The Amount You Need

Your age and gender are among the key factors determining the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of niacin. The following is a list of different age brackets and their RDA;

  • Infants; 0-6 months, should consume 2mg of niacin each day. Those between 7-12 months, on the other hand, should take 4mg niacin equivalents per day.
  • Children; ages 1-3 years should take 6mg niacin equivalents per day, 4-8 years should have 8mg niacin equivalents per day, while 9-13 years should consume 12mg niacin equivalents per day.
  • Adolescents and Adults; men who are 14years and above should take 16mg niacin equivalents per day, while women of the same age bracket should consume 14mg NE/ day. Moreover, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should take 18 and 17mg NE/day, respectively.

Niacin Deficiency

At times, the amount of this nutrient in your body might not be enough to perform its required functions. Ifyou are Vit B3 deficient, you might experience any of the following symptoms;

  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rash and other skin-related problems
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Memory loss

Notably, there are specific groups of individuals who are mostly at risk. Such include;

  • Individuals who have HIV/AIDS
  • Those who have liver disease
  • Alcohol abusers
  • Malnourished individuals

Moreover, those in poor countries are more at risk ofsevere cases of this deficiency. This is because such individuals lack varied diets. The good thing is, treatment can be administered, and this is done through supplementation of niacinamide.

Should You Have Niacin Supplement?

It is evident that each person requires this nutrient. However, despite most people being able to obtain it from their diet alone, others might need a supplement if the same. So, under what conditions might your doctor recommend you get a supplement? The following are examples;

  • When you are deficient in niacin
  • When you have a medical condition that requires you to have high amounts of niacin.
  • Those who are at risk of developing heart disease and high cholesterol levels but can’t consume statins.

Notably, when you take the supplementation, you will get higher doses of niacin than the one you receive from the food sources. However, since there may be side effects associated with the supplements, ensure you first consult your doctor before you start consuming niacin supplements.

Side Effects

If you consume niacin in any of the foods mentioned above, you are safe. However, if you opt for supplements, you might be in danger, especially when you consume high doses. You might experience any of the following side effects;

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Liver toxicity
  • Niacin Flush

Niacin flush is one of the popular side effects characterized by itchiness and a flush of red skin. The good thing is, it is harmless. Also, some become tolerant to high doses of niacin; hence, even when they have niacin flush, with time, it stops.

You can take up aspirin, a snack, or have an apple to prevent you from getting this side effect. You could also gradually start with your supplementation. Moreover, if you are concerned about niacin flush, it would be a good idea to talk to your health provider. This will allow you to know whether you should continue with the supplementation or not.

Other side effects of niacin include headache or low blood pressure. There are other adverse conditions such as damage to the liver.

Therefore, since consuming high doses of niacin can lead to other adverse conditions, you should avoid them when you havecertainhealth conditions. Also, if you are pregnant, you shouldn’t use it to prevent your baby from getting its defects.

Nonetheless, before you take any niacin supplements, ensure you talk to a healthcare professional you trust to help you know whether or not it is safe for you to use them.


Your body requires niacin to perform some vital functions. You can obtain this nutrient from the food you eat, such as poultry. However, when you are deficient in it, you might opt for the supplements, which it is advisable you first consult your trusted health professional. Additionally, when you obtain it from food sources, it is very safe. However, when from supplements, it could be dangerous since it can lead to side effects such as niacin flush, vomiting, and nausea. In extreme cases, it can damage your liver. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children should stay away from it.

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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