When you think of vitamins and minerals that are great for skin health, vitamin C and collagen probably come to mind. But now, vitamin B3 is quickly gaining traction as an important compound that’s transformative for skin health — and it has some cholesterol-fighting properties, too.
What is vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3, which is also called niacin, is one of eight B vitamins. It helps convert food into energy, and it’s water-soluble. As a result, the body doesn’t store it up over time. So, you have to get it through your diet every day.
Vitamin B3 has two major components that benefit skin and heart health. First, it contains niacinamide (or nicotinamide), which treats psoriasis, protects the skin from signs of aging, and reduces the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, according to research. Second, it contains nicotinic acid, which may lower both your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.
If you want to be sure that you are getting plenty of niacin each day, you may want to try an oral supplement like Nature’s Bounty Niacin (Buy on Amazon, $12.89). If you want to focus on the benefits for your skin, try a serum or moisturizer that contains niacinamide.
There are plenty of good options out there. We like Naturium Niacinamide Serum (Buy on Amazon, $15.99), which also contains zinc to help smooth out your skin. Also good? The Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer from Fleur & Bee (Buy from Fleur & Bee, $35), an all-in-one organic moisturizer that soothes skin, moisturizes, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with the help of niacinamide, retinol, and antioxidants.
What are the benefits of niacin?
As a topical remedy, niacin is a great way to potentially protect skin from sun damage and reverse signs of aging. It may also protect the body from certain non-melanoma skin cancers when taken orally.
Research has also shown that niacin can increase “good” cholesterol while helping you shed the “bad” cholesterol in your body, thereby reducing heart disease risk.
Additionally, studies reveal that vitamin B3 can boost your cognitive function. It may also keep your brain healthy even when there are signs of Alzheimer’s, though more research must be done to confirm this theory.
Are there any side effects?
Getting a dose of niacin through a daily multivitamin or even most supplemental capsules won’t cause any significant side effects.
A niacin prescription (which usually treats a niacinamide deficiency) contains around 2,000 to 6,000 milligrams. Side effects include skin flushing, nausea, abdominal pain, and rapid heartbeat due to the high dosage. It’s recommended that people who are on diabetes medication and blood pressure drugs not take such high doses.
As you would with any supplement, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start taking vitamin B3.
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