Vitamin B3 is found in grains, nuts, and meat. The body uses vitamin B3 to make energy from fats and carbs. Vitamin B3 has been used to improve heart health and lower cholesterol. It has also been used to improve symptoms of diabetes. It is also used to manage niacin deficiency. Vitamin B3 can be taken as a pill or powder. It can also be applied as a cream or oil and has been used to improve acne and signs of aging. It can also be injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.
14-16 milligrams for adults each day
What Research Shows
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to use vitamin B3 on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time, but face and body flushing is likely and stomach upset may also happen. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take large amounts of vitamin B3.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:
A. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
A1. Lavigne PM, Karas RH. The current state of niacin in cardiovascular disease prevention: a systematic review and meta-regression. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Jan 29;61(4):440-446.
A2. Schandelmaier S, Briel M, et al. Niacin for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;6:CD009744.
B. Coronary Artery Disease
B1. Duggal JK, Singh M, et al. Effect of niacin therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010;15(2):158-166.
C1. Ding Y, Li Y, et al. Effect of niacin on lipids and glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Clin Nutr. 2015;34(5):838-844.
D1. Prousky J, Seely D. The treatment of migraines and tension-type headaches with intravenous and oral niacin (nicotinic acid): systematic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2005 Jan 26;4:3.
E. New Onset Diabetes
E1. Goldie C, Taylor AJ, et al. Niacin therapy and the risk of new-onset diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Heart. 2016 Feb;102(3):198-203.
F1. Jonas WB, Rapoza CP, et al. The effect of niacinamide on osteoarthritis: a pilot study. Inflamm Res. 1996;45(7):330-334.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 3/26/2020
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