Saturday, February 21, 2009

This Afternoon I Turned Into A Tomato

Today as I was making lunch I noticed a hot sensation in my face and began to wonder... So I went over to a mirror and to my dismay my face was beet red and it was spreading in blotches down my body! What could this possibly be!? Well I did buy a different kind of vegetarian multi-vitamins this week, maybe that had something to do with it. On the label, I discovered the answer: "Contains niacin, which may cause harmless and transient flushing and itching". Damn you niacin for temporarily turning me a different colour and making me "flush" uncomfortably!

What's the difference between a standard once-a-day multi-vitamin and a vegetarian multi-vitamin? What's the deal with niacin?

A vegetarian multi-vitamin will usually contain more variations of the B vitamin, especially that of B12 which is the hardest B vitamin to acquire on a veg diet.

Meat-eaters consume B minerals largely in animal products but they are found in many types of food as all vitamins are.

Niacin is also referred to as Vitamin B3, making in a part of the B vitamin category.

Niacin or B3 is also found in a variety of food sources but as I learned on Wellness Blog our body makes the niacin we need from tryptophan, an amino acid obtained from protien. Since veg's eat alternative protiens, niacin is included in some but not all vegetarian multi-vitamins.

The purpose of consuming Niacin in mineral form is rooted in treating various deficiencies

After some investigation I found that what I experienced is an almost always reported side effect of consuming niacin. I knew I should have followed the directions and not taken the 2 capsules on an empty stomach, a factor which severely increases the chances of turning into a tomato. Half an hour later and back in my everyday skin. Since I do not have any singular problem or deficiency which I would need niacin for, I am not going to continue taking this particular multi-vitamin! I can get B vitamins by finding another brand or switching back to the other non-side-effective one I was taking which did not contain B3. I will switch back to the multi-vitamin that I was taking before. Upon looking into it I actually found that it also contains B3 as most veg multi-vitamins do except they have a time release that prevents flushing completely! Goodbye neck and facial flushing!

Check out the Wellness Blog post about finding the right multi-vitamin to learn more about vitamins and why certain kinds of people, such as vegetarians, should be concerned about them more than the average bear.


  1. Hey this is neat, I take a B12 every day and just ran out....I certainly won't be picking up those ones ;)

  2. yah I actually found out that Niacin is found in most energy drinks including Red Bull. Its also in those little 5-hour-energy bottles that have the redness warning right on the label!

  3. That happened to me before! It was weird because my Mom and sister took the same multi-vitamin and had no problem. Maybe I took them on a empty stomach like you do.. I don't remember.
    But kinda freaks you out to get all blotchy like that, and it burns too.

  4. i stopped eating meat last year for about nine months & knew i needed to start taking some sort of multivitamin but never got around to it since i didnt know where to start. i recently decided to try going vegetarian again so this was definitely helpful!

    i have a friend who's considering it too so i turned her onto your blog! i know she'll enjoy your obama post in particular lol.

  5. I never knew this!
    I never take multi-vitamins and taking b12 is somewhat of a controversial in the vegan community (or I have read in some vegan network sites).

  6. really why is it controversial? there was an article I saw (in the Windsor Star mind you but interesting nonetheless). It was about B12 and how it is so important for women who are pregnant or want to get pregnanat because a significant lack of it (potentially experienced by veg's) causes neurological problems of the fetus. CRAZY!

  7. i just saw a news segment the other night on b12 being important for pregnant women; guess Windsor Star got it right lol.