Niacin (B3) Health Benefits

| Modified on Jan 27, 2023
ED, Arthritis, High Cholesterol
Posted by Paracelsus (Orlando, Fl) on 01/15/2018 47 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Niacin eliminates ED, arthritis and improves cholesterol and much much more.

Niacin is probably the most underappreciated vitamin. I read a book on Niacin (Drs Hoffer and Saul) and put the vitamin to test on myself. Read the article on Niacin on doctoryourself dot com. I eliminated arthritis from my fingers, increased libido, erections and quality of intercourse. Niacin is supposed to have great effects on mental conditions as well. It is used to help people break addictions to alcohol. Side effects include longer life (around 3 years added life expectancy) and flushing. I only use the flush niacin not the flush free niacin. The flush free niacin helps for some conditions but not for all. Especially it does not improve cholesterol (niacin lowers LDL or bad cholesterol and increases HDL).

I take around 500mg per day which is pretty low. Dr. Hoffer and others usually prescribed 1000 mg to 3000 mg daily. I believe in adjusting the dose to where you see results. I see results at 500mg, so I haven't gone much beyond that (some days I'll take 1000mg). Also, if you want to minimize or eliminate the flush, only take Niacin on a full stomach. On an empty stomach, the flush will be intense. Also, work yourself up to higher doses. Start with 50mg 3x per day and work up to 1000 mg per day.

If I could only take one supplement, it would definitely be Niacin. It is king in my opinion.

Niacin Flush
Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile , Tn) on 08/04/2018

HI U CANDACE,,,,,,Some 20 years ago I learned from my MD that he had no clue. The minimum Rx is 500 mg and that will chill out everyone. You have to start out slow like my hair detox gal did. You start out slow and build to the level required for your situation.

This health thing is not that difficult. You have to detox, build up your immune system..... get some sleep. No it's not that simple. First you need knowledge. Then you need to act on that knowledge. I have been at this for 14 years and still know just enough to be spooked.

But I have cured my cancer twice, so you can heal while learning. Right now I'm getting old. I don't have a cure for that. I do try to eat right. Sleep best I cans. And stir the pot. I excel at that.


Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 09/11/2012

Hi Danny... My feeling is that if you believe and feel that niacin or niacinamide is causing your nausea problems then you should cut back or stop using it.

There is some research evidence that suggests that niacin is not beneficial to the liver in larger amounts but this directly conflicts with Abram Hoffer's view that larger amounts of niacin are protective to the body. I myself am evidence of this and Abram Hoffer took between 500 mgs and 6 grams of niacin for decades and he was an expert on this vitamin. He also said:

Niacin is not liver toxic. Niacin therapy increases liver function tests. But this elevation means that the liver is active. It does not indicate an underlying liver pathology. Dr. Bill Parsons discussed this extremely well in his book on niacin and cholesterol (Cholesterol Control Without Diet, Lilac Press, 2000). I personally have been on, 500 to 6, 000 mg daily since 1955. The biggest danger of taking niacin is that you live longer. One of my patients is 112. She does cross country skiing and has been on niacin for 42 years. The fear doctors have of niacin is not based on data or facts and, like any myth, is very hard to eradicate. So many patients are on niacin that by chance some will also have liver damage from other conditions such as alcoholism, hepatitis and so on. Niacin does not make it any better nor worse.


Anxiety, Cystic Acne, Acne Scars
Posted by Panem et circenses (Atlanta) on 12/07/2021
5 out of 5 stars

About 8 years ago, I began taking pure niacin for anxiety. I followed the protocol of Dr. Andrew Saul who was taught by Abram Hoffer. I started with 25mg 3x a day and slowly worked my way up to eventually 6500mg per day in divided doses. If you watch the documentary Food Matters, Dr. Saul discusses a woman with severe depression who benefits greatly from 13,000mg per day.

Anyway, as I was increasing my dose, I discovered that my cystic acne was going away. Up til then I had horribly painful deep cysts that would persist longer than regular acne. I also noticed that the cysts I had once developed on my upper thighs and even sometimes my armpits were COMPLETELY gone. I have not had them since. And like I said, that was 8 years ago when I started.

