How much niacin should you take?
Since niacin can be used in different ways, talk to your health care provider about the best dosage for you.
Everyone needs a certain amount of niacin -- from food or supplements -- for the body to function normally. This amount is called the dietary reference intake (DRI), a term that is replacing the older and more familiar RDA (recommended daily allowance). For niacin, the DRIs vary with age and other factors.
- Children: between 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age
- Men: 16 milligrams daily
- Women: 14 milligrams daily
- Women ( pregnant): 18 milligrams daily
- Women ( breastfeeding): 17 milligrams daily
- Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily
However, the ideal dosage of niacin depends on how you're using it. For instance, much higher doses -- 2 to 3 grams or more -- are used to treat high triglycerides.
Since niacin can upset your stomach, you might want to take it with food. To reduce flushing, your health care provider might recommend taking niacin along with aspirin, an NSAID painkiller, or an antihistamine for a few weeks until tolerance to the niacin develops.
Can you get niacin naturally from foods?
Niacin occurs naturally in many foods, including greens, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, though in a fraction of the dose shown to achieve changes in cholesterol. Many products are also fortified with niacin during manufacture.