Niacin Foods

Top 20 Foods Rich in Niacin. Benefits, Deficiencies & Effects

Foods Rich In Niacin Even if the word “Niacin” doesn’t ring a bell, you would definitely know what vitamin B3 means. Niacin is a form of vitamin B3 which is one of the B vitamins. Niacin, like other B Vitamins plays vital roles in the proper functioning of the body system. VitaminB3 is an essential vitamin that the body needs for processing fat, lowering cholesterol levels, and regulating blood sugar levels. Niacin deficiency can cause pellagra, an illness that is characterized by diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, inflammation of the mouth, delirium, amnesia, and if left unattended to, death. A deficiency of this vital vitamin can cause poor concentration, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, apathy, and depression. Niacin offers many benefits to the health and it is an essential vitamin, meaning it is water soluble and easily digested, which means your body does not produce it on its own so you have to consume it daily in order to get adequate amount. Niacin can be gotten from foods, and these foods should be consumed daily so as to get enough niacin. Some people turn to supplements in some cases especially when a high dosage is needed for a certain illness.

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Foods that are rich in niacin

There foods that contain a high amount of niacin. It is important to include foods rich in this vitamin in your daily menu so that it will kick your Vit B3 levels up a notch or two because you want to make sure you’re getting the adequate amount so that you don’t have to rely on supplements. In many developed countries, the deficiency is not common because most foods produced are fortified with it. Below is a list of the top 20 niacin rich foods;

  • Chicken

Chicken VitaminsChicken is widely consumed in the developed countries and it is very rich in Niacin. This is why most Americans do not have problem getting enough of the vitamin. From serving of chicken, you get almost all you need for the day. So if you have chicken at one meal and another meat source of niacin on other meal, you should be getting all the amount you need. 100 grams of chicken supplies you7.8 milligrams of niacin and 172 calories.

  • Tuna

Good news if you are a regular consumer of tuna fish. It is very high in vitamin B3 compared to many other foods. Tuna is a good source of omega-3s as well as protein. There are raised concerns about the mercury content of this fish, so you may not want to rely on tuna only for niacin. 100 grams of Tuna supplies you 100grams niacin 5.8milligrams and 184 calories.

  • Broccoli

Broccoli Broccoli is a super food that can do almost anything. Although it doesn’t contain a whopping amount of niacin, it can contribute to the cumulative total you need for the day, and provides so many other benefits. Broccoli is a good food that can be consumed on a very regular basis. Each serving of broccoli would be giving you extra protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Per 100 grams, you will get 0.64 milligrams) of niacin and 34 calories.

  • Bacon

While bacon has a bad reputation for being extremely high in fat, calories, and cholesterol, it also contains a relatively high amount of niacin. So far you do not eat too much of bacon, then you are safe. Consider eating turkey bacon, since turkey provide you with a nice dose of niacin as well, and it will reduce the bad stuff bacon is known for. 100 grams of Bacon supplies you 11 milligrams of Niacin and 476 calories.

  • Green peas

Green peasGreen peas are another excellent source of vitamin B3. A cup of green peas will supply you with about 15% of the niacin you need for the day. Frozen green peas will give you 12% of your daily niacin needs and a cup of canned peas will give you about 8% only.

  • Veal

Different cuts of veal come with different amounts of niacin in them,but whichever cut you go for will be high in niacin. Just one serving of veal will supply you two thirds of your daily niacin recommendation. Although it may not become part of your daily diet, veal will help out when you do eat it. A 100 gram serving of veal gives you 9.42 milligrams of niacin and 172 calories.

  • Mushrooms

Mushrooms also supplies you niacin. One interesting thing about mushrooms is that the different types have their own benefits. Some kinds of mushrooms, like portabella, are popular for their texture and heartiness. Some others, like shiitake, are also becoming popular because of their anti-cancer benefits. 100 grams of mushroom supplies you 5mg of niacin and 38 calories.

  • Asparagus

Asparagus is a highly nutritious vegetable to include on your diet even if not daily, and can play a part in supplying your body a good amount of vitamin B3. You can use it as a supplement to other foods that are higher in niacin. Try serving asparagus next to a main meal that contains chicken or beef and it will help add a bit more niacin to your diet. It’s advisable not to rely on just one type of food for your vitamin needs, and you should eat a balanced diet so as to ensure you’re getting every nutrient your body needs. 100 grams of asparagus gives you 1 milligram of niacin and 20 calories.

