What are some of the most common niacin benefits? Niacin is part of the vitamin B family, also known as B3 and nicotinic acid. Among the health benefits, niacin has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and panic attacks.
What Is Niacin?
Niacin is a colorless, water-soluble element and is considered to be a building block of various enzymes and coenzymes. Beyond nicotinic acid, niacin is also associated with amide and nicotinamide. According to Wikipedia, "niacin, nicotinamide, and vitamin B3 are often used interchangeably." Niacin participates in our metabolic and living cells and has been show to help DNA repair as well as producing steroid hormones in our adrenal glands. Niacin benefits vary depending upon form and health needs. For example niacin may be prescribed to help lower cholesterol, however nicotinamide is usually not used for cholesterol lowering as it can cause cramps or flushing and other side effects. High doses of nicotinamide can be toxic to the liver. The formula for niacin is C5H4NCO2H.
Common Niacin Benefits
Here are some of the most common niacin benefits:
- Cholesterol - Niacin, if prescribed and followed closely by your physician, helps to lower bad cholesterol or LDL and increase good cholesterol HDL. It is also often more affordable than statin drugs like Lipitor®. Most doctors who choose this route to lower cholesterol will begin a patient at a 100mg dose per day and increase the dose slowly to up to 1500mg per day. Side effects include flushing and cramping in the legs and arms. Other ways doctors use niacin to help reduce cholesterol is through a nicotinic acid powder that is added to water or juice. People with high-cholesterol levels who don't benefit from statin drugs alone, often use B3 in this powder form as it works with your intestines to flush out bad cholesterol after each meal.
- Depression - Some people who suffer from anxiety and depression, including panic attacks have achieved benefits from taking niacin. Niacin has been shown to help nerve cell function that causes anxiety, which often leads to depression.
- Raynaud's Disease - Raynaud's Disease is a circulatory ailment that affects arteries and veins. Niacin can help increase blood flow in our extremities. Niacin also aids in the relief of numbness and pain associated with circulatory conditions such as Raynaud's Disease.
- Diabetes - Those who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and are insulin dependent are often prescribed niacin by their physicians to help slow conditions and symptoms of diabetes. This usually requires a high dose per day and should be monitored by a doctor.
- Arthritis - Both arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients have found relief from niacin. Not only does it have a calming effect on joints, it helps to reduce inflammation, a common issue with arthritic conditions.
- Tinnitus - People who suffer from tinnitus, or ringing in the ears have found relief by taking niacin due to its help in opening up blood vessels in our brains.
- Alzheimer's Symptoms - Niacin benefits include alleviating the symptoms of Alzheimer 's disease although it has not been shown to cure it.
Dosage and Tips For Niacin
The normal dosage recommended by both doctors and herbalists is fourteen milligrams per day for women and sixteen milligrams a day for men. This dosage is the best and most beneficial for a person's daily intake of niacin. Foods that we eat every day that include niacin are tuna, salmon, tuna, beef, chicken, and eggs. Fruits and vegetables full of niacin benefits include avocados, carrots, dates, asparagus, and sweet potatoes.
To achieve other niacin benefits as mentioned above, a doctor might prescribe a much higher dose, starting out slow and raising the dose to the desired level. If you are seeking relief of any ailment through the use of niacin, it's best to contact your doctor to help you reach the recommended dose.
Niacin supplements are available at grocery stores, health food stores, and pharmacies, as well as online. If you're unsure which type to purchase, ask your pharmacist or doctor to reap the most niacin benefits.