The Ortho Molecular Answer

Vitamin B3 Niacin


Vitamin B3





  • There are two main forms of this vitamin:


Niacin (Nicotinic Acid)

Niacinamide (Nicotinamide)


  • Niacin functions in the body as a component in the coenzymes NAD and NADP which are involved in over 50 chemical reactions in the body. 


  • Niacin containing enzymes play an important role in energy production; fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrate metabolism; and the manufacture of many body compounds including sex and adrenal hormones.


  • Niacin is essential in the production of energy.  It is also involved in blood sugar regulation, antioxidant mechanisms, and detoxification reactions.  Niacin supplementation exerts a favorable effect on several health conditions, especially high cholesterol levels.



Food Sources


Yeast, Torula

Yeast, Brewers

Rice Bran

Rice Polishings

Wheat Bran


Wild Rice

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower seeds

Brown rice

Pine nuts

Buckwheat, whole-grain

Peppers, red chili

Whole-wheat grain

Whole-wheat flour

Wheat germ



Split peas



Deficiency signs


  • Pellagra


  • Skin develops a cracked scaly surface, the brain does not function properly leading to confusion and dementia and diarrhea results from the impaired manufacture of the mucus lining of the gastrointestinal tract


  • In some clients niacin will increase liver function tests. It is assumed, incorrectly, that elevated liver function tests always means underlying liver pathology. Many other medicines cause the same elevations of liver function tests. Usually after a few days the test results become normal whether or not the niacin is still being taken. But to prevent confusing liver damage with increased activity it is best to stop the niacin for five days and then to do the tests.


  • There are a few side effects which may be a nuisance but are not toxic reactions. Apart from a very few subjects who are allergic to the pills, either the active component or some of the fillers, most of these reactions are dose related. Clients must be informed of the possible side effects both positive and negative.


Side Effects.


Niacin usually causes a flush a few minutes after it is taken. It must be taken at the end of ones meal, never on an empty stomach. With a larger meal the flush is less troublesome.  A few people will flush with 25 milligrams, more with 50 and most with 100 milligrams. The flush begins in the forehead and works its way down the body rarely affecting the toes. The higher the initial dose the greater is the initial flush but if any dose causes a maximum flush a larger dose taken later will not cause any greater flush. The capillaries are dilated and the blood flow through the organs is increased. There is an internal increase in blood in flow as well as in the skin. It may last up to several hours. Clients must be warned that this will happen. If not they may be very surprised and even shocked. Clients can be started on lower doses until they have adjusted to the decreased intensity of the flush. Then the doses may be increased gradually.


Each time the niacin is taken the flush is repeated but to a much lesser degree and in most cases after a week or so it is almost all gone and is a minor nuisance at worst. However some do not tolerate the flush and they will have to discontinue the niacin. If the routine is interrupted several days and then resumed the same sequence of flushing will occur but the initial flush will usually not be as strong as the original one was. Non flush preparations are available for these subjects. The intensity of the flush is minimized by taking the pills after meals and by taking them regularly three times daily. Niacinamide does not cause flushing except in about 1% of the subjects in whom will cause a very unpleasant flush and for these people it can not be used. Probably they convert the niacinamide too rapidly into niacin.