Niacin is an essential B vitamin used to promote healthy cholesterol
levels, support circulatory problems, and maintain skin health. Niacin has
antioxidant properties and is involved in energy production, cholesterol
and carbohydrate metabolism, regulation of blood sugar, and detoxification.
LifeSource Vitamins Flush-free Niacin is a formulation of niacin that
provides the benefits of niacin without the common niacin side effects of
unpleasant skin flushing and gastric irritation associated with niacin
The involvement of Niacin in cellular energy production makes it essential
for healthy cardiovascular function, nervous system function, and immune
function. Niacin nutritionally supports cholesterol levels already within
the normal range.*
Who Should Consider Niacin?
People with high cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
People with poor circulation
People more than 55 years old with poor dietary intake
People with vertigo and/or tinnitus
People who abuse alcohol or other drugs
LifeSource Vitamins - Niacin - Flush Free, is an essential B vitamin used
to promote healthy cholesterol levels, support circulatory problems, and
maintain skin health. Niacin has antioxidant properties and is involved in
energy production. *
Schizophrenia & Niacin: Studies & Information
Niacin-respondent a subset of schizophrenia – a therapeutic review
It is well known that niacin deficiency manifests with several psychiatric
manifestations. Also, historically evidence has accumulated that niacin
augmentation can be used for treatment of schizophrenia. However, the
etiopathological associations between niacin deficiency and schizophrenia
as well as the mechanism of action of niacin in its treatment. More
importantly, the subgroups of schizophrenia which will respond to niacin
augmentation has never been highlighted in the literature. In this article,
we review three of the mechanisms in which niacin deficiency could lead to
schizophrenic symptoms: (1) Niacin deficiency neurodegeneration (2)
Membrane phospholipid deficiency hypothesis and (3) Adrenochrome
hypothesis. We will further move towards the clinical as well as treatment
related associations as reviewed from the literature. Here, we propose a
model that a subset of schizophrenia can respond to niacin augmentation
therapy better than other subsets because these patients have contributions
in their psychotic manifestations from the neural degeneration resulting
from niacin deficiency. We present a short description of our case report
which showed rapid improvement in schizophrenic psychotic symptoms
subsequent to administration of niacin as an augmentation therapy.
We, thus, propose that niacin deficiency is a contributory factor in
schizophrenia development in some patients and symptom alleviation in these
patients will benefit from niacin augmentation, especially in some
particular psychotic features.
National Institute of Health PubMed
Is niacin a possible successful treatment for schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a devastating disease. Characterized by
hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thought, it destroys lives.
While the condition can be controlled with appropriate medication, a
cure remains elusive. But just what constitutes “appropriate
medication” is controversial.
Schizophrenia is a devastating disease. Characterized by hallucinations,
delusions and disorganized thought, it destroys lives. While the condition
can be controlled with appropriate medication, a cure remains elusive. But
just what constitutes “appropriate medication” is controversial.
“Antipsychotic drugs that block dopamine and serotonin receptors in the
brain have been the mainstay of therapy, but the involuntary muscle
movements, restlessness and tremors they can cause are troublesome. An
alternative school of thought maintains that mental illness can be
addressed with nutritional therapies, particularly with the use of certain
vitamins in the right dose. This idea was first formulated by Dr. Abram
Hoffer, a Canadian psychiatrist whose pursuit of science began with a
degree in agricultural chemistry from the University of Saskatchewan,
followed by a PhD in biochemistry, and finally a medical degree from the
University of Alberta. During his graduate studies young Hoffer worked at a
wheat products laboratory in Winnipeg where he was charged with developing
an assay for vitamin B-3, commonly known as niacin. This triggered a
life-long interest in the vitamin and its biochemistry, with Hoffer
eventually concluding that it had a significant role to play in the
treatment of schizophrenia. As a practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Hoffer came
up with the ‘adrenochrome hypothesis’ which he believed explained the
symptoms of schizophrenia and offered a hope for treatment with vitamins.
Dr. Hoffer’s basic idea was that schizophrenia was a biochemical
abnormality characterized by the buildup of chemicals in the brain called
adrenochromes. These are normally formed from adrenalin, but in a healthy
nervous system they are quickly metabolized. In schizophrenic patients,
however, the mechanism for breaking down adrenochromes is impaired. Hoffer
claimed that administering adrenochromes to volunteers resulted in
hallucinations reminiscient of schizophrenia and hypothesized that reducing
adrenochrome concentrations in schizophrenic patients would result in the
alleviation of symptoms. From his biochemistry background he knew that
niacin could reduce the formation of adrenalin from its precursor,
noradrenalin, which meant it would also reduce adrenochromes since these
were made from adrenalin. He also rationalized that adrenochromes could be
reduced back to adrenaline through the administration of vitamin C.
Starting in the 1950’s Dr. Hoffer began to administer high doses of niacin
and vitamin C to his schizophrenic patients and claimed he noted an
improvement after a month. Paranoia and delusional symptoms decreased to an
extent that hospitalized patients could be discharged. But, Hoffer
maintained that if they stopped taking the vitamins they would experience a
relapse. However, if they continued with the regimen for years, there was a
chance of a complete cure. The problem, though, was that other researchers
were unable to confirm Hoffer’s successes, resulting in skepticism about
his claims. Interestingly, subsequent research did show that schizophrenic
patients have a genetic defect preventing them from successfully
eliminating adrenaline metabolites, so the adrenochrome theory is not ready
to be dismissed. Still we are left with the fact that no properly
controlled clinical trials have demonstrated significant benefits of
vitamin megadoses in schizophrenia. That’s not a great surprise because
schizophrenia is a complex disease, not characterized by a single cause.
Genetic vulnerability as well as environmental effects are significant
factors and lack of oxygen just after birth may also play a role.
Nevertheless, some psychiatrists continue to administer megadoses of niacin
to schizophrenia patients and claim they see improvement. But such evidence
is anecdotal. Perhaps further research will reveal that some vitamins used
appropriately are beneficial, but for now, the evidence is on the side of
using mainstream antipsychotic medications. It certainly is unwise for
patients to try megavitamin therapy without a physician’s supervision.
While doses of niacin under 1,000 mg are considered safe, higher doses can
cause liver damage, gastritis, diabetes, and an increase in blood uric acid
McGill Office for Science and Society
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