What is it?
Niacin is the essential vitamin B3, but it comes in two distinct forms — niacin and niacinamide. Both serve the functions that make B3 necessary, but they also have other specialties.
Where is it from?
Niacin is found in good amounts in fish, meat, beans, whole grains, eggs, milk, rice bran, leafy greens, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Corn is another decent source, but the niacin in corn is much easier for the body to use after corn is treated with alkaline — like the traditional preparation of masa harina for making corn tortillas and related foods.
What does it do?
Have you ever heard of ATP or NAD? These are the forms of energy your cells know best, and niacin contributes to making both of them, which is why it is so vitally needed.
But niacin plays an even higher role — it helps control how cells use energy throughout their lives, so it has an important say in cells’ lives, deaths, and aging processes.
When you get enough niacin from your diet, it can help your body deal with cholesterol, and it also aids blood vessels.
Niacinamide is now available in an interesting riboside form that seems to make it easier for niacin to work within cells’ mitochondria, where they actively create energy.