Niacin And Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
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Niacin and niacinamide are required for the proper function of fats and sugars in the body and to maintain healthy cells. At high doses, niacin and niacinamide can have different effects. Niacin might help people with heart disease because of its beneficial effects on clotting. It may also improve levels of a certain type of fat called triglycerides in the blood. Niacinamide has no beneficial effects on fats and should not be used for treating high cholesterol or high fat levels in the blood.
Niacin deficiency can cause a condition called pellagra, which causes skin irritation, diarrhea, and dementia. Pellagra was common in the early twentieth century, but is less common now, since foods are now fortified with niacin. Pellagra has been virtually eliminated in western culture.
People with poor diet, alcoholism, and some types of slow-growing tumors called carcinoid tumors might be at risk for niacin deficiency.
itching, and redness of the face, arms, and chest, as well as headaches. Starting with small doses of niacin and taking 325 mg of aspirin before each dose of niacin will help reduce the flushing reaction. Usually, this reaction goes away as the body gets used to the medication. Alcohol can make the flushing reaction worse. Avoid large amounts of alcohol while taking niacin.
Other minor side effects of niacin and niacinamide are stomach upset, intestinal gas, dizziness, pain in the mouth, and other problems.
When doses of over 3 grams per day of niacin are taken, more serious side effects can happen. These include liver problems, gout, ulcers of the digestive tract, loss of vision, high blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, and other serious problems. Similar side effects can happen with large doses of niacinamide.
Some concern has been raised about stroke risk in people taking niacin. In one large study, people who took high doses of niacin had a two-fold greater risk of stroke compared to those not taking niacin. But it is unclear if this outcome was due to niacin or some other unknown factor. Previous research has not identified any stroke risk related to taking niacin. Most experts believe that it is too soon to jump to any conclusions about niacin and strokes.
Niacinamide is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately in children.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Niacin and niacinamide are LIKELY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women when taken in the recommended amounts. The recommended amount of niacin for pregnant or breast-feeding women is 30 mg per day for women under 18 years of age, and 35 mg for women over 18.
Allergies: Niacin and niacinamide can make allergies more severe because they cause histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic symptoms, to be released. .
Heart disease/unstable angina: Large amounts of niacin and niacinamide can increase the risk of irregular heartbeat. Use with caution.
Diabetes: Niacin and niacinamide might increase blood sugar. People with diabetes who take niacin or niacinamide should check their blood sugar carefully.
Gallbladder disease: Niacin and niacinamide might make gallbladder disease worse.
Gout: Large amounts of niacin or niacinamide might bring on gout.
Low blood pressure: Don't take niacin or niacinamide if you have low blood pressure. Your blood pressure might drop too much.
Liver disease: Niacin or niacinamide might increase liver damage. Don't use them if you have liver disease.
Kidney disease: Niacin might accumulate in people with kidney disease and cause harm. Don't use them if you have kidney disease.
Stomach or intestinal ulcers: Niacin or niacinamide might make ulcers worse. Don't use them if you have ulcers.
Surgery: Niacin and niacinamide might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking niacin or niacinamide at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.