Bodybuilding is a sport that is very dependent on supplements, as bodybuilding and supplementation do appear to go hand in hand with one another.
In terms of popular muscle building supplements, some examples that instantly spring to mind are products such as: whey protein, creatine monohydrate, casein protein, and BCAAs, yet one of the most underrated and widely kept secrets in the bodybuilding world is Niacin.
The benefits of Niacin for health purposes are pretty well known, but in terms of bodybuilding, Niacin could perhaps be your secret weapon to a lean, muscular, and aesthetic physique.
If you’re struggling to build muscle and have seemingly tried everything to increase your gains, if you’re confident that your diet is in check, and that your training routine is on point, you may wish to seriously consider adding Niacin to your supplement stack.
Here’s a more in-depth look at Niacin, and its many bodybuilding and health benefits.
What Is Niacin?
Chances are that you may already have heard about Niacin, and you could even be taking it without realising, due to the fact that it is commonly known by a different name.
Niacin is often referred to as vitamin B3, due to the fact that it was the third B vitamin to be discovered.
If we really want to get technical, Niacin is also known as nicotinic acid, though we won’t worry about that for now.
This vitamin is actually an essential nutrient, which basically means that the body cannot create it naturally, so it must come from a dietary source.
Some of the numerous benefits of Niacin are attributed to the fact that this nutrient plays a crucial role in hundreds upon hundreds of metabolic and physiological processes within the human body.
This is down to the fact that Niacin helps to produce a coenzyme known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD for short.
It is this molecule that is essential for these metabolic and physiological processes.
Niacin is water soluble, which means that it breaks down in water, as opposed to some vitamins, that happen to be fat soluble.
Bodybuilding and Health Benefits Of Niacin
Now that we know what Niacin is, let’s look at the numerous bodybuilding and health benefits of Niacin.
Increased Energy Levels
Niacin, like other B vitamins, plays a crucial role in the production of energy, which is why individuals suffering from a vitamin B deficiency, often struggle with their energy levels.
For anybody, having low energy levels is not pleasant, but for a bodybuilder, low energy levels can be catastrophic.
You see, bodybuilding is a very physically taxing and demanding sport, and because of this, you need plenty of energy to get you through your workouts.
If you are struggling to find the energy and motivation to go and train, you may wish to consider adding Niacin, and other B vitamins, to your supplement stack as the benefits will instantly be recognisable.
Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
There are two different types of cholesterol in the human body – there is Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and the two could not be more different to one another.
When we hear the word ‘cholesterol’ we think of artery clogging fatty deposits and build ups in the body, that cause heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, and much more besides.
In actual fact, though, this is only LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol is very, very good for us, and it actually lowers dangerous cholesterol levels in the process.
Numerous studies have revealed that Niacin can lower blood triglyceride (fats) levels and LDL cholesterol, whilst simultaneously increasing HDL cholesterol, which is obviously very good.
This benefit is more of a general health benefit, as opposed to a bodybuilding benefit, but let’s face it, we all want a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, so Niacin is a very beneficial nutrient to consume on a daily basis.
Niacin Increase Vascularity
In bodybuilding circles, vascularity is very important and beneficial, because it is a sign of being ripped and shredded.
The more vascular a person is, the more ripped they look, and hey, who would not want that?
Whilst there are numerous supplements out there that have been specially formulated to increase vascularity, Niacin time and time again, has consistently proved itself to be one of the absolute best in the game.
One of the main reasons for this, is the fact that Niacin has very potent vasodilating effects, which causes the blood vessels to widen and allow more blood to flow through them.
Hormone Production And Regulation
Hormones are very, very important for bodybuilders, and it is this reason why some bodybuilders choose to inject themselves with artificial hormones such as Testosterone and HGH, or Human Growth Hormone.
The aforementioned hormones are both highly anabolic, which means that they play crucial roles in the growth and the repair of muscle tissue within the body.
Experts have recently revealed that Niacin plays a vital role in the production and secretion of adrenal hormones for energy, and sex-related hormones such as testosterone, that play essential roles in the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
People that struggle with low testosterone levels could benefit greatly from regular Niacin supplementation.
As mentioned previously, Niacin has potent vasodilating effects on the body, which means that it caused the blood vessels to widen, and therefore it allows more blood to be carried around the body via them.
This increase in circulation is beneficial for a number of reasons, especially in terms of muscular performance.
You see, blood is used as a carrier for oxygen and other nutrients, which make their way around the body via the bloodstream, before being delivered to the awaiting cells all over the body.
Many cells that make up the muscles, can benefit from this increase in circulation, due largely to the fact that more oxygen and nutrients can be transported to, and subsequently absorbed by the cells in the muscles.
This makes the muscles more effective, so they can generate more power, and can function for longer before they eventually fatigue.
This carries over very well in the gym, as it basically makes our workouts a great deal more effective.
The human immune system can benefit from all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and whilst vitamin C is possibly considered the most potent in regards to immunity, we still cannot discount the overall effectiveness of Niacin for boosting the immune system.
The immune system functions as a natural defence mechanism for the body, protecting us from illness and disease.
This is why people with strong immune systems are generally a great deal healthier than people with weaker immune systems.
One of the many great benefits of Niacin supplementation, is the fact that this vitamin can help to strengthen the immune system, and subsequently help to keep people fitter and healthier.
What Are The Best Sources Of Niacin?
Before we wrap things up, we’ll finish off by taking a quick look at what some of the best natural sources of Niacin actually are.
Whether you’re a bodybuilder, or simply somebody looking to become fitter and healthier, here’s a look at some great natural sources of Niacin, also known as vitamin B3.
- Chicken breast
- Green peas
- Grass fed beef