A Vitamin of Many Names – B3!

A Vitamin of Many Names – B3!

Niacin, nicotinic acid, niacinamide, nicotinamide…so many different names for the same vitamin! What is the difference in these forms? Niacin and nicotinic acid are synonymous, and they are the form of Vitamin B3 found in foods (turkey, tuna, peanuts, and mushrooms being amongst the highest). In the human body they may be converted to niacinamide, or nicotinamide, which has other effects.

Niacin is the vasodilating form which is recommended to increase HDL cholesterol. It must be taken carefully, since in it’s immediate-release form it can cause intense flushing. Sustained-release forms are available, but dosage should be limited to 500 mg/day unless under the supervision of a physician as this form is linked with liver toxicity at higher strengths.

Niacinamide, or nicotinamide, receives much attention for its benefits on the skin, and rightfully so! It has been found to reduce redness through anti-inflammatory actions. These same actions are helpful for acne, as demonstrated in a study which compared its effectiveness against an antibiotic, clindamycin ( view abstract here ). In oral form, it has been studied for photoprotective effects, which can be especially helpful for those pre-disposed to skin cancers (view abstract here ).

If you have further questions about Vitamin B3, please don’t hesitate to send us a message or give us a call!

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