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Niacin: What You Should Know

Sources, Benefits, Forms, Dosage 

What is Niacin?

Niacin is one of the thirteen essential vitamins, and also one of the eight B vitamins, Vitamin B3. Essential vitamins need to be present in the diet because the human body cannot make the nutrients on its own, or in sufficient amounts to sustain normal and healthy bodily functions.1 Niacin is considered an essential vitamin due to its many physiological health benefits, and along with being essential it is also water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored in the liver or fatty-tissue like with fat-soluble vitamins.1 Since water-soluble vitamins are easily flushed out of the body it is uncommon to develop toxic side effects.

Benefits of Niacin – There are many 

Niacin is needed to convert food, such as protein, carbohydrates, and fats into energy, and it also contributes to hormone production, circulation, inflammation limitation, and cholesterol levels.2 High amounts of niacin lower LDL cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol, however, consuming in amounts as high as 2 – 4 grams a day, can result in unpleasant side effects such as flushing skin.1,2 In addition to benefiting cholesterol levels, niacin also plays a role in cellular health by replicating, maintaining, and repairing DNA.1

The different forms of Niacin

Niacin is found in the forms niacin or nicotinic acid and nicotinamide/niacinamide.1 Both forms are easily absorbed and are both present in dietary sources and nutrition supplements.3,4 The body is capable of making niacin from the essential amino acid, tryptophan, however the bioavailability of niacin synthesized from tryptophan is not equal. For every 60 mg of tryptophan results in 1 mg of nicotinamide which is 1 niacin equivalent.1,5 The niacin equivalent (NE) unit of measurement is used to calculate the complete niacin content, between niacin and tryptophan.1


The video below explains more about niacin and why it is so important.

Sources of Niacin – From food and nutrition supplements

Dietary sources rich in protein are good sources of niacin.6 Food sources include beef, poultry, fish, peanuts, peanut butter and fortified cereals.1,6 Animal sources of niacin are more bioavailable than grain sources, because the niacin in grains are attached to certain proteins that make it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrient.1,3,4 Niacin is a stable vitamin and the nutrient value is preserved even when exposed to high cooking heat and light.1 In nutrition supplements, niacin is usually found as nicotinamide, and it is also found as nicotinic acid.3

Recommended daily dose of Niacin – What physicians advise

The recommended daily dose for nutrients is unique to a person’s age, gender, and other personal factors. Since niacin and niacin from tryptophan are not equally absorbable the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is expressed in milligrams of niacin equivalents (NE). The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) established a RDA for niacin as a reference to meet the needs of healthy individuals. For infants the RDA has not been established, but an adequate intake (AI) level of 2 – 3 mg NE has been set as a guideline for nutritional adequacy. The RDA of niacin for healthy adults is 16 mg/day NE for men and 14 mg/day NE for women.

Niacin intake can alter the nutrient’s bioavailability. When niacin intakes are low that is when the vitamin is most bioavailable as opposed to when intakes are high the absorption process for this nutrient is much slower.1

Recommended Dietary Allowance
(RDA) Niacin
Infants (0 – 12 months) 2 – 3 mg/day NE AI
Children (1 -8 years) 6 – 8 mg/day NE
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 12 – 16 mg/day NE
Adults (19+ years) 14 – 16 mg/day NE
Pregnant and Lactating Women 18 – 17 mg/day NE

Table 1: Daily Niacin Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) to Meet the Needs of Healthy Individuals4

Most individuals within the United States consume adequate amounts of niacin, however, certain populations may need to be more mindful when evaluating their niacin needs. With any particular medication or health condition it is always best to consult with your primary healthcare provider before taking the Healthycell® products or any nutrition supplement.

Niacin Toxicity?

Niacin derived from dietary sources has been unknown to produce toxic adverse effects, but can be toxic when consumed in large doses from nutrition supplements.3,4 To prevent any unpleasant side effects a maximum level that may cause an adverse event, also known as a tolerable upper intake level (UL) has been established. A UL of 35 mg/day has been set for adults, both men and women to prevent flushing of the skin.4 However, toxic effects are generally seen when consuming excessively large doses, such as 500 mg or more per day.3 Consuming doses of niacin this large can result in a number of unpleasant and harmful events. Less severe side effects include flushing and tingling skin, which can escalate to gastrointestinal issues, stomach ulcers, gout, and liver damage.1,2,4,6

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of Niacin
Infants (0 – 12 months)
Children (1 -8 years) 10 – 15 mg/day
Adolescents (9 – 18 years) 20 – 30 mg/day
Adults (19+ years) 35 mg/day

Table 2: Daily Niacin Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)3,4

Niacin deficiency, symptoms, and people at risk

Niacin deficiency has become rare within the United States because most diets consist of adequate amounts of protein, more specifically, tryptophan, to synthesize niacin.4 Deficiency was more common when corn was used as a major and predominant food source as it low in both niacin and tryptophan.5 Even though deficiency is rare in the US, it is more commonly seen in developing countries, poverty, malnourished individuals, and also those suffering from certain cancers and alcoholism.2,4

Niacin deficiency results in the disease pellagra which is characterized with symptoms of severe dermatitis, dementia, and if left untreated death.1,3,4 Other symptoms seen with pellagra are gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea, and neurological issues.5

Niacin in Healthycell® Pro – Only the best form

The dosage of niacin, Vitamin B3 in Healthycell® Pro is 23 mg in the morning formula and 23 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 46 mg, satisfying 230% of the Daily Value (%DV).

The source of niacin found in Healthycell® is niacinamide. The dosage of niacin in Healthycell® is also 23 mg in the morning formula and 23 mg in the evening formula, for a daily dose of 46 mg, satisfying 230% of the Daily Value (%DV). Nutrition supplement labeling and food labeling guidelines use Reference Daily Intake (RDI) as the standard for dosage. Even though the Healthycell® Pro and Healthycell dose of niacin slightly exceeds the recommended UL of 35 mg, it is still considered a safe dose. The 35 mg UL is recommended to prevent the side effect of flushing skin.


1. McGuire, Michelle, PhD, and Kathy Beerman A., PhD. “Chapter 10 Water-Soluble

Vitamins.” Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food. 2nd ed. Australia:

Thomson/Wadsworth, 2007. 452-454. Print.

2. Ehrlich, Steven, NMD. “Vitamin B3 (Niacin).” University of Maryland Medical Center.

University of Maryland, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

3. Higdon, Jane, PhD, Victoria Drake, PhD, and Barbara Delage, PhD. “Niacin.”

Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University,

22 Aug. 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

4. Brasaemle, Dawn, PhD. “Thiamin Niacin Riboflavin Lecture.” Rutgers University –

Niacin. New Brunswick. 2015. Lecture

5. Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of

Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline.

Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin

B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press

(US); 1998. 6, Niacin. Available from:

6. Marcason, Wendy, RDN. “What Are B-Vitamins and Folate?” Ear Right. Academy of

Nutrition and Dietetics, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

7. “Your Organic Source for Energy.” Orgen-B® | Organic B Vitamins | Orgen® Family.

N.p., n.d. Web. 21 June 2017.