Vitamin Atlas

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Niacin's function is similar to riboflavin's: it helps remove electrons during the breakdown of carbs, fats, and proteins so that your body can create energy. Niacin also helps make hormones, and it helps repair your DNA. Niacin was originally called Pellagra-Preventive Factor, or Vitamin PP, because a deficiency causes a skin disease called pellagra. It is a common additive in enriched white flour.

What Types of Food Have Niacin?

Niacin in the World: Mesoamerican Masa

Map

Click on the button to see how Vitamin B3 plays a role in your:

  • General Cellular Function

General Cell Function

How does your body turn the food you eat into the energy that powers you all day long? You break it down: First, the body turns carbohydrates into glucose and proteins into amino acids. The glucose and amino acids then enter your cells.

General Cellular Function

But your cells need to break down the glucose and amino acids even further. Vitamin B3 takes that next step, helping chop glucose and amino acids into smaller bits, until the parts are finally small enough to be turned into energy by mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.