Now, PLEASE do your research about niacin first. While I have never had any issues with it (aside from accidentally taking time release niacin which raised my liver enzymes and caused my ankles to swell - very scary. Once I stopped it, all went back to normal), it does cause a flush. This flush can be anywhere from a slight warmth to feeling like a bad sunburn. It can take 15 minutes to an hour to pass. That is why I started at a VERY low dose and very gradually worked up.

I took the 25mg 3x a day and increased by 25mg per dose every 2-3weeks. I only started flushing when I started taking 50-100mg each dose. I believe it detours the liver and that may have something to do with it getting rid of the acne. I RARELY even have a pimple now when prior to starting it, I had a horrible pizza face with redness and discoloration from the scarring.

My scarring is 95% gone too. I'm sorry for the long post but felt this was a good one to share. Again, I ONLY use pure niacin (flush niacin), not niacinamide and definitely not time release niacin. Those two are dangerous to the liver from what I've read.

Better Sleep, Mental Clarity, Smooth Skin
Posted by storycharms (Turkey ) on 06/14/2021 8 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I ordered some no-flush niacinamide B3 (500mg capsule) from a reputable source after reading about its benefits for dry skin, which had recently become a problem for me. But I quickly noticed the hugely positive impact on my dreadful and seemingly entrenched insomnia, which is far more important. I confirmed the connection after researching a little more and reading some posts here on EC, and switched to taking it in the evening after dinner.

I also use a sublingual B12 spray in the mornings, which energises me. As a lacto-vegetarian with gluten intolerance, I think it's necessary to supplement with B vitamins normally supplied in diets that include meat, fish and wheat.

After 2 months I can report no negative side effects and improvement in my overall health and wellness, including better sleep, mental clarity and yes, smoother skin from head to toe!

Niacin Side Effects
Posted by Echosyn (Dallas, Texas) on 06/20/2021
0 out of 5 stars

Warning! Do Not Confuse Niacin with Niacinamide

Two years ago, I was in the process of building my home medicine and supplement collection while being supposedly diligent and cautious. I ordered bulk Niacin powder from Amazon and filled about 30 #3 dry gelatin capsules. I took a capsule with some refried beans and chips plus some coconut milk. 30 minutes later my blood pressure and pulse went off the chart and scared me. Monitoring the pulse and pressure showed a peak of 210/90 and pulse 118. I prayed and laid still hoping that the reaction would subside. It did after an hour and the numbers returned to normal.

As soon as I felt able to safely navigate I went online and researched both Niacin and Niacinamide. The two are vastly different in their effects on metabolism. Niacinamide does not cause wild blood pressure and pulse. Please NEVER assume anything about things for health use and ALWAYS check varied and conflicting information sources before putting anything in your body.

Food Cravings Diminished
Posted by Cindy (illinois, USA) on 04/27/2021 352 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I got a HUGE effect from using a quarter teaspoon of diatomaceous earth in some water with 500 mg of "flushing" niacin. I wasn't getting a flush and discovered the body requires silica to process niacin...and it WORKED! And I realized that most of my food cravings are for niacin rich stuff but, apparently, it wasn't due to a niacin deficiency but, rather a SILICA deficiency -, I could walk right past a bowl of almonds or a pile of broccoli, LOL!

Niacin and Plavix
Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee) on 04/03/2015

Dear Robert Henry,

I am sorry my post did not make sense.

It seemed that Denise was concerned about taking Niacin and Plavix, wanting to make sure that was safe to do, so I was trying to communicate that it worked safely for my Dad. I clarified that I didn't know if this would work across the board since I really don't know for sure if there is any chemical interaction between the two. I REALLY wish I had paid attention in chemistry!

I know that some supplements taken together can change what they will do in the body (as in, Lugol's iodine, taken with Vitamin C, will change the form of iodine and thus its affect on the body.) And some supplements cannot be taken with prescription drugs (charcoal taken at the same time as many prescriptions will adsorb them and render them ineffective. Someone taking diuretics would not want to take herbal diuretics. A friend of mine, when taking coumadin, was not allowed to eat more than a certain amount of greens because the amount greens you eat affects the amount of coumadin you need.)

