Many who like to practice natural health remedies will attest to the success of using this vitamin especially when they suffer from aches and pains and particularly as they age. It also helps protect against cardiovascular disease while supporting cognitive function, the nervous system and the digestive tract.
So what is this vitamin that you should be ensuring is included in your daily diet?
It is Niacin
and an important B vitamin and nutrient found in animal foods like red meat, liver and fish as well as plant foods like beans, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, leafy green vegetable and especially crimini mushrooms. For the optimum nutritional benefit from vegetables, eat them raw or lightly steamed. Salmon and tuna are especially high in niacin, but be careful with consumption of these fish because they can contain high levels of mercury and other pollutants too. Check your sources and if you are unsure, only eat salmon and tuna two to three times per week at most to avoid any ill effects. Coffee also contains high levels of niacin but I imagine it would need to be freshly brewed organic coffee.
Niacin is water soluble which means that your body safely excretes excess niacin in your urine, rather than storing it. But the downside is that you need a steady daily supply of niacin to ensure that you don't suffer from niacin deficiency. You can meet all your body's need for B3 through diet but If you are not, you might well need to supplement. Alcoholism can often lead to a serious vitamin B3 deficiency while smoking and medication can both affect vitamin status.
A blood test is the definitive way of picking up a deficiency as vitamin deficiencies can go unnoticed for many years until illness develops
Niacin also helps your body make new DNA, to use insulin efficiently to control blood sugar levels and to process fats. Quite a tall order for one vitamin.
In addition, because niacin has the tendency to vasodilate blood vessels and clean out debris from inside them, as well as arteries, many people have experienced positive outcomes with pain. Sometimes the pain or other symptoms will come back if niacin is completely abandoned and the root cause is not addressed in any other way. Niacin also helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body, while helping improve circulation.
There are two types of niacin which you should know about
which is also called crystalline niacin or just niacin. This is the original niacin that releases within minutes of ingestion but because it releases rapidly, it triggers the most intense "hot flush." While this form of niacin works wonderfully well, is the safest and very inexpensive, many people are simply are unable to tolerate the flushes. Start with a smaller dose of some 100 mg of it three times day. This is not really enough to get the job done but it can get you used to the flush so that in time, you can increase to 250 or 500 mg three times day. Always discuss with your doctor if you have concerns.
6-hour release niacin
which releases niacin more slowly than immediate-release niacin but is nearly as effective with approximately the same low potential for liver toxicity, offering the best balance between effectiveness and safety. Although there are costly pharmaceutical preparations such as Niaspan ($180 per month), also available is Sloniacin and Enduracin costing just a few dollars a month for 1000 mg per day.
When taking an extra B supplement, be aware that this can result in an imbalance of the other types of B vitamins.