Symptoms of Niacin (Vitamin B3) Toxicity

Niacin, also called Vitamin B3, works closely with all the other B vitamins, especially riboflavin and pyridoxine. We need niacin to release energy within your cells and for about 50 other body processes.

Niacin is not toxic when achieved through food. The niacinamide (nicotinamide) form of niacin has not been found to be bothersome when taken in amounts less than 2000 mg per day.
The niacinamide (nicotinamide) form of niacin has not been found to be bothersome when taken in amounts less than 2000 mg per day. Decreased insulin sensitivity and liver toxicity can result from daily amounts over 2000 mg. However, niacin in the form of nicotinic acid can cause “niacin flush” in amounts as low as 35 mg. Nicotinic acid can dilate the capillaries, causing a brief tingling and flushing of the skin.

Liver damage and aggravation of diabetes are possible dangers of such over doses. Patients with of liver disease or abnormal liver function, diabetes, peptic ulcers, gout, cardiac arrhythmias, inflammatory bowel disease, migraine headaches, or alcoholism are more susceptible to the adverse effects of excessive nicotinic acid intake. Doses of 3000 mg or more per day are potentially dangerous therapies and must be supervised.

High dosages can also cause itching, elevated blood glucose, peptic ulcers and liver damage.

Niacin (nicotinic acid) in large amounts is sometimes used to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to increase HDL cholesterol levels. Symptoms may include flushing and, rarely, hepatotoxicity.
The best way to avoid flushing may be to avoid nicotinic acid and take niacin in the form of inositol hexaniacinate (IHN). Doctors in Europe have been prescribing IHN for more than 30 years, but it’s only become available in the United States recently. IHN works on cholesterol just as well as nicotinic acid, but without the side effects. If you’d like to try IHN, talk to your doctor.

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