So, I tend to err on the side of caution when combining things, unless someone smarter than me has given me the okay or I have researched it and figured it out myself.

If I am not answering your question, let me know.

Thanks! Have a great day!


Fibromyalgia and Insomnia
Posted by Root Lady (New Orleans, LA) on 06/13/2021
5 out of 5 stars

I take a scant amount of niacin most nights for fibromyalgia pain and insomnia. It's proven so effective that I anticipate taking it for the remainder of my life.

One pro tip: mix in OJ to mask the taste.

Posted by Ali (Wales) on 07/30/2021

Apparently, it seems that the no-flush forms of niacin, such as Niacinamide, may trigger liver issues, but the flushing niacin doesn't. Having said that, one of niacin's roles is in detoxification. That in itself may temporarily put a greater burden on the liver as it eliminates toxins. It is better to start low & slow & gradually build up the dose. The flushing action can be unpleasant, so it may be better to acclimatise gradually, starting with just 50mg or even 25mg. The flushing effect is stronger if taken with water on an empty stomach, but may not be experienced at all if taken with food. The flushing effect is beneficial though, as it opens the capillaries & not only allows more oxygen to the cells, but also helps flush out toxins, parasites & pathogenic microbe colonies.

Posted by Penny (Fresno, CA) on 06/13/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Your article on niacin is timely. In 2013, I had hives so badly for months that I could barely function. Back then, my cure ended by just one good niacin rush [300ml]. Recently, I presumed it was fleas, so attacked that idea for weeks, when I then realized, NO, it's hives! I then took 300 ml. niacin, got an itchy rush, did it again a few days later, started to slowly recover. Then, a week later, BY ACCIDENT, I took 1000milligrams!! I survived it better than I thought, & now days later, I believe my full-body hives are seriously on their way OUT! True that I had to bear with rather uncontrollable itching for 1.5 hrs. via the niacin, but that's it. I'm SO relieved this idea occurred to me as a possible way to flush my skin. I was in hell. I hope this helps someone else!

Immune System Booster
Posted by Jon (Australia) on 03/17/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Vitamin B3 boosts Immune system by 1,000 times! & boosts white blood cell count (healing cells).

I found the below information on Dr. Mercola's site here.

Vitamin B3 a Potential Weapon Against Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

In related news, a new study suggests vitamin B3 may be able to combat superbugs that modern medicine is finding it harder and harder to fight, including antibiotic-resistance staph infections. The research showed that high doses of the vitamin boosted the immune system by 1,000 times, giving the researchers hope that they may have found a new - and possibly better - way to fight infection.

According to BBC News:

"B3 increases the numbers and efficacy of neutrophils, white blood cells that can kill and eat harmful bugs. The study, in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to a "major change in treatment", a UK expert said."

One of the researchers is quoted as saying:

"This could give us a new way to treat Staph infections that can be deadly, and might be used in combination with current antibiotics. It's a way to tap into the power of the innate immune system and stimulate it to provide a more powerful and natural immune response."


Niacin Contraindications
Posted by Theory Ladeness (NJ) on 07/23/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Great advice, Andrea.

Some people might be sensitive to even the smallest dosages, especially if not taken with food.

I have found that the benefits of niacin, when taken with avocados, seem to be many times greater than taken alone.

Posted by Faith (Cincinnati, Ohio) on 11/04/2012

Niacin kills candida OR FUNGAL YEAST.... There are no contraindications because it is killing off the virus making you ill.... Step back and get a 100 mg supplement and start there. Take one every day... Each week increase by one... Take it with a meal... If the flush gets too bad, decrease the dose and keep going. Also take a good B complex that contains niacinamide as well... This will also help a great deal. Try to find an organic one for the best absorption, a powder... dump the powder in a drink, stir, and drink.

Niacin Deficiencies
Posted by Betty (CA) on 01/18/2022

The way it was explained to me by ND is Niacinamide is a precursor to Niacin.

