Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin or vitamin PP is a water-soluble vitamin. Although our body can produce part of what we need, it unfortunately can’t store any, so it’s important to include food sources of vitamin B3 or tryptophan (a precursor of vitamin B3).


The B-group vitamins are known for their ability to convert food into usable energy, helping the body fulfil all its necessary functions. This means that vitamin B3 plays a key role in freeing up energy by assisting in normal energy metabolism. It also keeps the nervous system running smoothly, promotes healthy skin, regulates cholesterol and contributes to red blood cell production.


Vitamin B3 can be synthesised by our bodies using an amino acid called tryptophan, which is found in eggs, dairy products, fruits such as bananas, soy-based products, oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.) and legumes.

The main sources of vitamin B3 are poultry, meat, fish and liver, as well as groundnuts, legumes and some whole grains.


The Austrian scientist Hugo Weidel was the first to isolate vitamin B3, which he found in nicotine!


Excesses of vitamin B3 are rare, since not much can be stored. In the West, deficiencies are seen in some populations (athletes, smokers and anyone who is pregnant, suffering from digestive malabsorption issues, following a restrictive diet, etc.) A deficiency, known as pellagra, is identified by skin issues (redness and itching), followed by digestive (diarrhoea) and psychological problems which can lead to insomnia, depression and even dementia.