Vitamin B3, also called niacin, is one of eight water-soluble B vitamins. Since these vitamins are soluble in water they are dispersed throughout the body dissolved in fluid. They are not stored in the body to any appreciable extent and must be replenished every day. Their influence on the body lasts for 14-18 hours after ingestion after which their potency decreases. An excessive intake of water-soluble vitamins is typically passed out through the urine. If the diet contains less than 50% RDA of water-soluble vitamins, symptoms from deficiencies may be displayed in as little as 4 weeks; much quicker than for fat-soluble vitamins.

All B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, assist and regulate carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. These are essential mechanisms which produce energy for the body. They also contribute to hemoglobin synthesis and red blood cell production which carries oxygen around the body. Furthermore, B complex vitamins help maintain muscle tone along the wall of the digestive tract and promote healthy skin, hair, eyes, mouth, liver and nervous system.

Niacin plays an important role in removing toxic and harmful chemicals from the body. It also helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body. Niacin helps to maintain the central nervous system and is also effective in improving circulation and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. It also helps maintain a healthy skin, tongue and digestive system and prevents pellagra. Pellagra is the name given to the medical condition that results from a lack of niacin and symptoms include weakness, sore mouth and irritability. Niacin requirements can be partially met by eating foods containing protein because the human body is able to convert tryptophan, an amino acid, into niacin.

Niacin RDA

children 1-3 yrs, RDA = 6 mg
children 4-8 yrs, RDA = 8 mg
children 9-13 yrs, RDA = 12 mg
Males 14-70 yrs, RDA = 16 mg
Females 14-70 yrs, RDA = 14 mg
Pregnancy 19-50 yrs, RDA = 18 mg
Lactation 19-50 yrs, RDA = 17 mg

For further information on nutrients RDA see our complete list for recommended dietary allowance.

Good sources of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) are:
chicken, peanuts, pork, sardines, tuna

We have sorted our nutrition database by foods high in niacin so you can easily see how much Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is contained in different foods. You can also search through our database using the search box below or browse the Vitamin B3 (Niacin) content by food category.

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Niacin in foods - by food category

Niacin in Baby Foods, Niacin in Baked Products, Niacin in Beef Products, Niacin in Breakfast Cereals, Niacin in Cereal Grains and Pasta, Niacin in Dairy and Egg Products, niacin in drinks, Niacin in Ethnic Foods, Niacin in Fast Foods, Niacin in Fats and Oils, niacin in fish, niacin in fruits, Niacin in Lamb, Veal, and Game Products, Niacin in Legumes and Legume Products, Niacin in Meals, Entrees, and Sidedishes, niacin in nuts, niacin in pork, Niacin in Poultry Products, Niacin in Sausages and Luncheon Meats, niacin in snacks, Niacin in Soups, Sauces, and Gravies, Niacin in Spices and Herbs, niacin in sweets, niacin in vegetables,
3D picture of Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Different forms or alternative names for Vitamin B3 (Niacin):
nicotinic acid

Importance of Vitamin B3 (Niacin):
key role in metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein
assists production of energy within the body
improves circulation and reduces the cholesterol level in the blood
helps maintain the nervous system
reduces high blood pressure
increases energy through proper utilization of food
prevents pellagra
helps maintain a healthy skin, tongue and digestive system

Deficiency of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may cause:
gastrointestinal disturbance
mental depression
vague aches and pains
loss of appetite
skin disorders
muscular weakness
bad breath
canker sores

niacin and Nutrition Facts - Top 199 Foods


a banana, an apple, an orange, a peach, apricots, butternut squash, lemon, grapes, watermelon, strawberries, green grapes, kiwi, blueberries, zucchini, figs, honeydew, eggplant, dates, olives, a pear, coconut, cranberries, pomegranate, a mango, pineapple, cherries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tangerine, nectarines, raisins, plums, tomatoes, chili peppers, chilis, peppers, avocado, cucumber, summer squash, winter squash, papaya, prunes


leeks, turnip greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, yams, fennel, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, green beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage, sweet potato, a potato, carrots, lettuce, iceberg lettuce, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, celery, salad, mushrooms, potatoes, baked potato, onions, asparagus


salmon, cod, sardines, shrimp, tuna, fish, tuna salad, halibut, sea bass, scallops


coffee, apple juice, cranberry juice, red wine, skim milk, white wine, wine, milk, beer, alcohol, coke, soy milk, whole milk, prune juice, tea, a shake, coconut milk, orange juice

Nuts and Seeds

chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts

Beans and Lentils

soybeans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, beets, beans, garbanzo beans


beef, steak, deer, bacon, chicken, fried chicken, turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, meatloaf, ham, lamb, sausages

Fast Foods

french fries, pizza, a slice of pizza, hot dog, hamburger, a cheeseburger, a big mac

Dairy and Cheese

ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese, an egg, egg whites, goats cheese, cheddar, cheddar cheese, cheese, hard boiled egg, feta cheese

Bread, Rice, Grains and Pasta

rye, millet, flaxseed, barley, buckwheat, whole wheat bread, a bagel, white bread, bread, quinoa, corn, spaghetti, rice, pasta, brown rice, white rice

Spreads, Sauces and Herbs

hummus, mayonnaise, butter, peanut butter, soy sauce, thyme, basil, rosemary, pepper, coriander, dill, parsley

Sweets, Desserts and Snacks

popcorn, chips, nachos, a granola bar, saltine crackers, cheesecake, jello, ice cream, doughnuts, chocolate

Breakfast Cereal

granola, cheerios, oatmeal


spirulina, honey, sugar, brown sugar, tofu, olive oil, garlic, tempeh, oats

Nutrition Facts

calories, fat, carbohydrate, high protein foods, high fiber foods, low carb foods, calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, sodium, fluoride, iodine, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins and minerals, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7), Folic Acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12, vitamin B13, vitamin B15, vitamin B17, vitamin K, folic acid, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, cholesterol, essential fatty acids, trans fat, saturated fat, recommended daily allowance