Niacin Deficiency Health Effects

by Sam Malone

Niacin is also known by another name, chiefly vitamin B3. This vitamin is vital for the human body's many biological functions. However, in severe doses it can prove to be fatal to the individual. A female who is in between the age group of 10 - 70 years, needs a daily niacin dose of about 14 mg. For men that are in the same age group a daily dosage of16 mg is required. A pregnant woman will require about 18 mg on a daily basis while children between 4 - 8 years need 8 mg daily.

A niacin deficiency is often more visible in the elderly. As the age advances, the human body tends to lose its capacity to absorb those nutrients that it gets from the meals. But there are other population groups that are also susceptible to deficiency of niacin. Those women that are PMS or are pregnant or even lactating could lack Vitamin B3 or niacin. Chronic diseases that affect the human body like cirrhosis of liver, malignances and even pancreatic insufficiency can be caused by a niacin deficiency. While patients are undergoing treatment for conditions like diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, and hyperthyroidism they can possibly lead to a niacin deficiency. The commonest cause of a niacin deficiency is if there exists a deficiency in nutrition in one's daily diet.

Since the normal dosage required on a daily basis is very little, this particular deficiency is known to be quite rare. Some of the natural sources of this vitamin are soy flour, yeast, brown rice, sweet potatoes, barley, carrots, salmon, peanuts, almonds, pasta and mushrooms. Some of the signs to look out for that would indicate niacin deficiency include a person experiencing a loss in appetite. Other signs are indigestion, delirium or a swollen tongue. The patient may also feel dizzy, get irritated easily and suffer from frequent headaches. The skin in these patients appears to be dry and is accompanied by visible wrinkles. It may even be coarse and there may lesions on the skin. An overdose of niacin is accompanied by an upset stomach, a blurred vision or a flushing of the person's skin. In some rare instances there may even be liver damage. Niacin can be found in a variety of foods like chicken, beef, tuna, milk, eggs liver, kidney and heart. It is also found among fruits like dates, avocados, leaf vegetables, carrots, asparagus, broccoli and tomatoes.

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