VITAMIN B3 & DEFICIENCY CONDITIONS & BENEFITS


Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is a the collective name for two water-soluble vitamins from the vitamin B group:  nicotinic acid (also known as niacin) and niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide).  They exert some similar effects.

Vitamin B3 is used for the treatment of these conditons:

Acne:
Topical niacinamide (one of the two forms of vitamin B3) was recently compared with clindamycin (a standard pharmaceutical antibiotic treatment for acne).  Two months of niacinamide treatment was found to be equal to clindamycin, but without the negative side effects of clindamycin, for
Human study demonstrated that topical application of a gel containing 4% niacinamide twice per day for two months caused substantial improvement in acne patients.

Alcoholism:
The nicotinic acid form of vitamin B3 reduces the craving for alcohol.

Alzheimer’s Disease:
Vitamin B3 helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A clinical study found that persons who consume the least dietary vitamin B3 have a 70% increase in their risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who consume higher amounts.
An animal study using mice found that vitamin B3 helped to prevent the type of neuronal damage that occurs during Alzheimer’s disease.

Anti-Aging & Life Extension:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 helps to retard aging and extend life span via a rather complex process at a cellular level.  A simple explanation for niacinamide’s life extension effect is that it provides “fuel” to a specific cellular protein that protects the DNA in the body’s cells from responding to signals (messages) that instruct cells to die.????

Anxiety:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 has been demonstrated to alleviate anxiety by enhancing the ability of the “calming” neurotransmitter GABA to bind to receptors in the brain. It appears that vitamin B3 is an effective natural alternative to benzodiazepines such as valium for the treatment of anxiety.

Blood Circulation:
The nicotinic acid (niacin) form of vitamin B3 improves blood circulation by causing the dilation (widening) of blood vessels.

Cholesterol:
The niacin (nicotinic acid) form of vitamin B3 lowers total serum cholesterol levels by up to 26%, lowers LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and increases HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) levels.  It also lowers elevated serum triglycerides levels by an average of 52%.

Diabetes Type 2:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 has been shown in a clinical study to lower blood sugar levels in diabetes type 2 patients.  In the study, 50% of diabetes type 2 patients were able to discontinue other blood sugar-lowering medications after vitamin B3 treatment.

Energy:
Vitamin B3 (either niacinamide or nicotinic acid form) is essential for the body’s production of energy. It is used in the production of two of the body’s “universal” energy molecules (adenosine triphosphate and NAD).  This vitamin has been found to reduce fatigue in some preliminary research.

Heart Attacks:
The nicotinic acid (niacin) form of vitamin B3 helps to protect against heart attack and reduces the risk of a second heart attack by 30% in people who have already experienced a prior heart attack.

Hypertension:
The nicotinic acid (niacin) form of vitamin B3 has been reported by some researchers to reduce blood pressure.

Hypoglycemia:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 has been shown to normalize blood sugar levels in hypoglycemia sufferers.

Indigestion:
Insufficient production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach is one of the possible causes of indigestion.  Vitamin B3 facilitates the production of hydrochloric acid.

Intermittent Claudication:
There is significant evidence supporting the effectiveness of the inositol hexanicotinate form of nicotinic acid for the treament of intermittent claudication.
Clinical studies have shown that inositol hexanicotinate increases walking distance in intermittent claudication patients when used for at least three months.
The underlying mechanisms of action include dilation of the arteries, reduced fibrinogen (fibrinolysis) and improved hematocrit levels (all resulting in improved oxygen transport).

Joint Health:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 is a useful treatment for osteoarthritis.
Clinical studies have found that niacinamide therapy improves the global impact of osteoarthritis, improves joint flexibility, improves mobility, reduces inflammation and permits osteoarthritis patients to reduce their dosage of NSAIDS.

Memory:
The nicotinic acid form of vitamin B3 improves memory.
A 1985 double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that supplemental nicotinic acid improved memory in normal, healthy, elderly people by 10% to 40%.

