Top 20 Vitamin B3 Foods To Include In Your Diet

Include In Your Diet

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If you are troubled by high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, you need to get your vitamin B3 levels checked. You may have a question in your mind regarding vitamin B3 functioning. Read to know the importance of Vitamin B3 and its best food sources.


Vitamin B3 is available in three forms- nicotinic acid, niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate. Niacinamide, also known as niacin is an enzyme that is essential for the conversion of dietary protein, carbohydrates and fats into energy. It is also used to synthesize starch so that it can be stored in the muscles and liver for using energy. It also protects our body from tissue damage.

Vitamin B3 Importance and its Functions:

Vitamin B3 or niacin is one of the most important B-vitamins needed by the body for several functions that it performs for your health.

  • Reverses Risk of Heart Diseases: Significant levels of niacin in the body can help lower triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein in the blood. It also improves the levels of high-density lipoprotein significantly. This, in turn, can reverse the risk of heart diseases. It also prevents the buildup of plaque in the arteries
  • Prevents the Onset of Diabetes: Niacin is required to prevent the onset of type two diabetes. Diabetes in most of the times, caused because of autoimmune response. The body attacks the insulin making cells in the pancreases, preventing the body from producing insulin. Niacin blocks the immune factors from destroying the insulin releasing cells. It also improves insulin sensitivity and production.
  • Improves Joint Mobility: Niacin can help people suffering from arthritis and osteoarthritis greatly. Taking 200 milligrams of niacin daily can show marked improvement in your joint mobility.
  • Treats Migraine: Sufficient levels of niacin in the body can also prevent migraine. The dilating effects of this nutrient stabilize the over-constricting cycle of cerebral blood vessels, treating migraine.
  • Reduces Cancer Risks: Proper niacin levels can also reduce the risk of cancer. It ensures the integrity and maintenance of DNA by regulating tumor suppressor gene p53.
  • Slows Down AIDS Progression: Niacin also slows the progression of AIDS and increases the chances of survival.

Vitamin B3 Deficiency:

People who eat high amounts of refined foods like white bread and rice, corn syrup and other refined foods are most likely to be deficient in vitamin B3. In addition, people with a weak immune system are also susceptible to be deficient in niacin. A deficiency in niacin can lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion and stomach disorder
  • Pellagra
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rough and scaly skin
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Dementia
  • Delirium

Thus, there is a need to overcome the deficiency of vitamin B3 and get adequate requirement by incorporating niacin rich foods in your diet.

Vitamin B3 Overdose:

Since niacin is a water-soluble vitamin, the chances of taking it in overdoses is rare. An overdose of niacin occurs only when taken in the form of supplements. Vitamin B3 or niacin supplements should not be consumed without consulting your physician. Also, avoid taking supplements in large doses as it can lead to significant side effects in the body. Taking more than 75 milligrams of niacin supplements can cause blood-vessels dilation, leading to tingling, itching and flushing of the face and neck. This condition is known as niacin flush. Increase the doses gradually to minimize this problem. You can also take aspirin to reduce the flushing.

A long-term overdose can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, type 2 diabetes and increased risk of birth defects. Excess levels of niacin can lead to side effects like liver damage, diabetes, gastritis and elevated blood urea levels in the body.

Recommended Daily Allowance:

The recommended daily allowance of niacin is as follows:

  • 6 milligrams for kids aged 1 to 3 years
  • 12 milligrams for kids aged 9 to 13 years
  • 16 milligrams for men
  • 14 milligrams for women
  • 18 milligrams for pregnant women
  • 16 milligrams for lactating women
  • Mother’s milk contains around 7 milligrams of niacin, which is enough for the infants.

Top 20 Vitamin B3 Food Sources:

Some of the best sources of niacin include:

1. Fish:

Fish is considered to be one of the best sources of vitamin B3. Among the fish, tuna is exceptionally high in vitamin B3, providing 22.1 mg or 110% of the daily value (DV) of this vitamin in a 100 grams serving. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Thus, consuming it on a regular basis will prevent you from deficiency. Other varieties of fish that contain vitamin B3 include skipjack tuna (80% DV), mackerel and bluefin tuna (45% DV), wild salmon (43% DV), swordfish (39% DV), farmed salmon and halibut (34% DV each) in a 3 oz serving.

2. Chicken and Turkey:

Chicken and turkey are extremely popular foods and the good news is that they are amazing sources of niacin as well. A serving of 100 grams cooked chicken breast provides 14.8 mg or 74% DV of vitamin B3. Turkey is easily available and is widely used in sandwiches. However, to avoid unwanted nitrates and sodium found in deli meats, it is advisable to go for roasted turkey breast. Roasted light turkey meat contributes nearly 50% DV of vitamin B3 in a 3 oz. serving.

3. Pork:

Pork is one of the most widely consumed meats after chicken and beef, but it has a higher content of vitamin B3 when compared to both. A serving of 100 grams cooked lean pork chops contains 10.9 mg niacin contributing 54%DV. Other pork items that are good sources of vitamin B3 include lean mince and sirloin providing 44% and 35% DV of vitamin B3 respectively in 3 oz. serving each. You can have pork few times in a week, but always opt for lean cuts to keep the fat content to the minimum.

4. Beef:

Beef is another great source of vitamin B3 providing 9 mg or 45% DV in a 100 grams serving of cooked lean rib. Other beef cuts that are good sources of niacin include lean sirloin steak (38% DV), beef fillet (37% DV) and tenderloin (36% DV) in a 3 oz. serving.

