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What is Niacin and What are Their Main Applications?

Also known as nicotinic acid, Niacin is a B vitamin (vitamin B3) commonly used in vitamin supplements and in combination with prescription drugs.

It also occurs naturally in many foods such as eggs, milk, fish, meat, yeast, cereal grains, beans and green vegetables.

What is Niacin?

Niacin is used to treat as well as prevent the deficiency of niacin in the body and to lower triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. It is also used to lower the risk of heart attack in people with high cholesterol levels and have ever had a heart attack. Niacin can also be to treat atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease).

Benefits of Niacin

Improves The LEVELS OF CHOLESTEROL – Niacin is an effective treatment in reducing high cholesterol levels which in turn lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with dyslipidemia, an elevation of triglycerides, cholesterol or both.

Studies suggests that taking Niacin supplements can be very beneficial to people with increased risk of stroke, heart attack or any other heart complications brought about by high levels of LDL cholesterol, increased levels of triglyceride and low levels of HDL cholesterol. It helps to boosts the level of HDL cholesterol and lowers the level of triglyceride and LDL cholesterol.

Lowers The RISK to Cardiovascular Disease – Besides balancing triglycerides and cholesterol levels, Niacin is also beneficial to the heart health. It reduces atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries leading to heart disease. Niacin also reduces inflammation and enhances the production of histamine, a chemical that improves blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels. This in turn reduces the risk to cardiovascular disease.

Treats DIABETES – Because of its role in balancing blood sugar, niacin is helpful in treating diabetes. Studies suggest that when in the form of niacinamide, niacin helps to improve the efficiency of oral drugs used to control diabetes.

As a result, diabetic patients are able to effectively control blood sugar levels. It also helps lowers the risks of heart diseases and high blood cholesterol which is common in patients with diabetes

Maintains SKIN HEALTH – Niacin can also be used to treat severe acne known as inflammatory acne vulgaris. It is prescribed in the form of niacinamide which is applied on the affected areas to clear acne and promote a health skin.

Since niacin reduces skin irritation, flare ups, inflammation and redness, it can also be used to treat certain skin condition such as granuloma annulare and bullous pemphigoid. They are very painful skin diseases that involve blistering and can cause infection.

Boosts The Function of The BRAIN – Studies indicate that niacin can protect one against Alzheimer disease and other brain disorders that results to cognitive decline especially in old age. Also, niacin is connected to decreased risk of problems that involve poor brain function such as memory loss, chronic brain syndrome, migraine headaches, motion sickness, depression, alcohol dependence and insomnia.

Niacin can also be used to prevent as well as treat hallucinations and schizophrenia as well as lower the risk of ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Helps to Treat ARTHRITIS by Enhancing JOINT Mobility – According to research, niacin intake in the form of niacinamide enhances joint mobility by reducing joint pain, enhancing muscle strength and helping to clear the symptoms associated with joint and muscle fatigue.

Treats PELLAGRA – Vitamin B3 Niacin deficiency causes a disease known as pellagra which is characterized by skin irritation and inflammation, digestive problems weak muscles and it is linked to overdependence on corn.

Besides niacin deficiency, other causes of pellagra include inability to convert amino acids and problems with protein metabolism.

If the levels of vitamin B3 are not restored, a person suffering from pellagra can die within a few years.

Usually, niacin deficiency results from malnutrition as well chronic alcoholism. Niacin is given to patients who experience malnutrition and poverty especially in third world countries as well as those battling symptoms of alcoholism including irritability, nervousness loss of consciousness and insomnia.

To treat pellagra, high levels of niacin in the form of niacinamide are prescribed.

Prevents IMPOTENCE – Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a man to get and maintain an erection which is caused by poor blood circulation and low blood flow to the penis. It can also be caused by certain illnesses, fatigue and stress.

Supplementing with niacin helps to decrease impotence as it acts as vasodilator that enhances blood flow to the genital area.

Cons of taking Niacin

Niacin should be replenished regularly because it is dispensed by the body quickly through urination. However, high large doses of niacin can lead to certain health complications such as:

  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Drowsiness
  • Organ damage

Even a normal dose of niacin can cause skin flushing while those who take over 75mg of niacin daily for a long period are prone to liver damage.

Pregnancy and Niacin

According to reports by FDA, niacin is harmful to an unborn baby especially if taken in high doses. Also, it can be excreted in breast milk thereby harming a nursing baby.

Niacin interactions with other Drug

Patients suffering from severe bleeding, stomach ulcers or liver disease should not take niacin. Also, they should avoid taking cholestyamine (prevalite, lochilest, questran) or colestipol (colestid) when taking niacin or take them at least six hours prior to taking niacin. Niacin also interferes with urine tests, therefore, inform the tester when taking a drug test.

Niacin Dosage

Niacin is available in different forms including capsules and tablets and it should be taken as prescribed sometimes at bedtime combined with a low fat diet. Taking medications such as aspirin (Bufferin, bayer, anacin) or ibuprofen at least 30 minutes before niacin intake helps to prevent certain side effects such as headaches and flushing.

The recommended niacin dosage depends on the type of tablets or capsules as well as the condition being treated. Take the capsules or tablets with a glass of cold water without breaking them as too much of the drug may be released.

It is advisable that you always consult the doctor before you begin taking niacin supplements.