Migraines:
Vitamin B3 helps to prevent migraines.  If supplemental vitamin B3 is taken when the initial symptoms of a new migraine first commence, it sometimes aborts the migraine.

Muscle Cramps:
Some naturopaths claim that nicotinic acid therapy is useful for the treatment of leg cramps where the underlying cause of legs cramps is poor blood circulation to the legs.

Neuralgia:
The nicotinic acid form of vitamin B3 is a very effective treatment for many cases of trigeminal neuralgia. In one human study, nicotinic acid caused a complete cure in 50% of trigeminal neuralgia patients and caused a partial cure in a further 40% of patients.

Osteoarthritis:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 is a useful treatment for osteoarthritis.
Clinical studies have found that niacinamide therapy improves the global impact of osteoarthritis, improves joint flexibility, improves mobility, reduces inflammation and permits osteoarthritis patients to reduce their dosage of NSAIDS.

Painful Menstruation:
A clinical trial conducted during the 1950s found that vitamin B3 therapy alleviated menstrual cramps in 87% of women.

Parkinson’s Disease:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 has been shown to stop the brain cell death caused by MPTP (a chemical used to deliberately cause Parkinson’s disease) and to quench the free radicals produced in the brain by MPTP.

Photosensitivity:
In a clinical study polymorphous light eruption (a form of photosensitivity) patients were treated with the niacinamide form of vitamin B3 for two weeks.  After the treatment the patients were able to tolerate lengthy sunlight exposure without the usual symptoms occurring.
Researchers believe that niacinamide’s effectiveness is due to it correcting an abnormality in polymorphous light eruption patients’ metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan.

Raynaud’s Disease:
Vitamin B3 (inositol hexanicotinate form) has been shown in a clinical study to reduce the number of blood vessel spasms in Raynaud’s disease patients during winter months and to reduce the duration of these spasms.  Patients treated with inositol hexanicotinate felt subjectively “better”.
The mechanisms for inositol hexanicotinate’s effectiveness in Raynaud’s disease are believed to be via its ability to induce vasodilation (open blood vessels), and enhance fibrinolysis (reduce blood clotting), thereby enhancing peripheral blood circulation.

Restless Legs Syndrome:
The nicotinic acid form of vitamin B3 appears to be useful for the treatment of restless legs syndrome due to its ability to improve blood circulation to the legs.

Stress:
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 is an adjunct in the treatment of excessive stress.  It enhances the stress-reducing effects of the calming neurotransmitter, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Sunburn:
Preliminary reports indicate that people whose skin is more prone to sunburn than normal may be deficient in vitamin B3.

Tinnitus:
Some tinnitus patients are reported to respond to high doses of vitamin B3.  If there is no improvement after 3-4 months of vitamin B3 treatment, then it is not likely that it will be of benefit.
There is no clinical proof for the effectiveness of niacin in treating tinnitus.  However, there are numerous anecdotal reports of response to niacin to treat tinnitus.

Dosage:
Up to 500 mg per day (using niacin).
Up to 6,000 mg per day (using niacinamide).
For the treatment of acne, niacinamide gel is applied topically to the skin, twice per day.

References

Acne

· Shalita, A. R., et al.  Topical nicotinamide compared with clindamycin gel in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris.  Internat J Dermatol.  34(6):434-437, 1995.

Alcoholism

· Smith, R. F.  A five-year field trial of massive nicotinic acid therapy of alcoholics in Michigan.  Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry.  3:327-331, 1974.

Anti-Aging & Life Extension

· Anderson, R. M., et al.  Nicotinamide and PNC1 govern lifespan extension by calorie restriction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Nature.  423(6936):181-185, 2003.

Anxiety

· Akhundov, R. A., et al.  [Psychoregulating role of nicotinamide.]  Biull Eksp Biol Med.  115(5):487-491, 1993.

