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Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Recommended daily allowance: 20 mg (milligrams)

Symptoms of deficiency: Depression, sleepiness, loss of appetite, muscular pains, tongue becomes smooth and pale, hair loss, anemia, skin disorders.

Benefits: Maintains normal function of skin, nerves, digestive system. Prevents premenstrual headache. Reduces cholesterol levels. May improve poor digestion and offer protection from toxins and pollutants.

Good food sources: Chicken and turkey breast, cold water fish, pork, veal, enriched breads and cereals.

Cautions: Don't take if you have: impaired liver function, have an active peptic ulcer or are pregnant. Consult a doctor if you have: diabetes, gout, gallbladder or liver disease, over 55.

Substance interactions: These medications lower blood pressure to extremely low levels: beta-adrenergic blockers, mecamylamine, pargyline. These decrease the medication's effect: anti-diabetics, chenodiol. Decreases vitamin's effect: isoniazid.

Signs of toxicity: Body flush, nausea, vomiting abdominal cramps, diarrhea, high blood sugar, high uric acid, heart-rhythm disturbances, jaundice.

* Prevents pellagra, a very rare and sometimes fatal condition that affects alcoholics and people suffering from severe gastrointestinal problems.

* Prevents the release of histamine, which triggers allergies, asthma, and bronchitis.

* High doses of niacin, especially the slow-release form, can cause liver damage. Niacinamide, a form of niacin included in multivitamin supplements, does not produce the side effects associated with niacin.

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