What is Niacin for?
Niacin and niacinamide are forms of Vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is found in many foods including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains. Niacin and niacinamide are also found in many vitamin B complex supplements with other B vitamins.
Niacin is used for high cholesterol. It is also used along with other treatments for circulation problems, migraine headache, dizziness, and to reduce the diarrhea associated with cholera. Niacin is also used for preventing positive urine drug screens in people who take illegal drugs.
Niacinamide is used for treating diabetes and two skin conditions called bullous pemphigoid and granuloma annulare.
Niacin or niacinamide is used for preventing vitamin B3 deficiency and related conditions such as pellagra. Each of these forms of vitamin B3 is used for schizophrenia, hallucinations due to drugs, Alzheimer’s disease and age-related loss of thinking skills, chronic brain syndrome, depression, motion sickness, alcohol dependence, and fluid collection (edema).
Some people use niacin or niacinamide for acne, leprosy, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), memory loss, arthritis, preventing premenstrual headache, improving digestion, protecting against toxins and pollutants, reducing the effects of aging, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, promoting relaxation, improving orgasm, and preventing cataracts.
Niacinamide is applied to the skin for treating a skin condition called inflammatory acne vulgaris.
What is Niacin Possibly Effective for?
• Treatment and prevention of niacin deficiency, and certain conditions related to niacin deficiency such as pellagra. Both niacin and niacinamide are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for these uses. Niacinamide is sometimes preferred because it doesn’t cause “flushing,” (redness, itching and tingling), a side effect of niacin treatment.
• High cholesterol. Only niacin seems to lower cholesterol, not niacinamide. Some niacin products are FDA-approved prescription products for treating high cholesterol. These prescription niacin products typically come in high strengths of 500 mg or higher. Dietary supplement forms of niacin usually come in strengths of 250 mg or less. Since very high doses of niacin are required for high cholesterol, dietary supplement niacin usually isn’t appropriate.
• Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is conflicting evidence regarding the usefulness of niacinamide in combination with other vitamins for the treatment of ADHD.
• Migraine headache.
• Motion sickness.
• Alcohol dependence.
• Improving orgasm.