Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Niacin is Vitamin B3, one of the water soluble B-complex vitamins. One of Niacin’s unique properties is its ability to help you naturally relax and get to sleep more rapidly at night. It is well established that niacin helps reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Another niacin feature is its ability to greatly reduce anxiety and depression.

What it is

The body can manufacture Niacin by converting the amino acid Tryptophan, which is found in eggs, milk and poultry, into the vitamin. About half ofthe Niacin supplied by the average diet comes from the body’s processessing of tryptophan. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and so if useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and has potential in treating osteoporosis as it may help to heal damaged cartilage.

What it does

Niacin in needed to release evergy from carbohydrates. It is also involved in controlling blood sugar, keeping skin healthy and maintaining proper function of the nervous and digestive systems. Niacin also acts to relax blood vessels, making it useful for circulatory problems, such as cramps in the calves (know as intermittent claudication) and Reynauds disease, a conditin which is characterised by numbness and often pain in the hands or feet when exposed to cold.

Major functions include:

  • lowering cholesterol by boosting HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • improving circulation
  • easing arthritis
  • relieving depression
  • preventing progression of type 1 diabetes
  • reducing risk of heart disease
  • controlling blood sugar
  • can help to relieve depression, anxiety and insomnia
  • treating rheumatoid arthritis

Latest findings

In a US study of Niacin’s effect on blood cholesterol, participants who took Niacin supplements had a 17% drop in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, a 16% rise in HDL (“good”cholesterol) and an 18% reduction in triglyceride levels.

In another study, researchers found that people who took it for 12 weeks experienced more joint flexibility, less inflammation and less need for drug anti-inflammatories than those given a placebo, thus indicating strongly that Niacin can be helpful in cases of osteoporosis.


Niacin supplements come in in two forms – nicotinic acid and niacinamide. Both forms can be used by the body for nutritional purposes but both have very differing uses in therapeutic applications.

Care should be taken as over-dosing on Niacin may have serious consequences for patients with low blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease or ulcers. Import


Don’t take over the counter time-release Niacin. It was developed to stop the skin flushing that high doses of nicotinic acid can cause but studies have shown that it can cause liver damage.