A Specific Supplement That Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Niacin is found in everything from over-the-counter supplements to foods like chicken, rice and mushrooms. But what does it do? What benefits can it bring you? What should you know about this vitamin before using it to treat medical or mood disorders? Consider this a quick rundown of niacin and all its properties.
Niacin is an organic compound that induces vasodilation. In simple terms, this means that it relaxes and opens the blood vessels in your body, improving your circulation and decreasing your blood pressure. Vasodilation can have many positive effects on a variety of medical conditions.
You may have heard of niacin because of the “niacin flush.” It’s a phenomenon where your face will turn red, warm, tingly and possibly itchy after taking 50mg or more. This isn’t a cause for alarm; in fact, some people actually enjoy the sensation! If you find it bothersome, however, you can offset the flush by first taking less than 50mg and slowly building your tolerance to your required dosage.
Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3 because it was the third B vitamin to be discovered. It’s occasionally referred to as nicotinic acid as well.
Niacin is considered an essential human nutrient. A lack of niacin can lead to a disorder called pellagra, or niacin deficiency, that’s categorized by the following:
– Skin lesions
– Inflammation of the tongue
– Fatigue, lethargy, weakness
– Sensitivity to sunlight
– Difficulty falling or staying asleep
– Hair loss
Niacin deficiency is rare because it’s found in many common foods like chicken and yeast. If you’re experiencing two or more of these symptoms, however, you may be at risk of the condition. Talk to your doctor about including niacin supplements in your diet.
Niacin is used both officially and unofficially to treat a variety of medical conditions:
– Arthritis. Since niacin dilates the blood vessels, it can improve circulation and lessen pressure around the joints. This will reduce the kind of pain that arthritis causes.
– Cholesterol control. Niacin has been shown to boost HDL (“good”) cholesterol while lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It’s also effective at combating triglycerides, sometimes even more than prescription medication.
– Cardiovascular health. Niacin can be used to make nicotinamide, a special compound that improves cardiovascular function. People who have suffered heart attacks are at less risk of a second one when they take nicotinamide.
– Artery and blood pressure conditions. If you have something like atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries, niacin will relax them and help you get your blood flow back under control.
In addition to helping medical conditions, niacin has also been shown to lessen the symptoms of certain mood disorders. For example, it’s frequently used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It works on a variety of levels:
– The increased blood flow from niacin helps to soothe and stabilize heart rates. If you have something like agoraphobia or social anxiety disorder that flares up every time you step outside, taking niacin 30-60 minutes before leaving can keep your pulse slow and steady despite outside stressors.
– Niacin can give you a general feeling of relaxation and calm. Again, it has to do with the way niacin dilates the blood vessels and lessens pressure on your muscles, joints and arteries.
– Niacin can counter the effects of adrenaline. Your body enters fight-or-flight mode when you’re anxious, stressed or upset, and this floods your system with unnecessary adrenaline. Niacin can stop you from entering fight-or-flight mode or lessen the effects of it once triggered.
– If you’re suffering from niacin deficiency, one of the symptoms is sleeplessness. Insomnia can lead to anxiousness, irritability and a weakened immune system, so giving your body the niacin it needs will help you obtain a deeper, calmer sleep. Tomorrow won’t look so stressful when you’re well-rested.
The Importance of Niacin
These are just a few things you should know about niacin. As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you start adding niacin to your daily vitamin regimen, so use these facts and benefits to figure out how niacin can work for you.