I take Niacinamide in the AM then straight up Niacin in afternoon and before bed.

Niacinamide does not make you flush like Niacin does.

It was also rec'd that I do not take any time release form of anything. The time release ingredient fights with the liver to do its job of slowly releasing the supplement while the liver's job is to process and get things where they need to go in liver's time.

Niacin Side Effects
Posted by Ali (Wales) on 10/10/2022

You probably were getting a HUGE dose of Niacin in the capsules. It is recommended to start with a small dose - 100mg or even less & gradually increase until you get a mild flush.

The capsules would have likely contained at least a quarter teaspoonful which is 1000-1250mg. That could well have given you a HUGE flush!

whilst it may have raised your BP a bit, the feeling of having high BP comes from the blood being forced through the capillaries.

Whilst it feels uncomfortable, it's good because it's like a ‘drain-o-rod' session in your blood vessels & capillaries, helping to open them up & clean them out, & get the blood flow around the body working a lot more efficiently.

Fibromyalgia and Insomnia
Posted by Anna (Texas) on 01/26/2023 9 posts

I have the micro measuring spoons and a scale that measure mgs. My smidgen spoon runs anywhere from 155mg - 172mg. I don't know what he calls a pinch but if you buy the micro spoons, pinch is a little larger than a smidgen. I'm up to 300mg 3 times a day and 150mg at night. Trying to work up to at least 3,000 mg a day.

Niacin and Plavix
Posted by Mama to Many (Tennessee) on 04/01/2015

Dear Denise,

My father has been on Plavix for 8 years. In the last year, I was able to get Niacin as part of his care. He was on it for at least six months. His Primary care doctor has changed. I do not know for sure if he is still taking it.

Anyway, I do not know for sure if it is safe across the board, but my dad only had positive effects from it. He was taking the slow release type.

~Mama to Many~

Improving B Vitamin Absorption
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 06/11/2014

Hi Cindy...Urine normally varies in color anyway throughout the day depending on things like what you eat and drink, whether you alkalize or not etc. But generally it is the case that B vitamins do tend to initially turn urine yellow. But alkalizing properly should change the color back to pale yellow.

There are perhaps alot of unseen benefits from niacin/niacinamide. Together with magnesium, I find niacin to be a most relaxing vitamin. Perhaps many of the benefits of niacin/niacinamide are never really noticed, but here is a round-up of the many benefits from the research:

Niacin Flush
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 04/08/2014

Hello Bee,

Re Niacin/ flush

The "" web site has a great stand alone article on niacin written by Dr. Hoffer (MD;PhD).

You mention you are taking 500mg and that is way too much for someone not used to the effect. I take 250 and only after eating something so the niacin is not too strong too fast. There is timed released niacin that you might be able to tolerate better.

The Hoffer article (google "doctor yourself niacin") and you will find the article is lengthy and talks a lot about psychological issues that B3 can help with.

I HIGHLY recommend that article.

Niacin Flush
Posted by Candace (Co) on 08/03/2018

Start with like lower dose and work up- Get the book "Niacin, The Real Story "

I started with 500 mg and felt my body on fire. I then started lower dose and helped-I do want some of the Niacin flush but not the scary on fire sensation.

Niacin Side Effects
Posted by Noelle1000 (Elkhorn, Nebraska, Usa) on 11/09/2012
0 out of 5 stars

I was anxious to try Niacin and from what I have read about it, I definitely wanted the flush. The 'flush' dosage that was recommended was 1000mg. I started with that. Flush and itch is an understatement! It was like an allergic itch, but I felt that it was just triggered by histamines that were being released due to clogged capillaries opening up again. Anyway, this dosage was ok for a couple of days. But on the third day, it really affected me adversely. Zero energy. Kidneys hurt. Eyes were yellow. Tired. I felt like I had the flu. I was also very concerned that I had overtaxed my liver. I stopped taking it for a while. Then I tried a 500mg dose. It did fine for a few days (and I did flush on that dose, too), but I also experienced a really bad day where I felt flu-like symptoms and yellow eyes. FYI - taking it on an empty stomach creates a much stronger flush that happens much more quickly. Taking it right before or after a meal will still cause a flush, but it may take much longer to appear (over an hour). I am now comfortably taking a 250mg dose and I'll probably stay on that. I dont flush on that dosage. These are just my personal experiences (and watching my husband's experience on it. ) I am 46, 5'10", 145lbs. My husband is 51, 6'3", 230lbs.

