Eat Your Way To Wellness By Consuming Niacin
Posted by Kate W on Friday, August 10th, 2012
My husband is an eater. It’s not just that he’s hungry a lot, though that’s part of it. But he also eats to feel better. Part of it is emotional eating: when he’s had a stressful day at work, he dives headfirst into a frozen treat. But he also claims that when his lupus is making him feel fatigued, just the act of eating something makes him feel instantly better.
Because I always like to find reasons for things, I did a little research into what might cause him to experience this phenomenon. In my highly unprofessional medical opinion, I think that it may be his frequent consumption of vitamin B3, or niacin. Niacin plays plenty of roles in the human body, including boosting heart health. But its most important is assisting with energy production. It does this through aiding in metabolizing carbohydrates. My husband takes an intensive B vitamin regimen in order to make him feel more energetic and combat the fatigue from his lupus, so it stands to reason that he would quickly feel the benefits of an energy boost from eating carbohydrates.
Niacin can be found plentifully in various food sources. These include salmon, tuna, white meat chicken, ground beef, and beef liver for carnivorous types, as well as sweet potatoes, mango, corn, peaches, mushrooms, peanuts, and pasta for those who keep their diets meat-free. You can also take a niacin supplement if you’re concerned about not getting enough through your diet. Because niacin is water-soluble it can exit your system fairly quickly, especially if you drink eight glasses of water a day in order to stay hydrated. For that reason, you may want to look into a no-flush niacin supplement.
In a no-flush niacin supplement, the niacin is bound to a chemical compound carbohydrate (similar to a sugar) like inositol. This slows the release of niacin into your body, and its resultant quick exit, helping you niacin levels stay higher for longer. This is an especially good option for people like my husband who take large doses of niacin for energy and often face uncomfortable side effects like stomach upset. If you go this route though, you may want to add a B-vitamin complex to your regimen to ensure you don’t wind up with a B-vitamin imbalance.
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