Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) is also extremely important in energy production and is essential for converting dietary fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy as well as providing antioxidant protection. As well as being essential for energy production (and feeling good), vitamin B3 is needed for DNA repair.
Niacin is also known to boost the function of the skin and has shown in clinical studies to protect skin cells from sun damage (Chen, 2015).
Symptoms of deficiency can include fatigue, rough skin, indigestion and dermatitis, which is similar to eczema but presents without the itch.
Pellagra is a disease which can occur from chronic vitamin B3 deficiency. The symptoms of pellagra are know as the ‘three Ds’: dermatitis, diarrhoea and dementia. Some researchers call it the ‘four Ds’ and include ‘death’, as death eventually results if the deficiency is left untreated and becomes chronic.
Vitamin B3 deficiency questionnaire
Do you experience any of the following on a regular basis or on a reoccurring basis?
Vitamin B3 deficiency signs
Note not all symptoms will be present in the one person. If you answered yes to 3 or more signs you could have a deficiency. As with all health questionnaire results, also check with your doctor to rule our more serious health problems.
Vitamin B3 dosages & food sources
Dosages (milligrams per day)
Eczema-friendly food sources
Also known as:
2-4 mg from breastmilk or hypoallergenic (dairy-free) infant formula
1–4 years: 5-6 mg
5–12 years: 7-11 mg
13–18 years: 11-16 mg
½ cup (4oz) cooked tuna: 25.03 mg
½ cup (4oz) cooked chicken: 15.55 mg
½ cup (4oz) cooked turkey: 13.32 mg
½ cup (4oz) cooked salmon: 9.02 mg
1 cup brown rice: 2.98 mg
1 cup sweet potato: 2.97 mg
1 scoop Skin Friend AM: 0.6mg (child dose)
2-3 scoops Skin Friend AM: 1.2mg - 1.8mg (teen and adult dose)
AI = Adequate Intake as per Australian Government guidelines
RDI – Recommended Daily Intake as per Australian Government guidelines – shown on the table as the lowest dose. The higher range covers the therapeutic range.
^Contains salicylates (not suitable during weeks 1–3 of the FID Program)
Important notes about B-group vitamins
When taking any kind of B vitamins keep the following nutrition rules in mind:
- As B-group vitamins are acidic, avoid mega-doses above 15 mg. In order to prevent deficiencies of other B vitamins, take vitamin B3 in supplement form along with other B vitamins, not as a single supplement.
Taking high doses of vitamin B3 will cause a ‘niacin flush’ where the skin becomes hot and red. So if you have topical steroid withdrawal (red skin syndrome), eczema or rosacea do not take a high dose of vitamin B3 (above 10mg) as it can worsen your symptoms. For this reason, Skin Friend AM contains only a low dose of vitamin B3.
Authors: Layland, K. and Fischer, K., 2017 'Vitamin B3 (Niacin) & Dermatitis', Eczema Life Clinic.
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2006, ‘Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand’, version 1.1 (updated March 2017).
Stanton, R, 2007, Vitamins, Rosemary Stanton’s complete book of food and nutrition, p. 473.
Chen, A.C., et.al., 2015. A phase 3 randomized trial of nicotinamide for skin-cancer chemoprevention. New England Journal of Medicine, 373(17), pp.1618-1626.
Steyn, N.P., Parker, W. and Labadarios, D., 2009. Vitamin B3 deficiency.
Pasmans, S.G., Preesman, A.H. and Van Vloten, W.A., 1998. Pellagra (deficiency of vitamin B3 or of the amino acid tryptophan): a disease still extant in the Netherlands. Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde, 142(33), pp.1880-1882.