Niacin Side Effects
Posted by Denise (Us) on 12/30/2018 51 posts

I was reading an article on taking Niacin that I think is a very good. Starting out on a low dosage. Here's the article and I am starting on Niacin since last night:

Niacin Deficiencies
Posted by Ilana (Atlanta, GA) on 01/18/2022
5 out of 5 stars


I am confused between niacin and niacinamide. Many posts here are saying that niacin is the only form that will not damage the liver, but Ted's post below says the opposite:

Please advise what to do as I need to use it for my 18 years old finger skin inflammation.

Fibromyalgia and Insomnia
Posted by sara (the beaches) on 06/14/2021

How much is a scant?

Improving B Vitamin Absorption
Posted by Cindy (Usa) on 06/10/2014

Question for Bill from San Fernando:

I am taking the niacin and other b vitamins several times a day. not real sure they are doing me good, reason asking is when I urinate it is so very yellow! Can the supplements just be passing through with no benefit? does one need to take magnesium at the same time? any thought on this is appreciated as always. thanks in advance

Niacin Flush
Posted by Timh (Ky) on 04/23/2014 2073 posts

Kelly: If you need Magnesium and you have stressed feet, you would very likely benefit from Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) Foot Baths. I have taken E.S.F.B (plus more minerals) daily for more than a decade.

Migraine Prevention
Posted by Dave (Fountain Inn, Sc) on 02/09/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I've been taking niacin (B 3 flush kind) for decades. I've taken it mainly for migraine headaches...not after the migraine begins but as a preventative; can take 250 mg four or five a week. I also take the herb feverfew as an herbal dilator.

To the people who got a bad flush at 500 - too much...won't hurt you though. Just chop the tabs in half and take AFTER eating...less intense flush and more a mild one if taken after eating. I think more effective also.

Niacin Tips
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 02/09/2014
5 out of 5 stars

The best way to take larger dose niacin is with a meal, which extends the release of niacin into the blood over a longer period of time due to digestion, thus helping to reduce the flush effect. The other thing you can do is just take an aspirin 20 mins before you take the niacin. Aspirin helps to open up the capillaries but in a different way(no flush) and this will also help to reduce the niacin flush.

I've been taking a higher dose of niacin for quite a while now, wouldn't be without it.

I've found that niacin, when taken at the higher dose, is perhaps the most relaxing vitamin or mineral that I have ever experienced (Magnesium Chloride comes pretty close though). I always sleep like a baby whenever I take 500 mgs in the evening.

If you haven't got high blood pressure or heart problems then niacinamide (no flush form) is fine to use for all its immune boosting and other health benefits.

Posted by Bodulica (Barrie, Canada) on 06/14/2021

Yes, it can make you feel sick. This website is great for all drugs and supplements, uses, side-effects, drug interactions...

Niacin Flush
Posted by Michael (Ballina) on 09/22/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Lower the dose to 100mg and work up from there until you get a mild flush.

Niacin and Plavix
Posted by Robert Henry (Ten Mile , Tn) on 04/02/2015

HI U MAMA, , , , , , , , , I do not understand your post at all. Niacin is a supplement and has nothing to do with Doctors or prescription drugs. Please explain.


Niacin Contraindications
Posted by Andrea C (Wales) on 05/06/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Hi Niacinamide has been found to cause Liver problems in some people and Nicotinic Acid ( Flush Niacin B3) should never be taken by people who are 'undermethylator.'

This has many symptoms and can be quite drastic if used by the wrong people. I suggest if you are, or thinking of using Niacin for any reason read up on being an 'undermethylator. ' before or if your having problems and already using it.

