Niacin (Nicotinic acid) may help lower cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease, ease arthritis and boost brain function – it may also reduce blood pressure.
Low doses of niacin have shown benefit for blood sugar control in several studies, and the effects seemed to be enhanced with the addition of vitamin C.
This is the niacin I use.
The “flush” is pretty intense. I’ve recently pondered on whether the niacin flush is addictive or not.
Some details on Niacin (B3):
Niacin is water-soluble, so your body doesn’t store it. This also means that your body can excrete excess amounts of the vitamin if it’s not needed.
Niacin helps convert food into energy by aiding enzymes.
Niacin is a major component of NAD and NADP, two coenzymes involved in cellular metabolism.
All tissues in the body convert absorbed niacin into its main active form, the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Over 400 enzymes in your body need NAD to carry out processes, so it is vital that your body has enough vitamin B3 (niacin) to make sufficient NAD.
It plays a role in cell signaling and making and repairing DNA.
These are some of the symptoms of niacin deficiency:
- Memory loss and mental confusion
Niacin flush is a common side effect of taking high doses of niacin supplements. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s harmless.
High doses of nicotinic acid trigger a response that causes your capillaries to expand, which increases the flow of blood to the skin’s surface.
Sustained-release niacin tablets deliver the vitamin to the body in a slower fashion over many hours. This reduces the intensity of the flushing but this type of niacin causes liver damage in some people.
No-flush niacin contains something called inositol nicotinate, which the body is supposed to slowly convert to niacin. However, there is evidence that it does not actually provide the body with much niacin. This is probably the reason it does not produce any flushing. Of course, this also means that no-flush niacin does not have any of the beneficial effects on cholesterol.
You also shouldn’t take high doses of niacin if you’re pregnant since it’s considered a category C drug, meaning at high doses, it could cause birth defects.