Sources of Vitamin B3

Good sources of vitamin B3 (niacin) include yeast, meat, poultry, red fish (e.g., tuna, salmon), cereals, legumes, and seeds. Milk, green leafy vegetables, coffee, and tea also provide some niacin (3).

In plants, especially mature cereal grains like corn and wheat, vitamin B3 (niacin) may be bound to sugar molecules in the form of ‘glycosides’, which significantly decrease niacin bioavailability (24).

The amono acid tryptophan contributes as much as two thirds of the niacin activity required by adults in typical diets. Important food sources of tryptophan are meat, milk and eggs.

Nicotinamide is the form of vitamin B3 typically used in nutritional supplements and in food fortification.

Due to the potential for side effects, medical supervision is recommended for the use of vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid) as a cholesterol-lowering agent (25).

Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed by Giorgio La Fata on 06.06.2017