How Vitamin B3 Works

Vitamin B3 Deficiency

The first symptoms of pellagra are weakness, loss of appetite, and some digestive disturbances. As the deficiency disease progresses, the skin becomes rough and red in areas exposed to sunlight, heat, or irritation. Later, open sores, diarrhea, dementia, and delirium may develop. And finally, death results if the condition is left untreated.

As pellagra progress, skin exposed to the sunlight can become red and irritated.
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As pellagra progress, skin exposed to the sunlight can become red and irritated.
This disease, now rarely seen in the United States, is still common in parts of the world where corn is the major cereal grain. Corn is low in tryptophan, and the niacin it contains is difficult to absorb. In Latin American countries, they combine cornmeal with the mineral lime when making tortillas; the alkalinity of the lime frees the niacin so that it can be absorbed.

Vitamin B3 supplements are taken for a number of conditions, but the treatment is risky -- niacin supplements should not be taken unless you're under the supervision of a health care professional. Keep reading to learn more about Vitamin B3 supplements.

Niacin is just one of the many essential nutrients necessary for good health. Follow these links to learn more about the vitamins your body needs.
  • Vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin or cobalamin, is essential because it assists folate in making DNA and RNA. Read more in How Vitamin B12 Works.
  • Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is good for more than just easing the common cold. Learn more in How Vitamin C Works.
  • Vitamin D is necessary to hold of rickets, but if you get enough sunshine, your body can make its own vitamin D supply. Learn more in How Vitamin D Works.
  • In How Vitamin E Works, learn about this important antioxidant with far-reaching health benefits.
  • Vitamin K is important in allowing your blood to clot properly. Learn more in How Vitamin K Works.

  • To learn about the many vitamins in our diet, how much you should be eating, and where to find them, go to our general Vitamins page.
  • To find the best prices on B vitamin supplements, click here.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.