The vitamin B3, also known as niacin, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, is essential for the smooth metabolic functioning of your body and is not to be confused with nicotine. The two basic forms of nicotinamide are niacin or nicotinic acid and niacinamide or nicotinamide. You can find them in a wide variety of foods and they are available as supplements. Nicotinamide helps convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. Nicotinamide is beneficial for everyday health problems as well as some serious illnesses.
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Illness and Cholesterol
Nicotinamide is useful in treating Type 1 diabetes. This is when the patient is dependent on insulin. It has shown its ability to delay the onset of Type 1 diabetes in research conducted in a study in New Zealand. Kohl H and Burkart V of the Diabetes Research Institute in Germany have also found this to be true through similar research.
Nicotinamide is essential in helping the body throw out toxins as well as bringing cholesterol levels under control. An online vitamin and health supplements guide says that nicotinamide helps with cholesterol by lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels in the body.(see reference 3)
As an Antioxidant
Nicotinamide also displays a certain level of antioxidant activities. It prevents oxidation of protein as well as lipid pro-oxidation. It stops reactive oxidants that induce apoptosis or cell death. It prevents the growth of reactive oxygen-based species and it works as a scavenger and inhibits the creation of a chain growth of free radicals. An abstract from the study called nicotinamide as an effective antioxidant against oxidative damage by authors JP Kamat and Devasagayam published in the Redox Report of August 1999 outlines this point.
Nicotinamide has shown its capacity to reduce inflammation. Tests on lab rats show this to be so. It causes a series of inhibitions that when put together reduce existing inflammation or prevent it from occurring. An abstract from the study conducted by Frederic van Gool, Mara Galli, Anthony Rongvaux, Andris Fabien and Oberdan Leo, published in the Journal of Immunology (2007) explains this.
Nicotinamide also helps in treating skin ailments. There are several beauty products available, which include this ingredient. Several sunscreens are also available that have nicotinamide as part of their formulation. It has displayed the ability to dry acne as mentioned on Acnetalks.com. Dermatologist Dr. Baumann, at a meet of the American association of dermatologists in 2003 explained that niacin is beneficial for dry skin, pigmentation problems and atopic dermatitis when applied topically. (see reference 6)
Yet another health benefit of nicotinamide is its ability to treat anxiety. An article by the Mental Health Foundation Publication of the UK mentions its seemingly hypnotic and calming effect. When ingested in controlled dosages this form of vitamin B3 has been able to reduce the symptoms of anxiety as well as the onset of panic disorders. This vitamin helps calm the nerves as well as impatient minds. Three grams a day is all you need. If you would like to take more than that, you should only do so after consultation with your doctor.
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- NutraSanus: Niacinamide (Nicotinamide) Benefits and Information
- Pub Med.gov: Nicotinamide in type 1 diabetes. Mechanism of action revisited.
- Vitamins & health supplements guide: Vitamin B3 (niacin, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, niacinamide)
- Ingenta Connect: Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) as an effective antioxidant against oxidative damage in rat brain mitochondria
- The Journal of Immunology: Nicotinamide as an anti-inflammatory agent