There are two forms of vitamin B3. One form is niacin, the other is niacinamide. Niacinamide is found in many foods including yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains. Niacinamide is also found in many vitamin B complex supplements with other B vitamins. Niacinamide can also be formed in the body from dietary niacin.
Do not confuse niacinamide with niacin, inositol nicotinate, or tryptophan. See the separate listings for these topics.
Niacinamide is taken by mouth for preventing vitamin B3 deficiency and related conditions such as pellagra. It is also taken by mouth for schizophrenia, hallucinations due to drugs, Alzheimer's disease and age-related loss of thinking skills, chronic brain syndrome, muscle spasms, depression, motion sickness, alcohol dependence, blood vessel swelling caused by skin lesions, and fluid collection (edema). Niacinamide is also taken by mouth for treating diabetes and two skin conditions called bullous pemphigoid and granuloma annulare.
Some people take niacinamide by mouth for acne, a skin condition called rosacea, leprosy, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), memory loss, arthritis, preventing premenstrual headache, improving digestion, protecting against toxins and pollutants, reducing the effects of aging, lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, promoting relaxation, improving orgasm, and preventing cataracts.
Niacinamide is applied to the skin for treating eczema, as well as a skin condition called inflammatory acne vulgaris.
How it works
Niacinamide can be made from niacin in the body. Niacin is converted to niacinamide when it is taken in amounts greater than what is needed by the body. Niacinamide is easily dissolved in water and is well-absorbed when taken by mouth.
Niacinamide is required for the proper function of fats and sugars in the body and to maintain healthy cells.
Unlike niacin, niacinamide has no beneficial effects on fats and should not be used for treating high cholesterol or high fat levels in the blood.
Likely EffectiveTreatment and prevention of niacin deficiency, and certain conditions related to niacin deficiency such as pellagra.
Niacinamide is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for these uses. Niacinamide is sometimes preferred over niacin because it does not cause "flushing," (redness, itching and tingling), a side effect of niacin treatment.
Niacinamide is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. Unlike niacin, niacinamide does not cause flushing. However, niacinamide might cause minor adverse effects such as stomach upset, intestinal gas, dizziness, rash, itching, and other problems. When applied on the skin, niacinamide cream might cause mild burning, itching, or redness.When doses of over 3 grams per day of niacinamide are taken, more serious side effects can happen. These include liver problems or high blood sugar
Niacinamide is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth and appropriately in children or when applied to the skin of adults.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Niacinamide isLIKELY SAFEforpregnantandbreast-feeding women when taken in the recommended amounts. The recommended amount of niacin for pregnant or breast-feeding women is 30mgper day for women under 18 years of age, and 35 mg for women over 18.
Allergies: Niacinamide can make allergies more severe because they cause histamine, the chemical responsible for allergic symptoms, to be released.
Diabetes: Niacinamide might increase blood sugar. People with diabetes who take niacinamide should check their blood sugar carefully.
Gallbladder disease: Niacinamide might make gallbladder disease worse.
Gout: Large amounts of niacinamide might bring on gout.
Liver disease: Niacinamide might increase liver damage. Don't use it if you have liver disease.
Stomach or intestinal ulcers: Niacinamide might make ulcers worse. Don't use it if you have ulcers.
Surgery: Niacinamide might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking niacinamide at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is broken down by the body. There is some concern that niacinamide might decrease how fast the body breaks down carbamazepine (Tegretol). But there is not enough information to know if this is important.