I recently had someone contact me with concerns about the effectiveness and safety of vitamin B3 (niacin).
So, I pointed them to the work of the world’s foremost expert on the use of vitamin B3 in the medical field, Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD. Dr. Hoffer successfully treated thousands of patients using vitamin B3 therapy.
In regards to concerns about vitamin B3 being bad for the liver, Hoffer had the following to say:
“Niacin is not liver toxic. Niacin therapy increases liver function tests. But this elevation means that the liver is active. It does not indicate an underlying liver pathology. Dr. Bill Parsons discussed this extremely well in his book on niacin and cholesterol (Cholesterol Control Without Diet, Lilac Press, 2000). I personally have been on 1,500 to 6,000 mg daily since 1955. The biggest danger of taking niacin is that you live longer. One of my patients is 112. She does cross country skiing and has been on niacin for 42 years. The fear doctors have of niacin is not based on data or facts and, like any myth, is very hard to eradicate. So many patients are on niacin that by chance some will also have liver damage from other conditions such as alcoholism, hepatitis and so on.” (http://www.doctoryourself.com/Hoffer2009int.pdf)
Dr. Hoffer usually prescribed equal amounts of vitamin C to niacin for his patients. Hoffer’s usual therapeutic dose of niacin was 1000mg 3 times a day. Dr. Hoffer describes the initial doses of niacin that he recommended for his patients in the following document (see the “Doses” section): http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_niacin.html
The following studies by Dr. Hoffer should convince you of its efficacy and safety:
Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia using Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Six Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Studies
Treatment of Schizophrenia with Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Orthomolecular Treatment of Alcoholism with Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Orthomolecular Treatment of Psychosis with Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Orthomolecular Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
Here’s a video of Dr. Hoffer that I put together for the folks at the Dubuque Rescue Mission (when I volunteered there a few years ago) where Hoffer describes most of what is mentioned above in his own words (Alcoholism, Depression, and Schizophrenia are big problems for folks in homeless shelters):
Orthomolecular Treatment of Alcoholism, Depression, and Schizophrenia using Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
In that video Dr. Hoffer also lists the reasons why he thinks vitamin B3 is not being widely used in Western medicine today.
So, is vitamin B3 safe and effective? You be the judge.