Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3, or niacin, is an essential vitamin required for processing fat in the body, lowering cholesterol levels, and regulating blood sugar levels.

A deficiency of niacin leads to pellagra, a condition characterized by diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, inflammation of the mouth, amnesia, delirium, and if left untreated, death. Even a slight deficiency of niacin can lead to irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, apathy, and depression.

Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that is well regulated by the body, thus overdose is rare, and only occurs when niacin is taken in the form of supplements. An overdose of niacin is seen in the form of skin rashes (flush), dry skin, and various digestive maladies. A long-term overdose can lead to liver damage, elevated blood sugar levels, and type II diabetes, as well as increased risk of birth defects.

High niacin foods include fish, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, mushrooms, brown rice, peanuts, avocados, green peas, and avocados. The current daily value (% DV) for niacin is 16mg.

Below are the top 10 foods highest in niacin ranked by common serving sizes, for more see the complete list of 200 foods high in niacin, and lists of other foods high in B vitamins.


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List of High Niacin Foods

Tuna Fillet 1 Tuna (Yellowfin)
  • 234% DV (37.5mg) niacin in a 6oz fillet
  • Calories: 221 | Weight: 170g (6oz)

More Fish High in Niacin

-112% DV in a 6oz fillet of bluefin tuna
-108% DV in a 6oz fillet of salmon
-62% DV in 3oz of canned tuna

See all fish high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Yellowfin Tuna.
A roast chicken 2 Lean Chicken Breast
  • 100% DV (16.1mg) niacin in a 6oz breast
  • Calories: 267 | Weight: 170g (6oz)

More Poultry High in Niacin

-133% DV in 6oz of ground turkey
-50% DV in a chicken thigh
-35% DV in a chicken drumstick

See all meats high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Lean Chicken Breast (cooked).
A pork chop 3 Lean Pork Chops
  • 85% DV (13.6mg) niacin in a 6oz chop
  • Calories: 332 | Weight: 170g (6oz)

More Pork Products High in Niacin

-78% DV in 6oz of pork tenderloin
-54% DV in 1 cup of cured ham
-24% DV in 3 slices of bacon

See all meats high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Pork Chops (lean).
A steak on a plate 4 Beef (Skirt Steak)
  • 60% DV (9.5mg) niacin per 6oz steak
  • Calories: 456 | Weight: 170g (6oz)

More Red Meat High in Niacin

-45% DV in 3oz of roast beef
-36% DV in 3oz of lamb ribs
-34% DV in a 3oz lamb shank serving

See all meats high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Skirt Steak.
Portobello Mushrooms 5 Portabella Mushrooms
  • 47% DV (7.6mg) niacin per cup sliced
  • Calories: 35 | Weight: 121g (4.3oz)

More Mushrooms High in Niacin

-43% DV in 1 cup of white button mushrooms
-29% DV in 1 cup of miatake mushrooms
-27% DV in 1 cup of oyster mushrooms

See all vegetables high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Portabellas (exposed To Sunlight Or Uv).
Brown Rice 6 Brown Rice
  • 32% DV (5.2mg) niacin per cup
  • Calories: 248 | Weight: 202g (7.1oz)

More Whole Grains High in Niacin

25% DV in 1 cup of kamut
-23% DV in 1 cup of whole wheat pasta
-16% DV in 1 tblsp of rice bran
-13% DV in 1 cup of wild rice
-11% DV in 1 cup of cornmeal (grits)

See all grains high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Long-grain Brown Rice.
Peanuts 7 Peanuts (Dry Roasted)
  • 25% DV (4.1mg) niacin per oz
  • Calories: 167 | Weight: 28g (1oz)

More Nuts and Seeds High in Niacin*

-16% DV in 1oz of hemp and chia seeds
-15% DV per 1oz of sunflower seeds
-8% DV in 1oz of pine nuts

See all nuts and seeds high in niacin.

*We are aware that peanuts are actually legumes, however they are nuts in the culinary sense.

