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Monograph by Dr. David J. Madeira

Niacin is Vitamin B3. A severe deficiency leads to the disease called pellagra, or the 3 "D's"; dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. These symptoms result from a severe deficiency, but a mild deficiency would lead to milder versions of these symptoms. The RDA for niacin is around 15-20 mg. and is the amount necessary to prevent pellagra.

I believe, however, that larger doses may be necessary to obtain optimal health, and that slight deficiencies can cause clinical effects. Tension, nervousness, apprehension, restlessness, and generalized "stress" are often associated with clinical niacin deficiency because of niacin's important role in the production of a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that our body produces that helps us feel relaxed and at ease.

Everyone's need for niacin differs, and may even vary for an individual from time to time. In order to find the amount of niacin your body needs, follow the dose chart below. Increase your dose by 25 mg./day until you get a "flush" - a mild warming sensation and redness on your face, forearms, and the backs of your hands. If you increase the dose too rapidly, or take niacin on an empty stomach, you may experience very severe "hot flashes" and heart palpitations. While not dangerous, these symptoms can be very frightening. DO NOT TAKE NIACIN ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. DO NOT INCREASE THE DOSE BY MORE THAN 25 mg./ day.

Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Breakfast 0 0 25 25 25 50 50 50 75 75 75 100
Lunch 0 25 25 25 50 50 50 75 75 75 100 100
Dinner 25 25 25 50 50 50 75 75 75 100 100 100
Daily Total 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250 275 300

(All doses on this chart are in milligrams - mg.)

Continue to follow the pattern of increase until you reach "flush". Then drop back to the previous day's levels and continue at that dose. As desired, take additional small doses (25 mg. or less) before bed or upon awakening in the night. As before, if you take these doses on an empty stomach, you may experience harmless but undesirable symptoms. Taking one of the B Vitamins without the others can lead to a "relative" vitamin deficiency. Because of this, you should not take niacin without also taking a Multi-B.

Other natural methods of mood control are available from the health food store. I suggest that you complete several weeks of all of the following before experimenting with herbal and homeopathic remedies: adequate rest (at least 8 hours/day), exercise (walking 20 min. day), 8-8 oz. glasses of water, niacin to flush, professional counseling (or talking with an "honest" friend), helping others rather than focusing on your own problems, allergen elimination (food, water, and air), and eating at least one meal a day with others.

Niacin at these level will not interfere with the actions of other medications. All attempts to reduce or eliminate prescription medications should be made with the close supervision of your medical doctor. Stopping prescription medications suddenly can be very dangerous and may even cause death.

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