Niacinamide is one of the two forms of vitamin B3, the other form being nicotinic acid. Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin.
Niacinamide (niacin) B3 is one of eight B vitamins your body needs for good health.
Vitamin B3 plays a vital role in converting the food you eat into usable energy and helps your body’s cells carry out important chemical reactions. Its water soluble so your body does not store this vitamin which is why you need Niacinamide daily.
Benefits and uses
Aside being the preferred form to treat Pellagra, niacinamide has several other health benefits and uses.
Helpful for certain skin conditions:
Niacinamide plays an important role in keeping your skin healthy; For this reason, it’s a popular additive in the cosmetic and skincare industry.
When applied topically or taken orally as a supplement, niacinamide has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
It has been used to treat acne and rosacea; a facial skin condition characterized by redness. This makes niacinamide a popular alternative to oral or topical antibiotics for treating acne or rosacea.
Actinickeratoses and non-melanoma skin cancer:
In double blind studies of patients with actinic keratoses, with or without a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, oral administration of niacinamide 6 times a day for 12 weeks significantly decreased the number of actinic keratoses and significantly reduced the incidence of new non-melanoma skin cancers. Niacinamide is believed to work by preventing ultraviolent irradiation induces immunosuppression. Niacinamide has been shown to enhance DNA repair in UV damaged skin in humans.
Acne ( topical niacinamide)
Niacinamide has an anti-inflammatory effect and has been used both topically and orally to treat a variety of inflammatory skin disorders. In a double-blind placebo trial, topical application of a gel containing 4% niacinamide twice a day for 8 weeks was at least as effective as 1% clindamycin in patents with inflammatory acne. Similar results were seen in other double-blind trials comparing niacinamide with clindamycin.
Niacinamide helps build proteins in the skin and offers protection against environmental damage.
Supplementation of Niacinamide in doses of 900 -4,000mg per day produced good results in more that 600 patients with Osteoarthritis. Treatment with Niacinamide often resulted in an increase in joint mobility, as well as subjective improvements in joint discomfort, inflammation, and pain. Benefits were evident three to four weeks after commencement of treatment. Progressive improvement continued for 1 – 3 years if niacinamide was continued orally.
The beneficial effect of niacinamide was confirmed in a double-blind placebo trial published in 1996. In that study supplementation with 500mg of niacinamide 6 times a day for twelve weeks significantly decreased mean disease severity by 29% and significantly increased joint range motion.
Abram Hoffer one of the pioneers of the use of diet and nutritional supplements to treat schizophrenia, worked with more than 5,000 schizophrenic patients over a 50-year period. According to Hoffer, 90% of acute schizophrenics (ie. Those who have been sick less than 2 years or have had several remissions and relapses) recover within 2 years, and 65-75% of chronic schizophrenics are much improved or well within 10nyears. Niacin or niacinamide (usually 1g 3 times a day) along with 3g per day of vitamin c was a key component of the treatment.
Several double-blind placebo trials confirmed the efficacy of vitamin B3 in the treatment of schizophrenia, but vitamin B3 was ineffective in a number of other clinical trials. None of the trials lasted long enough to examine Hoffers clinical observations regarding the efficacy of long-term treatment.
Anxiety is one of the manifestations of severe vitamin B3 deficiency (pellagra). A number of practitioners have observed that supplementation with large doses of niacinamide can relieve anxiety in some patients. This anti-anxiety effect is presumably pharmaceutical, since patients who improved typically did not appear to be deficient in B vitamins, and nutritional doses of niacinamide (such as 20-100mg per day) were of little or no benefit. Studies in mice and vitro have found that niacinamide has benzodiazepine like actions. In my experience, niacinamide in doses ranging from 500mg twice per day to 1,000mg 3 times per day is beneficial for some patients with anxiety, including patients with anxiety related alcohol abuse.
Niacinamide (niacin) can help with depression mood disorders.
Depression is characterised by intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness that may interfere with daily life.
Some people living with depression claim that vitamin B3 niacinamide has helped.
They say it reduces the feelings of sadness, and others have said it completely makes their depression go away.
There is proof that some people with depression may actually be deficient in B vitamins.
Not getting enough B vitamins every day can cause both physical and mental consequences. The most common are.
Serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals involved in depression alongside dopamine. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, regulate mood. Serotonin deficiency can lead to depression. This is why antidepressants known as SSRs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are so effective at treating depression.
Serotonin is created by an amino acid called tryptophan niacin is part of the 4 metabolising process of forming serotonin from tryptophan therefore niacinamide (niacin) deficiency can directly impact mood by affecting your production of serotonin.
Administration of large doses of niacinamide has been reported to prevent the development of glaucoma in mice that are genetically prone to developing glaucoma. Niacinamide did not decrease the elevated intraocular pressure, but, rather, appeared to protect the optic nerve against the deleterious effects of elevated intraocular pressure. Further research is needed to determine whether niacinamide can prevent glaucoma in humans.
May slow the progression of type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which your body attacks and destroys the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas.
It’s been suggested that niacinamide protects and preserves the beta calls, thereby preventing and delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes in at-risk individuals.
However, research doesn’t support the notion that niacinamide can prevent to onset of type 1 diabetes, although it may help delay its progression by preserving beta cell function, so more medical research is needed to back up the claims.
The most frequently used therapeutic doses of niacinamide are 500 – 3,000 mg per day. Because of its relatively short half-life, niacinamide should be taken in at least 3 divided doses per day. According to one practitioner, 250mg of niacinamide taken 6 times per day is more effective than 500mg taken 3 times per day in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Vitamin B3 is generally found as niacinamide in animal-based products, such as meat and poultry, and as nicotinic acid in plant-based foods like nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.
Many refined grain products, including cereals are fortified with niacinamide.
Your body can also make vitamin B3 from tryptophan, an amino acid present in most protein foods. However, the conversion of tryptophan to vitamin B3 in inefficient, as it takes 60mg of tryptophan to make just 1 mg of vitamin B3.
Historically, vitamin B3 was called vitamin PP, an acronym for pellagra preventive.
That’s because a deficiency of vitamin B3 or tryptophan leads to a disease called pellagra, which is characterised by four D’s – diarrhoea, dermatitis, dementia and, if left untreated death.
Pellagra is rare in developed countries like north America and Europe, but the disease is still frequent in some developing countries.
Niacinamide is generally well tolerated in appropriate doses, largely because excess amounts are excreted with your urine.
There have been reports of minor side effects associated with nicotinamide such as stomach discomfort, nausea and headaches.
It does not cause skin flushing using niacinamide as it does with Nicotinic acid (niacin). This is where the skin becomes flushed red with itching and tingling to the skin areas all over the body.