A vitamin is an organic substance that is essential, at very low doses, for the body.
Vitamins are substances required for life that play an important role in nutrient absorption and utilisation. As the body is unable to produce these substances on its own (with the exception of vitamin D, vitamins B2 and B3, and vitamin K), vitamin intake is strictly dependent on dietary sources. Vitamins are primarily of plant origin (B-complex group vitamins) and are thus more particularly found in fruit and vegetables.
A vitamin has no energy value, i.e. it does not release calories. It is nonetheless needed by the body to ensure normal overall function.
Vitamins help maintain life balance as they enable cells to utilise nutrients, which are sources of energy.
Each vitamin has specific functions and cannot be used to substitute any other vitamin. In the body, many reactions require the presence of multiple vitamins and a deficiency of any one of these may impede the function of the others.
Vitamins are categorised into two families:
- Fat-soluble vitamins, stored in fat. These are vitamins A, D and E. Deficiencies may arise in the event of strict diets.
- Water-soluble vitamins. These are B-complex group vitamins and vitamin C.
Basic facts about vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 has good resistance to cooking but can be lost in cooking water.
It plays a role in energy release, supporting normal energy metabolism, and in maintaining normal skin. It is also involved in healthy nervous system function.
|Vitamin B3-rich foods, per 100 g*||Vitamin B3 content|
|Nutritional yeast||25 mg|
|Cooked calf’s liver||13,7 mg|
|Preserved canned tuna, drained||12,6 mg|
|Pork kidneys||6,1 mg|
|Smoked mackerel||8,42 mg|
|Raw mushrooms||3,61 mg|
|Roasted salted peanuts||13,6 mg|
|Muesli with fruit or dried fruit fortified with vitamins and minerals||13,6 mg|
|Wholemeal bread||2,5 mg|
|Cooked lentils||0,664 mg|
|Cooked white rice||0,4 mg|
|Boiled potatoes||1,38 mg|
|Cooked artichoke||1 mg|
|Cooked spinach||0,49 mg|
|Pasteurised skimmed milk||0,09 mg|
|Soft-boiled eggs||0,064 mg|
Find out more about vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 or vitamin PP (Pellagra Preventing) or niacin is a water-soluble vitamin. This vitamin is not sensitive and is resistant to heat, oxidation and light. It is one of the rare vitamins produced by the body (by the gut flora and liver from tryptophan, an amino acid obtained from dietary sources). However, the amounts produced are insufficient to meet daily requirements; therefore, this vitamin is mainly obtained from dietary sources. It is readily absorbed in the small intestine, but very low levels of vitamin B3 are stored in the body, meaning that daily intake is necessary.
Roles of vitamin B3
The functions of vitamin B3 are based on its action as a coenzyme.
Source of energy: vitamin B3 supports normal energy metabolism. Vitamin PP supports normal psychological functions such as memory, reasoning and concentration. Vitamin B3 helps maintain normal skin.
Requirements in vitamin B3
Requirements are higher for pregnant women and breastfeeding women. However, during pregnancy, it is nonetheless recommended to only take supplements in the event of known deficiency and, when breastfeeding, supplementation should be avoided as no data is available on the transfer of vitamin B3 into breast milk.
Table of DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes) for vitamin B3:
|Age / Status||DRI for vitamin B3|
|Children aged 1 to 3 years||6 mg|
|Children aged 4 to 12 years||8 à 10 mg|
|Teenagers aged 13 to 19 years||11 à 14 mg|
|Pregnant women||16 mg|
|Breastfeeding women||15 mg|
|Elderly people||11 à 14 mg|