What is vitamin B3 deficiency?

Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency is rare in most developed countries. People at the highest risk include those with HIV/AIDS, anorexia nervosa, liver failure, alcohol dependency. You can develop niacin deficiency if you don’t get enough vitamin B3 from the foods you eat. Severe niacin deficiency may lead to a disease called pellagra. 

Common vitamin B3 deficiency symptoms:

  • Rough skin that turns red or brown in the sun
  • Bright red tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss

What causes a vitamin B3 deficiency?

  • A diet lacking in vitamin B3-rich foods
  • Alcohol dependency
  • Digestive disorders
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Prolonged treatment with the tuberculosis medication isoniazid
  • Hartnup disease
  • Carcinoid syndrome, which causes tumors in the gastrointestinal tract

Further reading: National Institutes of Health (1),(2)