Vitamin B3 (Nicotinic Acid, Niacin)


Vitamin B3, C₆H₅NO₂, also known as Niacin, is one of the eight among the Vitamin B complex. It is necessary for the well-being of the human body, as it partakes in transforming food into energy. Moreover, Vitamin B3 helps keep the nervous system healthy and is an essential compound of skincare products.

Vitamin B3 is produced by the human organism, however, due to its water-solubility feature, it can not be stored, and it’s essential to provide a sufficient intake of it.

Vitamin B3 (niacin) may appear in two forms – acidic (as nicotinic acid) and active (as nicotinamide). The first form is more stable, and this is also the form we offer.


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Vitamin B3 (Niacin, nicotinic acid) – Product overview

Vitamin B3 is one of the eight from the vitamin B complex, and it plays an essential role in the human body, helping with the nervous system, skin, hair, or essential processess.

What’s improtant, however, there are various names for vitamin B3, so it’s essential to clarify what refers to which. Another name for vitamin B3 is niacin. However, niacin is also a term that stands for a compound nicotinic acid, and multiple compounds related to nicotinic acid. Among them, there is nicotinamide.

Nicotinic acid, C₆H₅NO₂, is the stable, acidic, form of vitamin B3. It’s used to store and transport vitamin B3. Whereas, nicotinamide, C6H6N2O, is the active, form of vitamin B3, and there are various applications to both. For example, nicotinic acid is used to treat high cholesterol, and nicotinamide helps with arthritis and pellagra.

Additionally, both, niacin and nicotinamide can transform into each in the human organism.

What is the relationship between Vitamin B3 and pellagra?

Nicotinamide is also called “vitamin PP”, which is derived from the original English name “Pellagra-Preventing factor” – it is the so-called anti-pellagra factor. Pellagra is a disease caused by vitamin PP deficiency, manifested by a characteristic erythema on the skin, digestive system disorders, weakness, aggression, and may even lead to death.

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Vitamin B3 health benefits

In the human body, vitamin B3 is essential for lots of life processes and general good health. It also contributes to maintaining proper energy metabolism (carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and cholesterol – can boost levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol). vitamin B3 also helps with:

  • the proper functioning of the nervous system
  • maintaining proper psychological functions
  • maintaining the proper condition of the mucous membranes
  • energy production – reduces the feeling of tiredness and fatigue
  • and helps keep your skin healthy

Can you get Vitamin B3 from food?

As mentioned before, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide are different forms of vitamin B3, however, they are both essential to the well functioning of the human body. They are both present in everyday foods, including:

  • fish (tuna, salmon) and meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
  • legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products – vegetables, and fruits
  • whole grains and dairy products.

In general, nicotinic acid is commonly present in plant-based food, whereas sources of nicotinamide are generally animal-based.

Moreover, nicotinic acid can be synthesized by the human body from tryptophan (essential amino acid) – 1 mg of niacin found with 60 mg of tryptophan. Therefore, it is recommended to take niacin with food, and in case of deficiencies, enrich the diet with appropriate supplementation.

pack of pills scattered on the table; niacin supplementation

Vitamin B3 in supplementation

Most people get enough vitamin B3 from their diet, but in the case of severe deficiencies, additional supplementation may be necessary.

In supplementation, the substance occurs in three forms, i.e.:

  • nicotinic acid
  • nicotinic acid amide (nicotinamide)
  • inositol hexanicotinate

Among those, nicotinic acid has the best bioavailability. This means that is absorbed to a greater extent and faster by the body, and when taken too much, it is transformed into nicotinamide.

Side effects of deficiency or excess of vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 deficiency can occur as a result of genetic disorders, malabsorption, and interactions with certain medications. Moreover, a deficiency of vitamin B3 may lead to pellagra, which, if not treated, can lead to death.

Pellagra can be reversible with niacin supplementation prescribed under the supervision of your doctor.

On the other hand, too much of an intake of vitamin B3 may also cause side effects, as presented below.

Symptoms of overdosage of vitamin B3:

  • headache, dizziness
  • stomach discomfort, diarrhea
  • bloating, “niacin flush”
  • skin on face, arms, and chest turn red, burn, tingle, and itch

Symptoms of shortage of vitamin B3:

  • thick, scaly pigmented rash on skin exposed to sunlight
  • swollen mouth and brightly red tongue
  • vomiting, diarrhea, headache, apathy, fatigue, depression
  • disorientation and memory loss

Skincare with vitamin B3

Nicotinamide can help improve the skin’s protective barrier by stimulating the synthesis of ceramides within the skin. Ceramides are important components of the skin and help maintain strong bonds between the cells to help strengthen the natural skin barrier. Vitamin B3 is recommended to address any skin type.

Vitamin B3 also reduces dark spots and boosts collagen production, which has a niacinamide derivative that helps retain moisture inside the skin.

skincare products, creams, lotion, and text: niacin is a compound of multiple skincare products

Niacin – safety information

When working with a chemical substance the highest safety standards should always be followed. However, if an accident happens while working with niacin, here’s what one should do:

  • After skin contact: take off contaminated clothing, and wash the skin with plenty of water with soap. In case of irritation, consult a dermatologist
  • After eye contact: Rinse eyes for at least 15 minutes with plenty of cool, running water, but avoid strong streams not to damage the cornea. Consult an ophthalmologist
  • After ingestion: Rinse mouth with water, then drink plenty of it. Do not induce vomiting. If necessary, consult a physician
  • After inhalation: Take the poisoned person out of the place of exposure to the fresh air. In case of breathing difficulties, obtain medical attention.

Nicotinic acid – Specification

INCI name: nicotinic acid
Identifier (CAS no.): 59-67-6
External appearance: white crystals
Molecular formula: C6H5NO2
Molecular weight: 123,11 g/mol


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