Blood Circulation

· The Directory of Life Extension Supplements.  Life Extension Media, Florida, USA.  2000:228.

Cholesterol/Triglycerides

· El-Enein, A. M. A., et al.  The role of nicotinic acid and inositol hexaniacinate as anticholesterolemic and antilipemic agents.  Nutr Reports Int.  28:899-911, 1983.

Diabetes Type 2

· Cleary, J. P.  Vitamin B3 in the treatment of diabetes mellitus:  case reports and review of literature.  J Nutr Med.  1:217-225, 1990.

Energy

· Vargiu, R., et al.  Enhancement of muscular performance by a coformulation of propionyl-L-carnitine, coenzyme Q(10), nicotinamide, riboflavin and pantothenic acid in the rat.  Physiol Behav.  76(2):257-63, 2002.

Heart Attack

· Canner, P. L., et al.  Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients:  long-term benefit with niacin.  J Am Coll Cardiol.  8(6):1245-1255, 1986.

Hypertension

Gadegbeku, C. A., et al.  Hemodynamic effects of nicotinic acid infusion in normotensive and hypertensive subjects.  Am J Hypertens.  16(1):67-71, 2003.

Hypoglycemia

Shansky, A.  Vitamin B3 in the alleviation of hypoglycemia.  Drug and Cosmetic Industry.  129(4):68, 1981.

Indigestion

· Prousky, J. E.  Is vitamin B3 dependency a causal factor in the development of hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria?  Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.  16(4): 225-237, 2001.

Intermittent Claudication

O’Hara, J., et al.  The therapeutic efficacy of inositol nicotinate (Hexopal) in intermittent claudication: a controlled trial.  Br J Clin Practice.  42:377-383, 1988.

Joint Health

· Kaufman, W.  Niacinamide therapy for joint mobility.  Therapeutic reversal of a common clinical manifestation of the normal aging process.  Connecticut State Med J.  17:584-589, 1953.

Memory

· Loriaux, S. M., et al.  The effects of nicotinic acid (niacin) and xanthinol nicotinate on human memory in different categories of age:  A double blind study.  Psychopharmacology.  87:390-395, 1985.

Migraine

· Velling, D. A., et al.  Sustained-release niacin for prevention of migraine headache.  Mayo Clin Proc.  78(6):770-771, 2003.

Muscle Cramps

· Haas, Elson M.  Staying Healthy with Nutrition.  Celestial Arts, Berkeley, California, USA.  1992:118.

Neuralgia

· Furtado, D., et al.  Treatment of trigeminal neuralgia with nicotinic acid.  Rev Clin Espan.  5:416, 1942.

Osteoarthritis

· Kaufman, W.  Niacinamide therapy for joint mobility.  Therapeutic reversal of a common clinical manifestation of the normal aging process.  Connecticut State Med J.  17:584-589, 1953.

Painful Menstruation (Dysmenorrhea)

· Hudgins, A. P.  Vitamins P, C and niacin for dysmenorrhea therapy.  West J Surg.  610-611, 1954.

Parkinson’s Disease

· Mukherjee, S. K., et al.  Increased brain NAD prevents neuronal apoptosis in vivo.  European Journal of Pharmacology.  330(1):27-34, 1997.

Photosensitivity

· Neumann, R., et al.  Treatment of polymorphous light eruption with nicotinamide: a pilot study.  British Journal of Dermatology.  115(1):77-80, 1986.

Raynaud’s Disease

· Sunderland, G. T., et al.  A double blind randomized placebo controlled trial of Hexopal in primary Raynaud’s disease.  Clin Rheum.  7(1):46-49, 1988.

Restless Legs Syndrome

· Monograph:  Inositol hexanicotinate.  Altern Med Rev.  3(3), 1998.

Tinnitus

Segala, M. (editor).  Disease Prevention and Treatment 3rd Edition.  Life Extension Media.  Florida, USA.  2000:314-315.

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