All B-complex vitamins, such as niacin and vitamin B12, help your body work efficiently to convert food into fuel, which is used to produce energy. Both niacin and vitamin B12 work together with other B vitamins to maintain healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver. Also, they help your nervous system work properly. Keep your body functioning optimally by consuming adequate niacin and vitamin B12.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is used by your body to metabolize fats and sugars, which maintain healthy cells. Niacin helps your body make sex and stress-related hormones. Additionally, this vitamin has been used by physicians to treat circulation problems, migraines, skin disorders, diabetes and high cholesterol. The recommended dietary allowance of niacin is 14 milligrams per day.
Vitamin B12, also named cobalamin, is required by nearly 100 different biochemical reactions in your body. Thus, it is a very important vitamin, indeed. Vitamin B12 affects red blood cell synthesis, nerve functioning, DNA synthesis and a variety of other enzymatic reactions. Also, it is present in several different forms during the metabolism of fats and proteins. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day.
The most common symptoms of niacin deficiency involve the skin, digestive system and the nervous system. Symptoms may include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting and depression. It's rare for young women to be vitamin B12 deficient, but those with eating disorders, HIV, Crohn's disease and vegans may be more susceptible. Low levels of B12 can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nervousness and numbness. Both niacin and vitamin B12 deficiencies can be effectively diagnosed and treated by your physician.
Luckily, niacin and vitamin B12 can be found in many everyday foods. Foods high in niacin content include chicken, salmon, beef, seeds and nuts. Vitamin B12 is highest in seafood, but also present in chicken, beef, eggs, milk and milk products. Just 3 ounces of clams have an astounding 84 micrograms of vitamin B12. Due to a lack of dietary meat, seafood and fish, some vegetarians may have a difficult time getting enough dietary niacin and B12.
Certain diseases and metabolic disorders may make it impossible to absorb enough dietary vitamins, including niacin and vitamin B12. Any digestive diseases that reduce nutrient absorption will cause nutritional deficiencies. Alcoholism is the main reason for niacin deficiency in the industrialized world. Also, intestinal infection by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori can cause decreased digestive uptake of niacin and vitamin B12. These special situations can be managed effectively by your physician to prevent vitamin deficiencies.
Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.