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Too much vitamin B3 may increase risk of heart attack and stroke


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Can you overdose on vitamins? In short, yes.

Vitamins are an essential part of a healthy, balanced day and play many important roles within our bodies. However, studies have shown that – at least for some vitamins – it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin B found in meat, fish, nuts, legumes, brown rice, and fortified cereals. Its main role in the body is as a facilitator of our cell's molecular machines, helping to convert sugar into energy, make and repair DNA, remove dangerous metabolic waste products, and produce healthy fats and “good” cholesterol. Does it.

Being water soluble, excess levels of niacin are usually excreted in our urine. But new research from the Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, shows that two breakdown products of this vitamin may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

In a study published in the journal naturopathyThe team led by Stanley Hazen analyzed blood plasma samples from 4,325 people across the United States and Europe. From these blood samples, the team found that the presence of two molecules produced by the breakdown of excess vitamin B3 was associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.

vitamin b3 - Too much vitamin B3 may increase risk of heart attack and stroke
Scientists warn that too much vitamin B3 may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

AndreaObzerova/Getty

Following this discovery, the team showed that in both humans and mice, one of these breakdown products has the ability to increase pro-inflammatory proteins in the cells that line our blood vessel walls, which leads to this increased Suggests a possible mechanism for risk.

This is worrisome because, according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data between 2018 and 2020, the average American eats 48 milligrams of niacin per day—which is nearly three times our recommended daily intake of 16 milligrams.

More studies are needed to confirm these results, and vitamin B3 still plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. However, the team says its findings warrant further research on these effects and raise questions about mandatory fortification of cereals with this vitamin in the US.

The authors write, “Although such a mandate undoubtedly saved lives when first implemented 80 years ago, its long-term safety, particularly in more vulnerable populations, deserves discussion.”

Are there any health issues you are concerned about? Do you have any questions about vitamins? Let us know via health@newsweek.com. We can ask for expert advice and your story could be featured newsweek,

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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