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Top 40 Foods High In Niacin (Vitamin B3)

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Some foods high in niacin

When I studied biochemistry, I realized that B vitamins from foods were essential for our body to work properly.

And vitamin B3, also known as niacin or nicotinic acid, is no exception.

First, you’ll find the 40 foods that contain the highest amount of niacin.

Then, I explain why B vitamins are important and why you want to avoid deficiencies.

I also tell you how much niacin your body needs and how to make sure you get the recommended amount if you are a vegetarian.

40 foods high in niacin

Top 20 foods high in niacin

Top 20-40 foods high in niacin

Foods containing tryptophan can help increase niacin intake, as tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted by the body into niacin. These foods include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Note that niacin in grains is present in the bran of whole grains. This is why we need to eat grains in their whole state. The refining process will remove niacin. When you eat white pasta, rice, or corn you won’t get any vitamin B3.

Why B vitamins from foods are so important

All B vitamins help the body convert carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used to produce energy for all body processes as well as our daily activities.

B vitamins also help the body use fats and protein. They are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver, for hormone production, circulation, and for the nervous system to work properly.

According to research, symptoms of mild deficiency in niacin include indigestion, fatigue, vomiting, anxiety and depression. In fact, if you look at the biochemistry of our body, deficiencies will have many consequences at a cellular level, which can over time lead to diseases.

How much niacin do you need?

Below are the daily recommendations for niacin in the diet of healthy adults. Higher doses can be toxic over time and are usually used medically to control diseases.

Men 19 years and older: 16 mg (RDA)
Women 19 years and older: 14 mg (RDA)
Pregnant women: 18 mg (RDA)
Breastfeeding women: 17 mg (RDA)

You can perfectly get all the vitamin B3 that you need through diet.

But it is important to understand that all the B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they are not stored in your body, and that you need to consume them in your diet on a daily basis.

What if you are a vegetarian?

As most niacin is found in meat products and fish, you will need to make sure you eat foods that still contain vitamin B3 on a daily basis.

If you are a vegetarian, it is best to consume whole grains, mushrooms, nuts like almonds and legumes from the list above every day.

Then, as I said above, foods rich in tryptophan such as dairy products and eggs will also help you get enough niacin. Make sure you include them in your diet!

Sources:
USDA Database – http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/Bissett DL, Oblong JE, Berge CA, et al. Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance. Dermatol Surg. 2005;31:860-865; discussion 865.Brown BG, Zhao XQ, Chalt A, et al. Simvastatin and niacin, antioxidant vitamins, or the combination for the prevention of coronary disease. N Engl J Med. 2001;345(22):1583-1592.Cumming RG, Mitchell P, Smith W. Diet and cataract: the Blue Mountains Eye Study. Ophthalmology. 2000;107(3):450-456.
Draelos ZD, Ertel K, Berge C, et al. Niacinamide-containing facial moisturizer improves skin barrier and benefits subjects with rosacea. Cutis. 2005;76:135-141.
Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr, Hankinson SE, et al. Long-term nutrient intake and early age related nuclear lens opacities. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(7):1009-1019.
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4 Comments

  1. scott sheridan

    Have found this site very helpful. I am 52 and need a complete lifestyle change with diet. I have had three heart attacks, high blood pressure, I have four stents. Change in diet and exercise.

    Reply
    • Anne Ricci

      Thanks Scott! I wish you all the best on your healthy eating journey. Take it easy, you can do this!

      Reply
  2. Dave Covey

    I’m a diabetic and try my best to maintain a healthy diet to keep my sugar levels right and my diet consists of all the niacin rich foods you have listed. My problem is that I suffer severe calf muscle cramps after a short brisk walk, could this be caused by to much niacin in my diet ?

    Reply
    • Anne Guillot

      Hi Dave, no, I don’t think so. Muscle cramps are often linked to a lack of potassium or a lack of magnesium. For younger women it tends to be magnesium, for men and women over 60 it tends to primarily be a lack of potassium (this is my experience, not official stats). Here’s a list : http://www.anneshealthykitchen.com/top-50-foods-high-in-potassium/ Hope this helps. Anne

      Reply

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