Love Andrea C xxxxx

Niacin Flush
Posted by Kelly (Cambridge, Ma) on 04/14/2014

Hi Bee, I was taking a lot of supplements when I first began this journey. Through trial/error and process of elimination, I honed in on the few that seemed to work best, and have stayed with those. I have a cabinet full of supplements that didn't work for me. I could open a kiosk at the mall. :) There were many supplements that helped others that seemed to make my BP worse. Vitamin E is one example. I took natural E (vs. synthetic) starting with a small dose of 200mgs/day and every time I took it, I could hear my BP pounding in my ears a few hours later. Though I understood that the reaction was not abnormal, I hated it and had to stop using it. I now get my E from food. I make sure to include several servings per day of sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and/or Swiss chard. Something else I use that I'm not sure I mentioned was Magnesium. I've tried many forms and again, through trial/error, settled on Magnesium chloride in a spray bottle that I spray on my legs/feet twice a day. The BP pills are a challenge to split into 1/4's, but my pill splitter does a decent job. First I cut in half, then I take the half and position it in the cutter so that it Will cut the 1/2's into 1/4's. If your pills are too small to do that, then perhaps a mortar and pestle would be worth a try? You could grind up the half pill then separate the powder to make two 1/4 doses. Re: Flush-free Niacin. Most flush-free's are in the form of niacinamide, which didn't help me at all when I tried it. I even tried the timed-release version. As I mentioned, I am going to try the flush-free form of Niacin called inositol hexanicotinate, that came well-recommended here on EC. It should arrive this week. I am my own lab rat. :)

Niacin Flush
Posted by Andrea C (Wales) on 04/24/2014

The information you've been given about dosing Niacin is all wrong!! It's way too high to start off with. Go to and look under Niacin.

Also, CQ10 (coenzyme q10) will lower your blood pressure better than anything a Dr can give you without unnecessary side effects at all. 150mg 3 times daily.

And it could be your B3 levels (Niacin. niacinamide) are at full saturation. And other people just can't tolerate it at all. And B3 should also be taken with a full vit b complex as they all work in synergy (together)

And always take Niacin with food, This will take all if most of the flush symptoms away at out stopping it from doing its full job.

And always take any B vitamins with food as their water soluble and you'll pee most or all of it out. But any your body doesn't need, will come out anyway and turn your wee yellow

Please everyone, before you take anything, check for drug/food/supplement interactions between them all. And whether you should take them with, before, or after food. And go at your own pace and ALWAYS start at the lowest dose.

Its not 'follow my leader'' and getting it wrong could have a serious outcome. And never start out on a ''slow release' if it doesn't suit you, then it's not leaving your system in a short time Therefore you are going to end up in big trouble as once it takes effect, you can't stop it.

And some people can't metabolize certain things quickly, or not at all. I am mixed race, and different races can't break down certain things in their livers, this is also problematic with Medication.

Their 'Race specific' which means what one race is ok with will hurt or kill another? Don't swallow nothing until you ask a Pharmacist about this. And if they don't know, then find someone that does and know's all the scientific data to back it all up.

Love Andrea C xxxx

Niacin Flush
Posted by Timh (Ky) on 04/25/2014 2073 posts

For Mineral Bath I use equal parts Epsom Salts, Baking Soda, Agriculture grade Micronized Mineral Complex, few drops of Ionic Trace Minerals, squirt of Povidone Iodine, and a few rubs of DMSO.

For Kidney Support I take either Cranberry softgels or D Mannose, followed 1 hr later w/ Dr. Christopher's Kidney/Bladder herbal complex.

The Liver protectors are Milk thistle Seeds, Turmeric, and Artichoke Leaves. To increase bile flow, these herbs are recommended: Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, Yellow dock Root, Beet. Chaparral is good liver & kidney cleanser. You might find any number of these formulated together and labeled something like "Milk Thistle Complex". Removing gallstones & kidney stones, and toning up the Liver & Kidneys, should allow for a more free blood flow thus lower blood pressure.

Niacin Side Effects
Posted by mmsg (somewhere, europe) on 08/02/2021

Ha Ali! Only 25mg. already gave me an almost unbearable flush!

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