Dietary sources of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Dietary Sources and Daily Requirements

Daily Requirement of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of a nutrient defines how much different people should get every day. For Vitamin B3 (niacin), the RDA is:

  • 2 milligrams per day for infants 0-6 months old.
  • 4 milligrams per day for infants 7-12 months old.
  • 6 milligrams per day for children 1-3 years old.
  • 8 milligrams per day for children 4-8 years old.
  • 12 milligrams per dayfor children 9-13 years old.
  • 16 milligrams per day for males age 14 or older.
  • 14 milligrams per day for females age 14 or older.

Also, for many nutrients, the RDA is higher for women when they are pregnant or nursing. The RDA for vitamin B3 is increased to 18 milligrams per day during pregnancy, and 17 milligrams per day while breastfeeding.

Vitamin B3 deficiencies are not seen often in developed countries. Many flours are fortified with niacin, so most breads provide sufficient amounts of vitamin B3 for most people. However, if someone’s diet does not include enough protein, there is an increased risk of niacin deficiency. A niacin deficiency can result in a condition known as Pellagra. This disease generally results from chronic alcoholism, malnutrition, and in people who suffer from multiple nutritional deficiencies. Pellagra is also frequently seen in poor regions where nutritional deficiencies are common.

The RDA values are established by the National Academy of Sciences.

Good Dietary Sources of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 (niacin) can be obtained from a wide variety of dietary sources. It can be found in significant amounts in meat, vegetable, dairy, nuts, and vegetable sources. Very tiny amounts of vitamin B3 are created in the body by converting the amino acid tryptophan into niacin.  However, the amount created is generally too small to be meaningful.

As a water soluble, B vitamin, you need to make sure that you that you get an adequate amount  of vitamin B3 in your diet every day. Consume a mix of the following foods which are good dietary sources of niacin to ensure that you enjoy all the health benefits of vitamin B3.

Meats
  • High protein meats that are lean and white are good sources of niacin. This includes poultry, veal, and lean pork.
  • Beef and beef liver are also good meat sources of vitamin B3.
Lean meats are a good dietary source of vitamin B3 (niacin).

Lean, white meats are good dietary sources of vitamin B3 (niacin).

Fish
  • Many fish contain large amounts of niacin.
  • Some of the best fish sources of vitamin B3 include halibut, swordfish, and salmon.
Fortified Grains
  • Fortified whole-grain foods generally contain very large amounts of added niacin.
  • Look for cereals, breads, and other baked goods enriched with vitamin B3 for a convenient source.
  • Brewer’s yeast is an excellent source of niacin, as well.
Fruits and Vegetables
  • A variety of vegetables are good dietary sources of vitamin B3. Eating broccoli, beets, corn, sweet potatoes, and carrots can give you a quick boost of niacin.
  • You can also get vitamin B3 from some fruits. A few of the best fruit sources are dates, peaches, and mangoes.
Nuts and Legumes
  • Legumes and nuts are good sources of vitamin B3. Peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, and almond butter are a good way to get niacin.
  • Sunflower seeds also provide niacin.
Dairy
  • Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt also have some vitamin B3.
Herbs
  • There are actually a number of  herbs that are also good sources of niacin. Some of the best herb sources are alfalfa, cayenne pepper, fennel seed, licorice, paprika, parsley, peppermint, red clover, and tarragon.
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