Nutrition Facts for Dry Roasted Peanuts.
Half an avocado 8 Avocados
  • 22% DV (3.5mg) niacin per avocado
  • Calories: 322 | Weight: 201g (7.1oz)

More Fruits High in Niacin

-11% DV in 1 cup of guavas
-10% DV in 1 cup of necatrines
-8% DV in 1 cup of melons

See all fruits high niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Avocados.
Green Peas 9 Green Peas
  • 20% DV (3.2mg) niacin per cup cooked
  • Calories: 134 | Weight: 160g (5.6oz)

More Vegetables High in Niacin

-16% DV in 1 cup of sweet corn
-15% DV in a medium baked potato
-12% DV in 1 cup of butternut squash

See all vegetables high in niacin.

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Green Peas.
Sweet Potatoes 10 Sweet Potatoes
  • 15% DV (2.4mg) niacin per cup mashed
  • Calories: 258 | Weight: 255g (9oz)

See All 200 Foods High in Niacin (B3)

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Health Benefits of Niacin (Vitamin B3)

  • Protect Against Heart Disease - Niacin is prescribed pharmacologically to lower LDL fats and triglycerides by preventing the breakdown of fats into these individual components. Niacin consumed at such high levels can cause rashes, headaches, nausea, and diarrhea. Consult your doctor before taking niacin supplements in high doses.2,3
  • Regulation of Blood Sugar and Insulin Dependence (*Controversial) - Studies suggest that vitamin B3 (niacin) can help decrease insulin sensitivity,4 however, other studies find no difference.5 Niacin has also been shown to help alleviate some of the destructive autoimmune reactions of type I diabetes, and further studies are being conducted to asses its effectiveness.5
  • Reduced Cancer Risk - Studies show that niacin reduces cancer risk via ensuring DNA integrity and maintenance, and through proper regulation of the tumor suppressor gene: p53.6-8
  • Slow the progression of AIDS - An observational study has reported slowing the progression of AIDS and increasing survival with high doses of niacin.9

People at Risk of a Niacin (Vitamin B3) Deficiency

  • People with HIV/AIDS - The body's immune system creates a specific cytokine, interferon gamma, which breaks down tryptophan, a precursor of niacin. Studies show that HIV patients who take increased levels of niacin slow the progression of AIDS.9-11
  • People who eat high amounts of refined foods - Bran, which is high in vitamin b3, is typically removed during any refining process. Anyone who eats high amounts of white bread, white rice, corn syrup, or other refined products will not receive adequate amounts of niacin. Even though most of these foods are now fortified, it is still best to eat unrefined food products.

Other Vitamin B Foods

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
  2. "Guidelines for Niacin Therapy For the Treatment of Elevated Lipoprotein a (Lpa)". Rush Hemophilia & Thrombophilia Center. August 15, 2002, Revised July 27, 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2009. "facial flushing is a common side effect of niacin therapy that usually subsides after several weeks of consistent niacin use"
  3. Katzung, Bertram G. (2006). Basic and clinical pharmacology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing Division. ISBN 0071451536.
  4. Greenbaum CJ, Kahn SE, Palmer JP. Nicotinamide's effects on glucose metabolism in subjects at risk for IDDM. Diabetes. 1996;45(11):1631-1634.
  5. Lampeter EF, Klinghammer A, Scherbaum WA, et al. The Deutsche Nicotinamide Intervention Study: an attempt to prevent type 1 diabetes. DENIS Group. Diabetes. 1998;47(6):980-984.
  6. Hageman GJ, Stierum RH. Niacin, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and genomic stability. Mutat Res. 2001;475(1-2):45-56.
  7. Jacobson EL, Shieh WM, Huang AC. Mapping the role of NAD metabolism in prevention and treatment of carcinogenesis. Mol Cell Biochem. 1999;193(1-2):69-74.
  8. Weitberg AB. Effect of nicotinic acid supplementation in vivo on oxygen radical-induced genetic damage in human lymphocytes. Mutat Res. 1989;216(4):197-201.
  9. Tang AM, Graham NM, Saah AJ. Effects of micronutrient intake on survival in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. Am J Epidemiol. 1996;143(12):1244-1256.
  10. Brown RR, Ozaki Y, Datta SP, Borden EC, Sondel PM, Malone DG. Implications of interferon-induced tryptophan catabolism in cancer, auto-immune diseases and AIDS. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1991;294:425-435.
  11. Murray MF, Langan M, MacGregor RR. Increased plasma tryptophan in HIV-infected patients treated with pharmacologic doses of nicotinamide. Nutrition. 2001;17(7-8):654-656.

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