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Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is essential in the breakdown of fats and proteins. Niacin also plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the hair, eyes, skin, nervous system, mouth, liver, and muscles of the intestinal tract, without which we would be stuck with a bunch of rotting matter we don’t want. Niacin helps the body rid itself of toxins. L. Ron Hubbard, of Scientology fame, discusses detoxing with Vit B3 extensively on his website. A variety of sex and stress-related hormones produced by the adrenal glands and other parts of the body rely on Vitamin B3 also. Niacin reduces cholesterol in the blood and improves circulation. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center site, your

niacin needs can be partially met by eating foods containing protein because the human body is able to convert tryptophan, an amino acid, into niacin.

Symptoms of Niacin Deficiency:

  • Mild: indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, and depression, burning in the mouth and a swollen, bright red tongue
  • Severe: cracked, scaly skin, dementia, and diarrhea, which is called Pellagra
  • Additional less obvious signs of niacin deficiency can be candidiasis (yeast overgrowth) and varicose veins (due to spleen imbalance brought on by digestive imbalance, caused by insufficient gastric acid production which allows an overgrowth of yeast and a lowered absorption of all nutrients, thus also leading to various types of anemia).

Causes of Niacin Deficiency:

  • alcoholism, which is the primary cause of Vitamin B3 deficiency in the United States
  • a corn-based diet, if that corn has not been fertilized with lime. Lime releases tryptophan in the corn, and the tryptophan can be converted by the body into Vitamin B3.

Diseases Niacin helps with:

  • Acne
  • Skin cancer
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Burns
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Osteoarthritis – helps to increase joint mobility and repair cartilege, common problems with arthritis. Vitamin B3, taken in the form of niacinimide, may take 3 weeks to show signs of improvement, and studies are showing that long-term use may decrease progression of arthritis.
  • Overgrowth of Candida yeast.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Alzheimer’s disease/ cognitive decline
  • Headaches
  • Liver cancer
  • High blood phosphorous level (hyperphosphatemia)
  • Skin conditions
  • Anemia
  • Varicose veins
  • Lymph problems

Niacin increases gastric acid production, which helps the body to rid itself of candida overgrowth and to break down and absorb nutrients properly. This allows the body to heal itself and to function properly.

Here is an additional list from the Mayo Clinic of diseases that niacin is reported to heal but which the Mayo Clinic says are insufficiently-tested:

Acne, alcohol dependence, anti-aging, anxiety, arrhythmia, Bell’s palsy, blood circulation improvement, bone marrow damage from chemotherapy, brain damage, cancer prevention, cataract prevention, central nervous system disorders, cholera, chronic diarrhea, confusion, coronary heart disease (CHD), deafness, depression, diagnostic test for schizophrenia, diarrhea, digestion improvement, dizziness, drug-induced hallucinations, edema, hearing loss, high blood pressure, HIV prevention, hyperactivity, hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid function), insomnia, ischemia-reperfusion injury prevention, leprosy, liver disease, low blood sugar, memory loss, Ménière’s syndrome, motion sickness, multiple sclerosis, orgasm improvement, painful menstruation, peripheral vascular disease / claudication, photosensitivity, pregnancy problems, premenstrual headache prevention, premenstrual syndrome, prostate cancer, psoriasis, psychosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, schizophrenia, scleroderma, sedative, seizure, smoking cessation, stomach ulcer, tardive dyskinesia, taste disturbances (diminished/distorted sense of taste), thyroid disease, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), tuberculosis, tumor detection, ulcers, vascular spasm, vertigo.

As with many non-pharmaceutical treatments, the efficacy of niacin is disputed and/or some doctors feel that more research needs to be done. Work with your doctor to find what does work for you, but often the food-as-medicine approach works better than drugs. Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves, given the removal of toxins and the provision of proper healthy resources like rest, fun, healthy, balanced diet, and exercise.

Niacin-Rich Foods:

  • beets
  • brewer’s yeast
  • beef liver
  • beef kidney
  • pork
  • turkey
  • chicken
  • veal
  • salmon
  • swordfish
  • tuna
  • sunflower seeds
  • peanuts

Good Niacin Food Choices:

Yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereal grains.

Cautions:

Since it’s possible to cause damage to your liver by taking niacin supplements, it is, as the Peacock & Paisley Blog always recommends, preferable to ingest your vitamin b3 as food. Food is the best medicine. If you are in a pickle and are fighting cancer or severe heart and artery disease, your doctor may prescribe niacin in the form of niacinamide, nicotinic acid, or inositol hexaniacinate. Inositol hexaniacinate is the form reputed to be the best tolerated and producing the fewest side-effects. However, niacinamide, nicotinic acid and inositol hexaniacinate can damage the very things that people are trying to heal. They can cause liver damage, a burning, tingling sensation in the face and chest, and red or “flushed” skin, stomach ulcers, muscle inflammation, and over time can cause an imbalance of the other B vitamins if it is not taken as a “bouquet” or “B vitamin complex”. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be extremely cautious as there has been very little testing done.

Work closely with your healthcare provider if you are taking any of the following:

  • Tetracycline
  • Aspirin
  • Blood Pressure Medications, Alpha-blockers
  • Cholesterol-lowering Medications
  • Diabetes Medications including insulin, metformin, glyburide, glipizide, or other medications used to treat high blood sugar levels
  • Isoniazid (INH) Used to treat tuberculosis, may deplete levels of niacin and cause a deficiency
  • Nicotine Patches may worsen or increase the risk of flushing reactions

As with any detoxifying process, increasing Vitamin B3 can release toxins from the body which can then lead to a relapse or increase of symptoms. However, alternative medicine naturopathic healers encourage riding this out, as your body is releasing and detoxifying and will eventually right itself. Remember, work with an appropriate healthcare provider as you do this.

Resources:

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b3-000335.htm

http://drugrehab.lronhubbard.org/eng/drugreha/page39.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/niacin/NS_patient-niacin

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