  • Avocado

Avocado is very nutritious and it is a great source of niacin. One avocado will give you 17% of the recommended daily intake of niacin.

  • Bell Peppers

Bell PeppersAsides adding plenty of color to your plate, bell peppers supplies your body with this vital vitamin, although it is on the lower side. A lot of vegetables do not contain a lot of niacin, but in this instance the content of niacin in bell peppers rank high for a vegetable. Meaning that these vegetables serve to contribute to your overall niacin need for the day, and it is very easy to add them to your daily diet since they go well with so many dishes. A 100 grams of bell peppers contain 1 milligram of niacin and 20 calories.

  • Pork

Pork is the third most widely consumed meats. It comes behind chicken and beef, but its niacin content is higher than both of those. It is okay to include pork in your regular diet. 100 grams pork supplies you with 15 milligrams niacin and 179 calories.

  • Brown rice

A cup of brown rice will give you 19% of the daily recommended intake of niacin. White rice, due to the processes it has gone through will give you little to no niacin when it has been digested.

  • Peanuts

PeanutsGood news if you love eating peanuts, this means you won’t have any trouble getting your niacin needs met. Peanuts contain a great deal of vitamin B3, supplying you almost a full day’s supply of it in a 100 gram serving. As long as you are buying a brand that lists peanuts as the only ingredient, peanut butter supplies you the same numbers. A 100 grams serving of peanut supplies you 12 milligrams of niacin and 318 calories.

  • Organ Meats

Although some people run from organ meats, but the nutritional content proves that it is as viable food source. They are extremely high in several vitamins and minerals, and niacin is one of them. They supply 10mg per 100grams serving size and they also give you different calorie size varying in the animal.

  • Coffee

One good thing about coffee is it contains the amount of niacin you’ll need for the day. However, before you incorporate it into your daily diet, consider that only black coffee contains has low calorie count, and the caffeine it contains can be a problem for the body. Caffeine also has a dehydrating effect on the body system. A cup of caffeine supplies you 39.73 milligrams of niacin and 1 calorie.

  • Cereal

The cereals produced these days are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which includes niacin. However, a lot of brands out there seem to have gone too far in efforts to add nutrients to their products, since adult men and women require only about 15 milligrams per day, and a lot of cereals already provide far more than that. It is better to get your niacin from more natural sources than these.  100 grams of cereal supplies Niacin of 30-58 milligrams and calories vary.

  • Tahini/Sesame butter

Sesame butter Tahini or sesame butter is made from sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of protein and other vital nutrients, which includes niacin. You’ll however want to keep your portion sizes in check since tahini can increase your calorie count quickly, thereby putting you far over your recommended daily caloric intake. A 100 grams of tahini supplies you 6.7 milligrams of niacin and 595 calories.

  • Wild Game

You may not like wild game, but it is advisable to try to incorporate it into your diet. Depending on which animal you prefer, wild game is going to provide plenty of nutrition and it will give you niacin like conventional meats like chicken, beef, or pork do. It will also be free of antibiotics and chemicals that are being used on today’s livestock. 100grams of grams of wild game supplies you 10 milligrams of niacin or more and calories vary.

  • Turkey

Good news for all turkey lovers, it is high in niacin and it is readily available for consumption in developed countries. Turkey is so high in niacin that it almost covers your daily requirement in just one shot. A 100 grams of turkey gives you 11.75milligrams of Serving niacin and 1004 calories.

  • Kidney Beans

Kidney eans Kidney beans will help add to your niacin intake for the day. They are also very versatile because they can stand alone as a side dish or they can be added to your main dish… … you may even use them in a chili or soup. A 100 grams of kidney beans gives you 2 milligrams of niacin and 127 calories.

