The vitamin niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, causes the body to produce histamines, which open up capillaries. A theory some natural medicine practitioners believe is that this opening of the capillaries helps clean out toxins. Niacin is also proven to help lower cholesterol. For these reasons, niacin detoxes have become popular. During a niacin detox, a practitioner takes enough niacin to cause skin flushing and itching. This is a signal that the body is producing histamines. While some question the health benefits, when done correctly a niacin detox is a safe and easy thing to do.
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Things you need
- Baby aspirin
- Niacin capsules
Visit your doctor before starting a niacin detox to determine that you are healthy enough to complete the detox. Have your cholesterol and liver function measured.
Take one baby aspirin half an hour before taking niacin. The aspirin helps counteract the annoying side effects of the niacin flush.
Take one 25 mg dose of niacin three times a day, preferably before meals. Take each dose with a large glass of water. Avoid eating spicy foods or drinking alcohol close to each niacin dose.
Assess how you feel after each niacin dose. If your skin is red and itchy, this is the niacin flush. This means the niacin is causing your body to produce histamines and your capillaries are opening. The flush happens about 20 minutes after taking the niacin on an empty stomach.
Increase your niacin dose by 25 mg each week until you experience the niacin flush. If you need to go above 250 mg before getting the niacin flush, see your doctor.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables during your niacin detox. Also, drink lots of water and fresh fruit juices to hydrate your body.
See your doctor once every three months if you intend on doing a niacin detox for a long period of time. Niacin in large doses can cause liver damage, so it's important to monitor your liver function.
Tips and warnings
- While there are stories that doing a niacin detox can help mask THC during a drug test, these rumours are false.
- Do not take niacin that's labelled as "non-flushing." The flush is the key element of the niacin detox, so taking a non-flushing vitamin is pointless.
- Do not do a niacin flush if you have any liver problems.
- If you experience nausea, vomiting or any other side effects other than skin redness and itching, see a doctor immediately.
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