Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is an organic compound and a form of vitamin B3, an essential human nutrient. Niacin is obtained in the diet from a variety of whole and processed foods, with highest contents in fortified packaged foods, meat, poultry, red fish such as tuna and salmon, lesser amounts in nuts, legumes and seeds.
How much niacin should you take?
Everyone needs a certain amount of niacin -- from food or supplements -- for the body to function normally. This amount is called the dietary reference intake (DRI), a term that is replacing the older and more familiar RDA (recommended daily allowance).
For niacin, the DRIs vary with age and other factors and are given in milligrams of niacin equivalents:
Children: between 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age
Men: 16 milligrams daily
Women: 14 milligrams daily
Women (pregnant): 18 milligrams daily
Women (breastfeeding): 17 milligrams daily
Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily
Why do people take niacin?
As a cholesterol treatment, there are good studies showing that niacin can boost levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Niacin also modestly lowers bad LDL cholesterol. It's sometimes prescribed in combination with statins for cholesterol control, such as rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor), simvastatin, fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin
(Lipitor) and pravastatin (Pravachol).
However, high dose of Niacin is restricted.