5. Fresh Green Peas:

Vegetarians need not worry about their vitamin B3 intake as there are plenty of vegetarian foods rich in this vitamin, green peas being one of them. A serving of 100 grams fresh green peas provides 2.1 mg or 10% DV of niacin. Similarly a cup of cooked frozen peas and canned peas contribute 12% and 8% DV of niacin respectively. They are also good sources of protein. Besides, they are quite versatile and can be added to any recipe to boost your vitamin B3 levels.

6. Sunflower Seeds:

Sunflower seeds are known for their variety of nutrients and vitamin B3 is no exception. A 100 grams serving of sunflower seeds provides you with 8.3 mg or 42% DV of vitamin B3. They are also a rich source of vitamin E and other B complex vitamins like folic acid, thiamine (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Apart from these, they contain polyunsaturated fatty acid linoleic acid and monounsaturated acid oleic acid as well as amino acid tryptophan. So these seeds deserve to be included in your diet. Other seeds also contain vitamin B3 such as chia seeds (12%DV), sesame seeds (8% DV) and pumpkin and squash seeds (7% DV) in an ounce serving.

7. Mushrooms:

All types of mushrooms are rich in vitamin B3. Shiitake mushrooms are the best with 100 grams serving providing 14.1 mg or 71% DV of niacin. They also possess anti-cancer properties. A 100 grams serving of grilled Portobello provides 6.3 mg or 31% DV of vitamin B3. Other mushrooms that contain significant amounts of niacin include cooked white mushroom (35% DV), raw oyster (21% DV), raw brown mushroom (14% DV) and raw chanterelle (11% DV).

8. Avocado:

Among the fruits, avocado is a good source of vitamin B3. A single avocado provides 3.5 mg or 17% DV of niacin. However, it should be consumed in moderation as it is also high in calories. Just half an avocado contains 160 calories.

9. Peanuts:

These crunchy legumes can greatly help in fulfilling your vitamin B3 requirements. A serving of 100 grams peanuts roasted in oil provides 13.8 mg or 69% DV of vitamin B3. They are also high in calories with an ounce serving containing 168 calories. Peanut butter is equally beneficial in terms of vitamin B3 if it contains peanuts as the sole ingredient.

10. Liver:

Organ meats score high in terms of their nutritional value and vitamin B3 is one of them. Liver is an excellent source with a single cooked lamb liver providing a whopping 53.7 mg or 269% DV of niacin. Other livers that are high in niacin include beef (75% DV), veal (61% DV), chicken (57% DV) and (pork 36% DV).

11. Bacon:

All kinds of red meats contain high levels or niacin and protein that provide the right fuel balance to an active body. Bacon is not usually considered healthy due to its high fat, cholesterol and calorie content. However, a serving of bacon once or twice a week can help you meet the daily value of niacin quite easily. Make sure you eat bacon in moderation, especially if you are on a weight loss diet. A 100 grams serving of bacon provides you with 11 milligrams of niacin and 476 calories.

12. Broccoli:

Broccoli is one of the best natural sources of niacin. One serving of cooked or steamed broccoli can provide you with 1 milligram of niacin and just 34 calories. Besides providing the body with sufficient amounts of niacin, broccoli also provides several other benefits that can contribute to optimal well-being. It helps you get protein, fiber, antioxidants and a host of other nutrients.

13. Veal:

A diet rich in protein will surely provide enough niacin for your daily needs. Veal is one of the best food sources of niacin. The niacin content in veal varies according to its cuts. A daily serving of veal can help you meet two thirds of the daily-recommended allowance of niacin.

14. Organ Meat:

The nutritional content in organ meats makes it hard to overlook them, in spite of being the least favorite of the majority of people. Organ meats of most of the animals are excellent sources of essential nutrients and minerals, niacin being one of them. Almost all the organ meats are a good source of niacin, with most of them providing more than 10 milligrams per 100 gram servings.

15. Asparagus:

Asparagus is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can add to your plate. It is a good source of niacin too, with one serving providing 1 milligram of niacin and just 20 calories. Add asparagus to the meat like chicken or beef to increase their nutritional value. You can also prepare asparagus as a main dish.


The biggest benefit of caffeine is that it contains all the niacin that you require for a day. 1 cup of coffee contains around 40 milligrams and 1 calorie. Coffee can also help reduce triglyceride levels when taken with minimal sugar and in moderation. However, high caffeine content can have detrimental effects on the body. So, consume coffee in moderation.

17.Kidney Beans:

Kidney beans might not be the best source of niacin, but can contribute at least some amount of this rare nutrient to your body. A 100 grams serving contains 2 milligrams of niacin and 127 calories. Kidney beans are extremely versatile. You can use them as a side or main dish or can integrate in a chili soup.


Tahini, also known as sesame butter, is a great source of protein and other essential nutrients including niacin. Use tahini sparingly as they are high in calories and can increase your recommended caloric intake considerably. A 100 grams serving of tahini provides 7 milligrams of niacin and 600 calories.


Most of the cereals these days come fortified with several essential vitamins and minerals, including niacin. A 100 grams serving of cereals can provide you with 30 to 58 milligrams of niacin. The high fiber content in cereals will keep you full until lunchtime, reducing junk food cravings. Make sure you choose cereals with less sugar content to avoid consuming too many calories. Other whole grains rich in niacin include wheat bran, pearled barley and long grained brown rice. It is better to obtain niacin from the natural sources as much as possible.

20.Bell Peppers:

Bell peppers are not high in niacin, but can help you reach the daily level to a great extent. Bell peppers go well with most of the dishes, so you can incorporate it in any meal you want to. 100 grams of bell peppers contain 1 milligram of niacin and 20 calories. Bell peppers can also increase the bulk and satiety levels in the meal, helping to reduce the lipid levels.

Did you know that niacin vitamin holds such an importance in body functioning? Hope you got the best insights through this article. Are these foods present in your regular menu? Do not forget to share your valuable comments with us.

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