Symptoms Vitamin B3 Deficiency?



Vitamin B3 is also called niacin. This substance is important for the energy supply of the body and also for the production of fatty acids. Your body can make vitamin B3 itself from the substance tryptophan (1).

Niacin comes in two different parts:

Nicotinic acid: a substance that can lower your cholesterol level and even prevent cardiovascular disease.

Niacinamide: a substance that is actually better for the skin and can help treat psoriasis (2).

Vitamin B3 is found in various vegetables, fruits, grains and animal products. In addition, the body can also make it itself with the help of the substance tryptophan.

A deficiency of vitamin B3 is therefore uncommon. However, there are a number of risk groups who have a greater chance of getting niacin deficiency.

People with a higher risk of obtaining an vitamin B3 deficiency are:

  • Those who mainly eat corn instead of grains,
  • Patients with an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa,
  • People with too little vitamin B2, B6 and iron in their body,
  • Persons with Hartnup disease,
  • Patients with the carcinoid syndrome.

A shortage of vitamin B3 can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it may be wise to consult a physician.


Niacin helps to protect the skin from the sun's harmful rays. In addition, it is claimed that vitamin B3 can even help prevent certain types of skin cancer (3).

When you are deficient in niacin, this protection is lost, which increases the risk of skin discoloration and less protection against skin cancer (4).

In short: a niacin deficiency can cause skin discolouration and may also offer less protection against skin cancer.


Vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to pellagra. This is an umbrella term for various psychological and physical complaints that, if left untreated, can lead to significant consequences.

However, when you get enough niacin and / or possibly use supplements, you can easily counteract this symptom (5).

In short: a vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to pellagra, but fortunately this can be prevented through nutrition or supplements.


Several studies have shown that niacin can help reduce inflammation in the bones and joints (6).

While more research is needed to fully confirm these claims, a niacin deficiency may cause inflammation to continue in patients.

In short: Niacin helps reduce inflammation in the bones and joints. A shortage can quickly lead to more complaints.


Vitamin B3 plays a big role in the health and functioning of your brain. Your brain needs this substance to get energy.

Research has shown that several mental illnesses and symptoms are associated with a vitamin B3 deficiency (7).

In short: a vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to more mental complaints.


Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks cells that make insulin. Niacin is a substance that ensures that these cells remain better protected, so that people have a smaller chance of developing type 1 diabetes and, if they already have it, can reduce the symptoms (8).

When your body has too little niacin, it lacks protection, which can lead to more symptoms related to diabetes.

In short: a shortage of niacin prevents the cells that produce insulin from being better protected, so that you can get more symptoms with type 1 diabetes.


Vitamin B3 affects the health of your heart in several ways. First of all, it helps to keep your cholesterol in check, but it also has an antioxidant function that fights oxidative damage (1).

When you have too little vitamin B3 in your body, it lacks protection, causing more oxidative damage in your heart, which can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

In short: a vitamin B3 deficiency can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because the substance can no longer counteract oxidative damage


The substance nicotinic acid from niacin can help keep your cholesterol levels in check. You have two main types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL sticks to your blood vessels while HDL ensures that your liver can remove the bad substances (9).

Niacin can cause the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood to decrease, while it increases HDL cholesterol. A shortage of this substance ensures that a lot of LDL cholesterol remains in your body, which in turn sticks to your blood vessels (10).

In short: a niacin deficiency can cause too much LDL cholesterol to remain in your body, which can stick to your arteries.


Triglycerides are the substances that make up the fat in your food. They are used by your body as a source of energy when needed. However, triglycerides also contribute to the calcification of your arteries (1).

Vitamin B3 usually causes triglyceride production to decrease, which means that you have a lower chance of calcification of your arteries. When you are deficient in vitamin B3, more triglycerides are produced, which can lead to more calcification (10).

In short: vitamin ensures that more triglycerides can be produced in your body.

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