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Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

This vitamin was discovered during research for the cause of pellagra, a common endemic disease of the 18th century, which is characterised by the three D's - dermatitis, dementia and diarrhoea. It also goes under the name of nicotinic acid.

Niacin assists metabolism, digestion and energy production, lowers high cholesterol and improves blood circulation, helping to preventing blood clots and heart attacks. It is vital to a healthy nervous system.

Although pellagra is now rare in Britain, lowers deficiencies are very common and symptoms include arthritis, bad breath, fatigue, headaches and no sense of humour.

The best natural sources include brewer's yeast, eggs, fish, meat, peanuts (groundnuts), sunflower seeds and wheat bran and germ.

The recommended Daily Allowance is 20mg for adults and 13mg for children; however, some nutritionists believe much higher intakes, such as 50 - 100mg, are beneficial.

If taking supplements, high doses (of say 40mg) release histamine, which produces a temporary hot skin flush for a few minutes. 'Flush-free' supplements are now made to combat this. For more information on nutrition see 'Nutrients A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharon. See 'Antioxidant', 'Histamine'; 'Brewer's yeast', 'Vitamin', 'Vitamin B Complex', 'Vitamin B2', 'VitaminB5', 'Vitamin B6', 'VitaminB12', 'VitaminB15', 'Vitamin C', 'Vitamin D', 'Vitamin E', 'Vitamin K', 'Vitamin P'

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