Niacin, often used interchangeably with Vitamin B3, Niacinamide and Nicotonic acid is one of the 8 B vitamins. Niacin assists in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. With the conversion process, energy is produced. Niacin, together with the other B vitamins, also helps with proper circulation. This results in a lower cholesterol and healthier skin, eyes, hair, liver and mouth. Niacin also aids in the synthesis of sex and stress-related hormones.
Niacin needs can be easily met through a healthy diet. A disease caused by niacin deficiency is known as Pellagra.
U.S. RDA for Niacin
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) varies depending on the gender, age and condition of a person.
- For infants 0-6 months, the adequate intake is 2 mg/day and 4 mg/day for 7-12 months.
- For children age 1-3 years, the RDA is 6 mg/day, and 8 mg/day for children age 4-8 years.
- Males age 9-13 years have an RDA of 12 mg/day and for 14 years onwards, RDA is 16 mg/day.
- The RDA for females within an age bracket of 9-13 years is 12 mg/day and for 14 years old and onwards, the RDA is 14 mg/day.
- For pregnant women, the RDA is 18 mg/day and lactating women has an RDA of 17 mg/day.
Excellent natural sources of niacin are foods that contain a significant amount of niacin per serving size, while also taking into consideration the number of calories. Listed below are the Top 5 natural sources of Niacin.
1. Crimini Mushrooms (Raw)
These little brown colored mushrooms are not only richer in flavor compared to its white counterparts, but it is also richer in vitamins and minerals. Aside from being rich in selenium, a known antioxidant, it is also rich in energy producing vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin). For a serving size of 5 ounces, crimini mushrooms contains 5.39 mg of niacin with only 31 calories.
2. Baked or Broiled Yellowfin Tuna
This healthy food is not only an excellent source of protein, but is also an excellent source of niacin with 5.39 mg per serving size of 4 ounces. At 158 calories, it is a must-have for individuals on a diet especially since it is also a good source of vitamin B6, selenium and phosphorus.
3. Roasted Chicken Breast
A delicious and nutritious meal, roasted chicken breast’s niacin content is at 14.41 mg per serving size of 4 ounces. It is sufficient to meet the RDA for most people. It is also very rich in selenium and vitamin B6.
4. Braised Calf Liver
Calf liver is extremely dense in nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin A, copper, folate, vitamin B2 and the list goes on. This iron-rich food is also a great source of niacin at 9.61 mg for a serving size of 4 ounces. Calorie count is at 223.
5. Baked or Broiled Halibut
For every 4 ounces of this fish, the niacin content is at 8.08 mg. It has 159 calories.
There are several other natural sources of niacin. Food preparation plays a vital role in retaining the niacin content of food. Niacin is water-soluble and because if this, it is advisable to cook foods in less water.