Niacin | The next health craze?

Niacin: the latest vitamin already known to be good for you, confirmed again as good for you

Tomatoes - a great source of niacin. From Wikimedia commons.

Tomatoes - a great source of niacin. From Wikimedia commons.

Niacin is one of the essential vitamins that a person has to consume, and recent studies have shown it to help decrease bad cholesterol, and boost the good kind.  That means people might go so far as to throw a few payday loans in beefing up their supply.   However, there is good news –  it turns out there’s a lot of foods that contain it.  You probably already get enough, and don’t even know it.

Also known as Vitamin B3 – Even if you only ate fast food, you’d still get some

Niacin is one of the vitamins that is present in so many foods that most people already eat, so unless you basically only eat McDonald’s Dollar Menu or Ramen noodles (look out college students) then you probably already receive close to if not more than your daily share, so don’t bother buying supplements.

Niacin is present in the following foods:

  • Tomatoes (a lot of people already know this)
  • Avocados
  • Dates
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes (Thanksgiving is coming up!)
  • Asparagus
  • Leafy veggies
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Tuna and Salmon
  • Beans/Legumes (the musical fruit!)
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Brewer’s Yeast


Yes, Virginia, I said it – Brewer’s yeast contains Niacin.  That means that you are getting vitamins and nutrients with  sweet, delicious, beer, but first, the following caveats: first, only in moderation (moderate drinkers outlive both heavy drinkers and teetotalers) and follow all laws to the letter regarding driving.  That said, if you want to have a brew or two (1 -2 glasses a day are  good for you) and get the benefits of the yeast, you are better off with a craft ale.  Not only will it taste far better than that pathetic yellow water with the ad campaigns, but craft ales have yeast in the bottle, as part of the conditioning process.  Deschutes Brewery and Sierra Nevada are excellent craft breweries, that make beer that will knock your socks off, and are available nationwide.  However, don’t rely on it as your only source – this is only meant as a side benefit – and only in responsible moderation.

Wait a minute – what about the good cholesterol?

Niacin boosts HDL (High Density Lipoprotein – the good kind!) and helps break down low density (lower density lipoprotein, or the bad kind).  Niacin is also one of the 5 vitamins that you should have daily in order to avoid disease.  Niacin deficiency is called Pellagra – and it’s nasty.  (The others are Vitamin C and scurvy, Vitamin D and rickets, Thiamin (Vitamin B1) and beriberi, and Vitamin A and the unimaginatively titled Vitamin A Deficiency Syndrome.)  The more you can do to reduce low density cholesterol (quit with the bacon burgers already) the better.

“Miracle” Vitamin Crazes are not that bright

There are plenty of foods that already contain your daily recommended amounts.  Don’t put any payday loans in niacin pills or other nutritional supplements.  Do a little bit of research, and you can learn how to get plenty of vitamins and minerals from better eating – you’ll eat better, feel better, and live better as a result.