Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is an important nutrient for brain health. It is a key nutrient for mitochondria which are the powerhouse for brain cells. The mitochondria convert the energy which is stored in sugar into the energy which the cell can use to do is work in the form of ATP. An ample supply of Niacinamide makes the generation of ATP more efficient and reduces the level of toxic free radicals (a bi-product of making ATP).
Vitamin B3 or niacinamide has been shown to be beneficial in a number of autoimmune diseases Almost fifty years ago Dr. Kaufman used niacinamide to successfully reduce symptoms and improve function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis over fifty years ago. Twenty years ago Yamada reported that niacinamide reduces the severity and can even reverse early type 1 diabetes in mice. In 2006 Kaneko reported that using niacinamide was effective in preventing and reducing the severity of existing disease in the animal model of multiple sclerosis. However studies have not been published about humans using niacinamide to treat or prevent MS.
How does one get vitamin B3? It is possible to take vitamin B3 in supplement form. Niacin (a form of vitamin B3) has often been given to treat patients with low HDL cholesterol (good or protective cholesterol) and has been associated with flushing, headache and abnormalities in the liver with very high dosing. Niacinamide, another form of vitamin B3, has far fewer side effects, even at high doses. Food sources include tuna, salmon, liver and other organ meat, mushrooms and nutritional yeast.
In general obtaining nutrients through food is superior to using supplements. First, the body is unlikely to absorb toxic levels of the nutrient. Also when whole food is consumed, additional micronutrients which are beneficial to the body are usually present. Our understanding of clinical nutrition is still primitive. There are thousands of other useful micronutrients which have not been identified.
What doses have been used? The mouse study which showed reversal of the animal model of MS used 0.5 mg per kilogram. The niacin version of B3 has been used in doses between 500 and 5000 mg for treating cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis. However because of the potential for problems with high doses (anything over 500 mg) it is important to have a physician monitor liver function through blood tests. It is likely that doses which have been used for treating high cholesterol would be an acceptable dose range when trying to reduce the severity or prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Vitamin B3 in the form of niacinamide is a very important nutrient for brain health. Best food sources are wheat germ, mushrooms, organ meats, tuna and salmon. Supplements are another option. Doses over 500 mg a day should be monitored by a physician. Other conditions have been treated with doses as high as 5 grams per day.