What are the Best Sources of Niacin?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2020
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Niacin is one of the alternative names for vitamin B3. This vitamin is essential to the human diet because it is used for important bodily functions such as energy production and the production of certain hormones. Lack of vitamin B3 can result in pellagra, intestinal problems, and skin conditions. It has also been found that niacin can help prevent and treat conditions such as gout, menstrual pain, and high cholesterol. The best sources of niacin include certain fish, meats, and eggs.

The importance of niacin was revealed in large part by bouts of pellagra. This nutritional disorder, which is characterized by muscular weakness, dermatitis, and dementia, was found to be caused by the absence of vitamin B3. In developed countries, pellagra is now rare. However, it is still essential for all people to consume sufficient amounts of the vitamin.

People who enjoy eating meat should have no problems finding a variety of good sources of niacin. This is true even if they are attempting to maintain diets, because lean meats such as roasted chicken breast and turkey breast contain significant amounts of vitamin B3. When a person eats beef tenderloin or calf liver, she is also eating healthy foods that contain a lot of niacin. Other meats that a person may choose include venison and lamb.


Fish lovers also have a variety of sources of niacin. Yellow fin tuna, halibut, and salmon are great choices. If these fish are not available or are not preferred, there are other options that can help a person meet her niacin needs. These include snapper, farm-raised catfish, and shrimp.

There are also numerous foods that vegetarians can eat to obtain vitamin B3. One of the best sources of niacin for vegetarians is eggs. Drinking milk can provide a person with a significant amount of the vitamin.

If a person is concerned about the fat in these items or if she wants foods that are not derived from animals, there is an array of other good choices. A person can eat nuts such as almonds or Brazil nuts. Wheat bread and rye bread are two good sources when a person wants to eat grains.

There are numerous plant sources of niacin. Three of the best include raw crimini mushrooms, asparagus, and collard greens. Other vegetables that a person can consume to help meet her niacin needs include mustard greens, carrots, and raw tomatoes.


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Post 3

I eat lots of meat, dairy and eggs so I don't think I have any issues with niacin. I eat tuna fish at least once a week and red meat once or twice. I have dairy every day in the form of milk or yogurt or cheese.

It's actually not difficult to get our needed daily niacin. Even coffee has niacin so those who have the habit of drinking coffee in the morning are getting a nice amount of niacin. What happens sometimes though is that we may have conditions that prevent our body from absorbing the niacin in foods. But a blood test will show any deficiencies easily and the doctor can prescribe supplements in that case.

Post 2

@SteamLouis-- Let's see, nuts have niacin, especially sunflower seeds and peanuts. For veggies, you can also have lots of bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, green peas. And don't forget beans like red kidney beans which are rich in niacin.

For an examplary niacin rich diet, you can have breakfast with whole grain cereal and soy milk. Lunch can be red bean soup with a salad or a veggie sandwich with mushrooms, peppers and cheese. Sesame seeds are rich in niacin so anything made from them like tahini, halwa are good options with meals or as dessert.

Even if you are a vegetarian, you can get all your required niacin by eating a variety of foods every day. If you still need more, there are B complex vitamins that contain lower doses of niacin that won't cause flushing. But I agree that it's best to get niacin from foods if possible.

Post 1

I'm in a fix about getting enough niacin because I'm a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish. I'm also not a fan of eggs and dairy and only consume soy dairy.

I know that mushrooms and greens have niacin but there is only so much of those that I can consume during the week. What are some other vegetarian sources of niacin? If I can't get enough niacin through my diet, I will have to take supplements and I don't want to do that because I heard that they cause negative side effects like flushing.

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