How to Get Enough Niacin From Food | Chris Masterjohn Lite #137
Here’s how to get enough niacin from food. Hi, I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. And this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And today we’re going to talk about getting niacin from food. So, the first question is how much do we need? And in this case, I think a good baseline is to make sure we’re meeting our protein requirements, and that means one to two grams of protein per kilogram body weight or a half a gram to a gram of protein per pound of body weight. And then I think on top of that we should aim for 20 milligrams of preformed food niacin. So, that 20 milligrams of preformed food niacin is going to cover the bases of some things that are not clear. For example, the RDA says that women need less than men do, unless they’re pregnant or lactating. The 20 milligrams just kind of brings everybody up so that it should be covering the bases for men, for women, for lactating women, for pregnant women, and if you just aim to shoot to get 20 milligrams of preformed niacin from food, it just means you’re going to be eating a lot of high-quality foods. So, I think it’s a very good place to set our marks for, a good prize to set our eyes on. If you want to look at this for children, I would get 10 milligrams of preformed niacin for every thousand calories in the child’s diet. In terms of the foods that contribute, I would put the foods in five tiers. So, the first tier of foods is foods where if you ate one or more servings, and by serving unless otherwise specified, I mean 100 grams or 3.5 ounces, if you eat one serving from tier one, as long as the rest of your diet is pretty decent, you will hit your niacin target. And the foods in tier one are fresh yellowfin or skipjack tuna but not canned tuna and not bluefin tuna, anchovies, the livers of beef, lamb, or pork but not the livers of poultry, unfortified nutritional yeast in the amount of three heaping tablespoons. Anything in that list you can get just one of those a day, eat the rest of your foods pretty decently, and you’ll be all set. If you’re not really eating much from tier one, you want to think about tier two. Tier two are foods where if you eat two servings from this tier, then as long as the rest of your diet is pretty decent, you will hit your niacin target. In tier two we find peanuts and peanut butter, the livers of veal, chicken, or turkey, most fresh meat products from typical farm animals and typical game as long as they’re pretty lean cuts, and we also find here certain fish. These are canned tuna or fresh bluefin tuna, salmon, mackerel, yellowfin, halibut, American shad, sturgeon Cod, mahi-mahi, or bluefish. And we also find in tier two certain seeds, namely hemp, chia, and sunflower. Eating any of these foods in two servings or more in a day, and of course you can can mix and match the servings will make sure you hit your niacin target. If you’re not eating many foods from the first two tiers, it becomes really important to get a lot of tier three foods. Tier three foods are foods where if you eat three to five servings per day from anything within this tier, and of course you can mix and match them, you’ll hit your niacin target. And in tier three we find most but not all other fin fish that were not mentioned in tier two. However, most shellfish do not occupy tier three. Sesame seeds and tahini, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts, flax seeds, peas, cuts of meat that are not muscle and liver for example like tongue, or cuts of meat that are very fatty generally occupy tier three. Many mushrooms including white, portobello, shiitake, oyster, and cremini. And finally coffee as long as its caffeinated, and if it is Italian roast, which is heavy roast, this is darker than dark roast, and if it’s 10 grams of coffee per cup, then coffee will occupy tier 3. Otherwise it’s going to fall into the next tier. Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are basically the only foods that you should think of as being active positive contributors to your niacin status. Tier 4 are foods that you can safely bulk up on them without worrying about them hurting your niacin status because even in high volume they are contributing some niacin. So as long as you’re not consuming these in bulk to displace foods at the very top of the tier, they’re fairly neutral towards your niacin status. And in tier 4 we have most beans, we have most crustaceans, which are shellfish, crab, lobster. We have processed meats like deli meats, and bacon. We have white potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, and here we have coffee, anything from light roast at the very bottom of supplying about 1 milligram of niacin to dark roast if it’s caffeinated and it’s 10 grams of per cup is contributing 2 milligrams to your niacin requirement. Again, the foods in tier 4 are not niacin superfoods; they’re just foods that contribute a little bit of niacin, and bulking up on them is not going to hurt your niacin status. The tier 5 foods are foods that can be harmless if you make sure to consume niacin super foods to meet your requirement from tiers 1, 2, and 3. But if you don’t secure your niacin requirement from the top 3 tiers first, then bulking up on tier 5 foods is going to actively hurt your niacin status. Tier 5 foods include virtually all foods that were not mentioned in the first four tiers providing that they are not mostly fat, mostly sugar, or unenriched refined flours. Outside of these five tiers fall fat, sugar, and unenriched, refined flours. These foods are going to be the most displacing, and the more you include them in the diet, it’s basically a negative that saps and hurts your niacin status. Two episodes ago I did an episode on how to free the niacin from seeds and grains. If you’re talking about whole grains that are processed in the ways that I described in that episode, which was either an alkaline solution or the combination of sprouting and a sourdough ferment lasting at least eight hours, those whole grains are likely to occupy tier four. There’s a handful of foods that deserve an honorable mention. These are foods that are actually jam-packed full of niacin, but almost no one eats enough of them to make a meaningful contribution to the niacin requirement. In this category we have dried spirulina, chili powder, coriander, paprika, parsley, ginger, tarragon, red or cayenne pepper. If you eat these foods in any combination that adds up to 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of that food, that will become a tier two food. But you really have to be a spice freak to be able to eat those foods in amounts that total 100 grams a day. But hey, if you’re a spice freak, rock it out. This episode is brought to you by Vitamins and Minerals 101. This is my new free 30-day course providing one lesson a day on each nutrient delivered straight to your inbox. It can go to your email or it can go to your Facebook Messenger. If you get the Messenger version it’s taught by Chris MasterBot, my baby bot. It’s more interactive, there are more emojis, and there are more jokes. But both email and Facebook Messenger are incredibly educational. Each lesson covers why the nutrient is important to your health, how to know if you have too little or too much, or the wrong balance with other nutrients, how to get it from food, and when you should think about supplementing. 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Get your copy at chrismasterjohnphd.com/cheatsheet and use the code: LITE20 that’s L I T E and the number 20 LITE20 to get 20% off. For ad-free versions of these episode with transcripts that you can read and getting early access to the episodes often weeks or maybe even months ahead of time, you can sign up for the CMJ Masterpass at chrismasterjohnphd.com/masterpass and use the code: LITE10 to get 10 percent lifetime discount. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at taureanonlinemixing.com. All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. And I will see you in the next episode.