Supplementing with niacin
Niacin supplements are available as over-the-counter pills. You can also boost your vitamin B-3 intake by eating different foods.
You can get more vitamin B-3 in your diet by eating some of the following foods:
It’s generally better to supplement niacin from foods than from pills because there’s virtually no risk of overdose or liver damage from the niacin sources in food.
The cure for vitamin B-3 deficiency might hover around the 20 mg mark, but when it comes to treatments for serious depression, a much higher dose is sometimes needed.
According to online testimonials, people with severe depression who respond to niacin therapy tend to benefit from a much higher dose, from anywhere between 1,000 to 3,000 mg. According to the 2008 nutrition documentary, Food Matters, one woman saw her depression symptoms reversed with a daily dose of 11,500 mg.
There’s not enough scientific research to support these claims, or give an accurate dosage. If you decide to experiment with niacin supplements, it’s important to start small and increase the dose over time. Talk with your doctor before you begin experimenting, as everyone reacts differently to niacin. There are side effects and dangers if you use too much of this vitamin.
Dangers and side effects of niacin
Always consult your doctor before experimenting with niacin or other supplements, especially with large doses. Niacin has the potential to lower blood pressure, which can be dangerous to some people.
People who use niacin should also be aware that high doses of sustained release tablets can result in serious liver damage. Signs of liver damage include:
- jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes
One common reaction to too much vitamin B-3 is called the niacin flush. This reaction causes the skin to turn red and feel hot, or as if it’s burning. Niacin flush isn’t dangerous.
This reaction typically happens at doses higher than 1,000 mg, but can also occur after taking only 50 mg
There still isn’t enough research to determine if vitamin B-3 is a good treatment for depression. Some personal stories, however, do support the idea that the vitamin can eliminate symptoms of depression.
If you and your doctors choose to experiment with niacin, be careful and watch for signs of liver damage or low blood pressure.