Niacin, one of the B vitamins (specifically B-3), has several anti-aging properties. One visible way it helps you as you age is by increasing your skin's ability to retain moisture -- an ability it loses over time. Moist skin not only looks healthier, it actually helps you stay healthier by providing a strong, unbroken barrier against viruses, bacteria and other antigens.
Dry skin not only can be sensitive, itchy and scaly looking, but it can also lead to further problems as the cracks between "scales" become chinks in your aging body's armor. In addition to restoring moisture to your skin, niacin also acts like an exfoliant, helping your skin in sloughing off dead cells as newer cells move toward the surface. Dry skin can also be a result of niacin deficiency.
Niacin counteracts the effects of aging inside your skin as well. It raises your "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, or HDL) and also lowers triglycerides (fats in your blood that contribute to your overall cholesterol count). In doing so, niacin lowers your risk and rate of atherosclerosis, the hardening of your artery walls that leads to heart attack and stroke. Niacin also plays a major role in converting food into energy.
One study showed that one-fourth of all seniors don't get enough niacin, and that number doubles for minorities and people living at or below poverty levels [source: Chernoff].
Keep reading to learn about a popular choice when it comes to anti-aging vitamins: Vitamin A.