Feature Story
Keep Your Arteries Clear

Checklist
Helpful Supplements

Cooking Corner
Make a Romantic, Heart-Healthy Meal

In the News
Fish Fats Fight Heart Disease

Vitamins & Minerals
Niacin

Herbal Remedies
Fiber

Everyday Answers
Is Salt Really Bad for Heart Health?

Next Month 

  • Allergy Prevention
  • Vital Vitamin E
  • Low-Allergin Dish

 

Niacin and Niacinamide

The body uses the water-soluble vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from carbohydrates. It is needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. The niacin form of vitamin B3 also regulates cholesterol, though niacinamide does not.

Uses

High Cholesterol
1,500 to 3,000 mg daily under a doctor's supervision
High amounts (several grams per day) of niacin, a form of vitamin B3, have been shown to lower cholesterol.

Osteoarthritis
Refer to label instructions
Supplemental niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) has been reported to increase joint mobility, improve muscle strength, and decrease fatigue in people with osteoarthritis.

Dysmenorrhea
200 mg daily throughout menstrual cycle; for cramps: 100 mg every two to three hours
The niacin form of vitamin B3 has been reported to be effective in relieving menstrual cramps in 87% of a group of women supplementing with it throughout the menstrual cycle.

Peripheral Vascular Disease
1,200 mg a day of inositol hexaniacinate
Vitamin B3 may help prevent and treat skin ulcers caused by peripheral vascular disease.

How to Use It

In part because it is added to white flour, most people generally get enough vitamin B3 from their diets to prevent a deficiency. However, 10–25 mg of the vitamin can be taken as part of a B-complex or multivitamin supplement. Larger amounts are used for the treatment of various health conditions.

Where to Find It

The best food sources of vitamin B3 are peanuts, brewer’s yeast, fish, and meat. Some vitamin B3 is also found in whole grains.

Side Effects

Niacinamide is almost always safe to take in amounts of 1,000 mg per day or less, though rare liver problems have occurred at amounts in excess of 1,000 mg per day. Niacin, in amounts as low as 50–100 mg, may cause flushing, headache, and stomachache in some people. Doctors sometimes prescribe very high amounts of niacin (as much as 3,000 mg per day or more) for certain health problems. These large amounts can cause liver damage, diabetes, gastritis, damage to eyes, and elevated blood levels of uric acid (which can cause gout). Symptoms caused by niacin supplements, such as flushing, have been reduced with sustained-release (also called ‘time-release’) niacin products. However, sustained-release forms of niacin have caused significant liver toxicity in some cases and, rarely, liver failure. One partial time-release (intermediate-release) niacin product has demonstrated clinical efficacy without flushing, and also with much less of the liver function abnormalities typically associated with sustained-release niacin formulations. However, this form of niacin is available by prescription only.

In a controlled clinical trial, 1,000 mg or more per day of niacin raised blood levels of homocysteine, a substance associated with increased risk of heart disease. Since other actions of niacin lower heart disease risk, the importance of this finding is unclear. Nonetheless, for all of the reasons discussed above, large amounts of niacin should never be taken without consulting a doctor.

The inositol hexaniacinate form of niacin has not been linked with the side effects associated with niacin supplementation. In a group of people being treated alternatively with niacin and inositol hexaniacinate for skin problems, niacin supplementation (50–100 mg per day) was associated with numerous side effects, including skin flushing, nausea, vomiting and agitation. In contrast, people taking inositol hexaniacinate experienced no complaints whatsoever, even at amounts two to five times higher than the previously used amounts of niacin. However, the amount of research studying the safety of inositol hexaniacinate remains quite limited. Therefore, people taking this supplement in large amounts (2,000 mg or more per day) should be under the care of a doctor.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

Vitamin B3 works with vitamin B1 and vitamin B2 to release energy from carbohydrates. Therefore, these vitamins are often taken together in a B-complex or multivitamin supplement (although most B3 research uses niacin or niacinamide alone).


Copyright © 2010 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Aisle7 content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Aisle7. Healthnotes Newsletter is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Aisle7 shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. AISLE7 is a registered trademark of Aisle7.

Aisle7, 215 NW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97209,
Info@Aisle7.net, www.Aisle7.net

About | For Industry | Lookup | In the News | Newsletter | Donate
Copyright 2010 Dietary Supplement Education Alliance | Privacy Policy