What is niacin?

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Niacin is a water-soluble substance that is needed by the body for various functions including the maintenance of a healthy skin, nerves, and digestive system. It is also referred to as nicotinic acid or Vitamin B3 and be sourced from milk and dairy products. It is also present other protein-rich food items such as chicken, eggs, fish, lean meat, and beans. Many dietary supplements also contain niacin along with other vitamins and minerals.

For people with cholesterol problems, many doctors prescribe niacin supplements for them. Studies have shown that niacin is an effective substance against cholesterol and triglycerides build-up in the blood. Triglycerides and cholesterol are substances that are associated with fatty foods and heart disease. Too much concentration of these substances is considered unhealthy and could lead to heart disease. Through niacin, the bad cholesterol called LDL or low-density lipoprotein along with triglycerides can be lowered to healthier levels. Another good thing about niacin supplements is that it promotes the formation of good cholesterol or HDL. With this effect, niacin is known to help prevent clogging and hardening in the arteries called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis will result if there is too much fat or cholesterol build-up in the arterial walls. This situation is referred to as arterial plaque and could lead to eventual blockage and heart disease. People with heart problems are typically prescribed with niacin supplements to improve their overall health.

Adult males require about 16mg of niacin per day while adult females need 14mg of this substance daily. Most people do not need niacin supplementation as dietary intake may be enough. Niacin deficiency is also very rare but could happen for those who are not eating properly. People taking niacin supplements are also given caution in terms of over dosage or overconsumption as it could lead to blood glucose problems and liver damage.

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