9 Health Benefits Of Niacin, Causes and Symptoms | Nutrition

Niacin deficiency

Niacin Overview

Niacin (LDL) lowers cholesterol

Niacin has been used to treat high cholesterol since the 1950s. In fact, it can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by 5-20%.

However, niacin is not the main treatment for high cholesterol side effects. Instead, it is used primarily as a cholesterol-lowering treatment in statin-intolerant people.

HDL increases cholesterol

In addition to lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, it can also increase “good” HDL cholesterol. Studies show that niacin increases HDL levels by 15-35%.

Reduce triglycerides

It can also reduce triglycerides by 20-50%. It does this by stopping the action of an enzyme involved in triglyceride synthesis. Consequently, it reduces the production of both LDL and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). A therapeutic dose is required to achieve these effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Can help prevent heart disease

Niacin’s effect on cholesterol may help prevent heart disease, but new research suggests an additional mechanism that could benefit your heart. Help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, both in atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries.

Some researchers have shown that treatment with niacin, alone or in combination with statins, reduces the risk of health problems related to heart disease. However, the results are mixed.

A recent review found that niacin treatment may not significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease in people with heart disease or high risk.

Can help treat type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Research has shown that niacin can help protect those cells and may also reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in at-risk children. However, for people with type 2 diabetes, the role of niacin is more complex.

For one thing, it can help lower the high cholesterol levels often found in people with type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, it has the power to raise blood sugar levels. Consequently, even people with diabetes who take niacin to treat high cholesterol must carefully monitor their blood sugar.

Increases brain function

Your brain needs niacin, part of the coenzymes NAD and NADP, for energy and to function properly. In fact, brain fog and psychological symptoms are also associated with niacin deficiency. Some types of schizophrenia can be treated with niacin because it helps eliminate the damage to brain cells caused by the defect.

Preliminary research has shown that it can also help keep the brain healthy in Alzheimer’s disease.

Improves skin function

It can help protect skin cells from sun damage, whether used orally or applied as an ion ointment. Recent research suggests that it can help prevent some types of skin cancer. According to one study, 500 mg of nicotinamide, a type of niacin, reduced the rate of non-melanoma skin cancer twice a day in high-risk people.

It can reduce the symptoms of arthritis

In a preliminary study, niacin helped reduce some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, improve joint mobility, and reduce the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Another study found that injection with the vitamin reduced inflammation associated with arthritis.

Pellagra treats

Severe niacin deficiency causes a condition called pellagra. Therefore, taking a niacin supplement for Viagra is the main treatment. Niacin deficiency is very rare in industrialized countries. However, it can occur in conjunction with other illnesses such as alcoholism, anorexia, or heartburn.

Symptoms of niacin deficiency

A severe defect called pellagra causes symptoms related to the skin, digestive system, and nervous system. Among them are:

  • Thick, flaky pigment on sun-exposed skin
  • Swollen mouth and bright red tongue.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Indifference
  • Fatigue
  • Disappointment
  • Disorientation
  • Memory loss

If left untreated, pellagra can lead to death. Pellagra can be reversible with a prescription niacin replacement under the supervision of your doctor.


One form of this deficiency is caused by tryptophan (an amino acid). This form causes a disorder called pellagra, which affects the skin, digestive system, and brain. Pellagra develops if there is a dietary deficiency of it’s and tryptophan because the body can convert tryptophan to niacin. People who live in areas where corn (Indian corn) is the main food source are at risk of developing pellagra because corn is low in niacin and tryptophan. Also, corn does not enter the gut (when making tortillas) unless the corn is treated with alkali. Pellagra can be a seasonal disorder, appearing every spring and in summer, the diet consists mainly of corn products.

Pellagra also develops in those with one of the following:

  • Hartnup disease, a rare inherited disorder in which the absorption of tryptophan is impaired.
  • Carcinoid syndrome, a rare disorder in which tryptophan does not convert to it.
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