Why do you need Vitamin B3 (Niacin) during pregnancy?
Vitamin B3, also called niacin, is present in two forms – nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Both forms of niacin help in releasing energy from food. It helps in keeping the skin, mucous membrane and nervous system healthy. It eases nausea, subside a painful migraine and improves digestion. It is also crucial for the baby’s brain development. The recommended amount of vitamin B3 during pregnancy is 18mg per day.
The food sources of niacin are:
Both nicotinamide and nicotinic acid are found in food. Let’s have a look at the amount of niacin in some of these foods:
- 115 grams chicken breast (roasted)
- 115 grams salmon (broiled or baked)
- 115 grams tuna (broiled or baked)
- 115 grams calf’s liver (lightly fried)
- 115 grams lamb loin (roasted) – 7.75mg
Should you take niacin supplements?
Supplementation is usually not required since you get enough vitamin B3 from an average diet.
Vitamin B3 deficiency is rare case as you can easily get the daily dose of it by the available food sources or from tryptophan (an amino acid, which makes niacin) present in dietary proteins. The chance of deficiency is usually higher in those who consume corn or sorghum as their staple diet. Niacin is present in bound form in these sources.
What happens if you take too much of vitamin B3?
There are no proper studies to determine the effects of vitamin B3 taken in high doses during pregnancy. They are otherwise known to cause skin flushes and liver damage.
Oral Niacin is classified under Pregnant C category by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the drug has not been researched completely in the case of pregnant women. As there is no solid evidence to determine its effects on the mother and foetus, the drug only be taken under the guidance of your doctor.
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