Niacin & Anxiety
Niacin is the fancy word for Vitamin B-3.
Niacin has a long history of treating the symptoms of anxiety and depression, although it is not a cure for either condition
For some people, anxiety becomes excessive, difficult to control and massively affects day-to-day living and taking Niacin can help.
It helps me massively after suffering from mild to chronic anxiety and panic attacks over many years.
I take 500 mg per day and “LOVE THE FLUSH” – Read on……!!
Anxiety has many emotional and physical triggers, although it is usually seen as a collection of symptoms, including nervousness, gastric issues, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, panic attacks and insomnia.
A significant cause of anxiety is chronic over-stimulation of your nervous system, which triggers the “fight-or-flight” response and floods the body with hormones and chemicals, such as adrenaline.
Perhaps most important with respect to anxiety, Niacin is an antidote to adrenaline, which is often over-produced in those experiencing anxiety.
Niacin and Anxiety
Anecdotally, it is claimed that Niacin reduces anxiety and depression, while promoting calmness and better sleep. It is possible that niacin’s ability to increase blood flow, reduce blood pressure, eliminate excess adrenaline and regulate hormones could contribute to feelings of relaxation in those who are stressed.
Niacin is Vitamin B-3, one of the water soluble B-complex vitamins.
- The ability to help you naturally relax and get to sleep more rapidly at night.
- Help reduce harmful cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
- It is one of the best substances for elevating high density lipoprotein HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).
- The ability to greatly reduce anxiety and depression.
- Dilates blood vessels and creates a sensation of warmth, called a“niacin flush.” This is often accompanied with a blushing of the skin. It is this “flush” or sensation of heat that indicates a temporary saturation of niacin.
When you flush, you can literally see and feel that you’ve taken enough Niacin. The idea is to take just enough Niacin to have a slight flush. This means pinkness about the cheeks, ears, neck, forearms.
- A slight niacin flush should end in about ten minutes or so.
- If you take too much niacin, the flush may be more pronounced and longer lasting.
- Large doses of Niacin on an empty stomach may cause profound flushing.
- With each additional dose, the intensity of the flush decreases and should become a minor nuisance rather than an irritation. Niacin should always be taken immediately after eating.I have found that the best way to control the flushing sensation is to start with very small amounts of niacin and gradually increase the dose until you notice the first flush. Start with 25 mg three times a day after each meal. Continue to increase each dosage by 25 mg per day until your flush occurs.
It is difficult to predict a saturation level for Niacin because each person is different.
If you flush on a low dose, you don’t need much niacin. If flushing doesn’t happen until a high level, then your body is obviously using the higher amount of the vitamin B3 (Niacin)
As a flush indicates saturation of Niacin, it’s better to repeat the flushing, just very slightly, to make sure that you are getting enough.
Don’t let the flush surprise you. You should remember that Niacin does that, and you can monitor and control it easily.
To get to sleep sooner at night, Niacin can be taken to saturation at bedtime, too. You might be asleep before you even notice the flush.
An important point is that Niacin is a vitamin, not a drug. It is not habit forming. Niacin does not require a prescription because it is that safe. It is a nutrient that everyone needs each day. Different people in different circumstances need different amounts.
Niacin tablets may be bought at many chemists or health food shops. Tablets typically are available in 50 mg, 100 mg, or 250 mg dosages.
If a Niacin tablet is taken on an empty stomach, a flush will occur (if it is going to occur at all) within about 20 minutes. If Niacin is taken right after a meal, a flush may be delayed.
In fact, the flush may occur long enough afterwards that you forgot that you took the Niacin!
Non Flushing Niacin
There is a non flushing version of Vitamin B-3 called Niacinamide.
There is nothing wrong with Niacinamide,. This form of vitamin B-3 is found in multiple vitamins and B-complex preparations.
Niacinamide does not cause a flush at all.
In my opinion, it is less effective in inducing relaxation and calming you down.
Niacinamide also does not significantly lower cholesterol. This is an important thing to remember when deciding what to use.
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Thanks Stuart and Julie. We all read the article and it prompted Ria to do more research about diet and anxiety. We are trying new cooking and food prep approaches. Will keep you posted!