Benefits of Niacin

As mentioned earlier, vitamin B3 plays important roles in the body that is why you need to consume foods that are rich in it, because lack of it causes different ailments that may be life threatening. Benefits of this vitamin to the body includes;

  • Improves Cholesterol level

This vitamin is considered an important treatment option for reducing high cholesterol levels. It has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with mixed dyslipidemia. Studies report that supplementing with niacin is very beneficial for people who are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or other forms of heart ailments because of high LDL cholesterol levels low levels of HDL cholesterol and elevated triglyceride levels. Vitamin B3 can help boost the levels of good HDL cholesterol and then lower triglycerides. This vitamin can also lower bad LDL cholesterol. It is usually prescribed with statins for controlling cholesterol, such as Crestor, Lescol, or Lipitor.

  • Arthritis

A lot of research has reported excellent results in arthritic patients being treated with niacinamide. In the cases of moderate arthritis, excellent results have been gotten by taking 1,000 to 1,500 mg daily.In more severe cases, up to 3,000 mg to 4,000 mg have been recommended.

  • Weight loss

weightloss via niacinNiacin is important for you if you're trying to shred excess pounds, as it helps your body convert food to energy. However, avoid consuming too much of this vitamin because it is an appetite stimulant.

  • Skin Conditions

Niacinamide is now a common ingredient in skin care products like face creams, moisturizers, skin lotions, cleansers, serums, soaps and anti-aging products. It has been used for treatments of acne, facial redness, and rosacea. Deficiency in this vitamin can increase a person’s sensitivity to sunlight. Even minimal exposure to the sun can lead to severe itching and blistering. Taking as little as 200 mg of niacin a day can help the problem.

  • Insomnia

Vitamin B3 activates benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, and this affects sleep. Taking 50 mg to 1,000 mg of niacin at bedtime has helped many people sleep better and deeper.

  • Pellagra

Niacin (vitamin B3) and niacinamide have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of pellagra, a form of niacin deficiency. Pellagra is a disease which occurs when you do not have a sufficient amount of vitamin B3 or tryptophan, the chemical it is made from. Signs and symptoms of pellagra include. Diarrhea, skin disease, depression and dementia.

  • Proper Brain Function

Studies show that it can help prevent and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain disorders due to age that result in cognitive decline. Vitamin B3 niacin has also been linked with a decreased risk for many brain related problems including memory loss, motion sickness, insomnia, migraine headaches, chronic brain syndrome, depression and even alcohol dependence Niacin can also be used to treat and prevent schizophrenia and hallucinations. Reports also show link increased niacin intake with lower risks for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

Niacin deficiency

Although niacin deficiency is not common in developed countries but it can be caused by inadequate oral intake, metabolic disorders, poor bioavailability from unlimed grains, defective tryptophan absorption, and the long-term use of chemotherapeutic treatments. Alcoholism, malnutrition, anorexia and prolonged treatment with the anti-tuberculosis drug Isoniazid also causes niacin deficiency. The signs and symptoms include;

  • Skin disorders
  • Weak metabolism
  • Indigestion
  • Headache
  • Swollen mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Pellagra- which affects the digestive system, skin and the nervous system
  • Fatigue
  • Glossitis
  • Stomatitis


We all needs a certain amount of niacin from food or supplements to ensure that the body functions normally. The amount needed is referred to as the dietary reference intake (DRI). DRI is term that is replacing the older and more familiar RDA (recommended daily allowance). The DRI For niacin varies with age and other factors.

  • For children: Depending on the age,2-16 milligrams daily
  • Women: RDI is 14 milligrams daily
  • Pregnant women: RDI is 18 milligrams daily
  • Nursing mothers: RDI is 17 milligrams daily
  • Men: RDI is 16 milligrams daily
  • Maximum daily intake for adults is 35 milligrams daily

Your physician may recommend a higher dosage of niacin for you depending on what you are using it for.

Side effects

Niacin can cause flushing which is harmless. Flushing is an uncomfortable redness and warmth in the neck and the face. This can be controlled however. Your physician can give you a prescription to control the flushing. Other side effects include upset and diarrhea which fades over time.  


Niacin foods should be consumed daily for the proper functioning of the body system. The fact that it offers the body numerous benefits and is an essential vitamin makes its daily consumption vital. Supplements can be taken if you are not getting enough from your daily diet. However, you should see a physician before you start taking supplements.

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