Let’s Learn About Vitamin B3…

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*For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take a look at the essential vitamins for our health. We’ll look at the what, where, when, who and how much. Please remember that this blog is providing general information. If you are questioning whether you need to take a vitamin(s) supplement, please speak to a health professional such as your family doctor, pharmacist or registered dietitian.*

The next up in the series of vitamin blogs is…vitamin B3.

What is it and what does it do?
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It helps the body cells use fat, protein and carbohydrates from foods to produce energy. Vitamin B3 helps over 200 enzymes (natural chemicals in the body) to function normally in your body by helping your body use other B vitamins, and make DNA.

Where do we get it?
According to Dietitians of Canada, meat and alternatives are the richest sources of vitamin B3 (niacin), followed by fortified enriched grains. The top 5 food sources are: anchovies (canned), tuna (canned or cooked), salmon (canned or cooked), liver (beef, chicken, pork or turkey) and chicken (various cuts).

Who and How Much?
Vitamin B3 (niacin):
• Men, 19 and older, should aim for an intake of 16 Niacin Equivalents (NE)/day.
• Women, 19 and older, should aim for an intake of 14 Niacin Equivalents (NE)/day.
• Pregnant women, 19 and older, should aim for an intake of 18 Niacin Equivalents (NE)/day.
• Breastfeeding women, 19 and older, should aim for an intake of 17 Niacin Equivalents (NE)/day.
It is recommended that everyone stay below 35 Niacin Equivalents (NE)/day of vitamin B3 (niacin).

When?
Water-soluble vitamins travel through the body, and excess amounts are usually excreted by the kidneys. The body needs these vitamins in frequent, small doses. Eating a balanced diet, according to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide usually provides enough water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin B3 (niacin).

Before taking any supplement, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider or Registered Dietitian to discuss your individual needs.

For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take a look at these essential vitamins for our health in greater detail. If you have any questions on a specific vitamin or vitamins in general, let me know.

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!