Vitamin B3 - Niacin

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. Good sources of niacin include beef, pork, chicken, wheat flour, maize flour, eggs and milk.

How much do I need?

There are two forms of niacin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, and both are found in food. Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means you need it in your diet every day because it can't be stored in the body.

You should be able to get all the niacin you need from your daily diet. This is approximately:

  • 17 mg a day for men
  • 13 mg a day for women

What does it do?

Niacin has a number of important functions. For example it:

  • helps produce energy from the foods we eat
  • helps keep both the nervous and digestive system healthy

What happens if I take too much?

Taking high doses of nicotinic acid supplements can cause skin flushes. Taking high doses for a long time could lead to liver damage.

There isn't enough evidence to know what the effects might be of taking high doses of nicotinamide supplements each day.

What is our advice?

You should be able to get the amount you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take niacin supplements it's a good idea not to take too much because this might be harmful.

Taking 17 mg or less of nicotinic acid supplements a day, or taking 500 mg or less of nicotinamide supplements a day, is unlikely to cause any harm.