More healthy benefits linked to Niacin – available at ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare

Since I posted last weeks article on Niacin-based skincare products, I have been doing some more research on the benefits of this somewhat lesser-known B Vitamin and just today my husband, Scott was talking with some of his contemporaries (they are early 40s) about stress-tests, blood-pressure and cholesterol – and how niacin effects them all which shed even more light on this important subject. Knowing more about this Vitamin (B3) and how it might have a postive effect and contribute to healthier skin is allowing me to create spa treatments that are more effective in restoring skin to proper health and balance. It also provides me with another “tool” to customize my facial and body treatments even more to treat very specific conditions that might otherwise not respond to more mass-marketed, “Department Store” cosmetic products. Just a note about “Department Store” skincare – when you find yourself overwhelmed by pretty packages and pretty sales-people, make sure to ask them what percentages of the “important ingredient” are used in their product(s). While they probably won’t have an answer, a quick look at the label will provide a hint – the further towards the end of the ingredient deck (list) the lower the percentage of that ingredient in the jar (or tube, or bottle). It is not uncommon to find less than 1/10 of 1% of a particular ingredient in a high-priced, OTC cosmetic product that has that touts that same (low-percentage) ingredient in big, bold letters on the front of the package. With that said, our Nia24 products contain upto 5% of active “Pro-Niacin” in addition to much higher than normal percentages of Sodium Hyaluronate and other concentrated extracts. Click Here to view last week’s post of Dr. Oz and Oprah discussing these great products that we use in our facial treatments at ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare on a daily basis.

There is a wonderful article on the potential benefits of Niacin from the University of Maryland Medical Center where family friend and former neighbor (and Pittsburgh native) Dr. Bartley Griffith holds the post of Professor of Surgery and Director of Cardiac Surgery and Cardiothoracic Transplantation. Below are some of the more relevant excerpts. Read the complete article here.

Niacin, like all B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is “burned” to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body metabolize fats and protein. B complex vitamins are necessary for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly.

Niacin also helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body. Niacin is effective in improving circulation and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

All the B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store them.

The body’s needs for B3 can usually be met through diet; it is rare for anyone in the developed world to have a B3 deficiency. In the United States alcoholism is the prime cause of vitamin B3 deficiency.

Symptoms of mild deficiency include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores, vomiting, and depression. Severe deficiency can cause a condition known as pellagra. Pellagra is characterized by cracked, scaly skin, dementia, and diarrhea. It is generally treated with a nutritionally balanced diet and niacin supplements. Niacin deficiency also results in burning in the mouth and a swollen, bright red tongue.

High Cholesterol
Niacin (but not niacinamide) has been used since the 1950s to lower elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood and is more effective in increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels than other cholesterol-lowering medications. However, side effects can be unpleasant and even dangerous. High doses of niacin cause flushing of the skin (which can be reduced by taking aspirin 30 minutes before the niacin), stomach upset (which usually subsides in a few weeks), headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. There is an increased risk of liver damage. A time-release form of niacin reduces flushing, but its long-term use is associated with liver damage. In addition, niacin can interact with other cholesterol-lowering drugs (see “Possible Interactions”). You should not take niacin at high doses without your doctor’s supervision.


Because niacin lowers LDL and triglycerides in the blood, it may help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and is sometimes prescribed along with other medications. However, niacin also increases levels of homocysteine levels in the blood, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. This is another reason you should not take high doses of niacin without your doctor’s supervision.


Some evidence suggests that niacinamide (but not niacin) might help delay the onset of insulin dependence (in other words, delay the time that you would need to take insulin) in type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, eventually destroying them. Niacinamide may help protect those cells for a time, but more research is needed to tell for sure.

The effect of niacin on type 2 diabetes is more complicated. People with type 2 diabetes often have high levels of fats and cholesterol in the blood, and niacin, often in conjunction with other drugs, can lower those levels. However, niacin can also raise blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia — particularly dangerous for someone with diabetes. For that reason, anyone with diabetes should take niacin only when directed to do so by their doctor, and should be carefully monitored for hyperglycemia.


One preliminary study suggested that niacinamide may improve arthritis symptoms, including increasing joint mobility and reducing the amount of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) needed. But more research is needed to determine whether there is any real benefit.


Alzheimer’s disease — Population studies show that people who get higher levels of niacin in their diet have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. No studies have evaluated niacin supplements, however.

Skin conditions — Topical forms of niacin are being studied as treatments for acne, aging, and prevention of skin cancer, although results are too early to know whether it is effective.

Dietary Sources:
The best dietary sources of vitamin B3 are found in beets, brewer’s yeast, beef liver, beef kidney, fish, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Bread and cereals are usually fortified with niacin. In addition, foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body coverts into niacin, include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.

Available Forms:
Vitamin B3 is available in several different supplement forms: niacinamide, niacin, and inositol hexaniacinate. Niacin is available as a tablet or capsule in both regular and timed-release forms. The timed-release tablets and capsules may have fewer side effects than the regular niacin; however, the timed-release versions are more likely to cause liver damage. Regardless of the form of niacin being used, periodic checking of liver function tests is recommended when high doses (above 100 mg per day) of niacin are used.

How to Take It:
Daily recommendations for niacin in the diet of healthy individuals are listed below.

Generally, high doses of niacin are used to control specific diseases, such as high cholesterol. Such high doses are considered “pharmacologic” and must be prescribed by a doctor, who will have you increase the amount of niacin slowly, over the course of 4 – 6 weeks, and take the medicine with meals to avoid stomach irritation.


Infants birth to 6 months: 2 mg (adequate intake)
Infants 7 months to 1 year: 4 mg (adequate intake)
Children 1- 3 years: 6 mg (RDA)
Children 4 – 8 years: 8 mg (RDA)
Children 9 – 13 years: 12 mg (RDA)
Males 14 – 18 years: 16 mg (RDA)
Females 14 – 18 years: 14 mg (RDA)

Males 19 years and older: 16 mg (RDA)
Females 19 years and older: 14 mg (RDA)
Pregnant females: 18 mg (RDA)
Breastfeeding females: 17 mg (RDA)

I hope you find the above information worthwhile and please remember – Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. And if you have any immediate or chronic pain or other issues, please seek the medical care of a physician as soon as possible. The above is intended for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as any type of medical diagnosis or otherwise.

Spa you Soon,
Eva Kerschbaumer
ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skincare
17 Brilliant Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
(412) 782-3888

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