Common ailments like anxiety, depression, diarrhea, irritability and the appearance of sunburn are all linked to the same nutritional deficiency.

Health Grades says, “Pellagra is a disease that affects your digestive system, skin, and nerves. Symptoms of pellagra can be constant or occur periodically. Pellagra varies among individuals. Some people have mild symptoms, such as fatigue, while others may develop severe depression and anxiety. ”

Vitamin B, specifically B3, is considered one of the main sources of  prevention for pellagra. Medline Plus describes pellagra as, “Having too little niacin or tryptophan in the diet. It can also occur if the body fails to absorb these nutrients. It may develop after gastrointestinal diseases or with alcoholism. The disease is common in parts of the world where people have a lot of corn in their diet.”

Common signs of pellagra are diarrhea, inflammation of the skin, skin eruptions and rashes such as dermatitis, reddened skin, scaly skin, sunburn looking skin, rashes with clear outlines (much like hook worm), cracked hard skin, crusty skin that bleeds. Mental deviations such as apathy, depression, anxiety, dementia, schizophrenia, irritability, headaches, confusion, restlessness, tremor, delusions, disorientation and psychosis have all been linked to B3 deficiencies.

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DermNet NZ says, “Since tryptophan in the diet can be converted to niacin in the body, both of these need to be deficient for pellagra to develop.”

2014-03-04 20.26.56In Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, says, “Vitamin B3 is important for the proper functioning of (the) nervous system. Prevents pellagra. Promotes growth. Maintains normal function of the gastrointestinal tract. Necessary for metabolism of sugar. Maintains normal skin conditions.”

He goes on to say pellagra was nearly wiped out by the enrichment of flour with vitamin B3 in 1942.

Dr. Hoffer says, “There are two chemicals with vitamin B3 properties, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Both are converted into coenzyme one or nicotinamide as niacinamide. Both are similar members of the B-complex.”

WebMD says, “Niacin is an FDA-approved treatment for pellagra, a rare condition that develops from niacin deficiency.” However, people today trying to heal gut damage through microflora repair, such as GAPS, often see skin challenges that are eradicated with B3 supplementation.



They go on to say, “Niacin has also been studied as a treatment for many other health problems. There’s some evidence that it might help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes. However, more research needs to be done.”

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, neurologist, neurosurgeon and author of GAPS, says damage to the microflora in the intestinal tract is the root cause of autoimmune diseases, metal toxicity and inflammation afflictions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis and type 1 diabetes.

Dr. David Williams says, “Niacin causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up near the skin, which results in a hot, tingling sensation accompanied by a red flushing of the skin. Generally, by starting with low amounts of niacin (50 to 100 mg a day) and gradually increasing the dosage, a person can quickly build up a tolerance and avoid the flush. Taking niacin immediately following a meal will also lessen the flushing sensation. (Niacinamide, the alkaline form of niacin, doesn’t cause flushing and it works just as well for most things.)”

Dr. Hoffer says, “(Nicotinic acid – vitamin B3) are usually bound in the mono- or dinucleotide form. Sometimes they are so tightly bound that they are not hydrolyzed by the intestinal enzymes, and are therefore not utilized by the body. The vitamin B3 in corn is so bound.”



Taking niacinamide tablets allows for a slow release, eliminating the possibility of flushing. This is preferred by those who take 1,000 mg three times daily and are visible to coworkers or public in the workplace. Flushing is evidenced through heat and a red flushing face causing embarrassment.

For those who experience mental confusion and take niacinamide the slow release can lead to a slow and steady relief of symptoms when a desired immediacy is the goal. Taking more niacinamide in this case will result in an excess in the long run causing it to be excreted through urine which some considered wasteful. Niacin would be the optimal choice in this situation if the flush is tolerated.

Dr. Hoffer adds, “We suspect that niacin may also work because it is the best known antagonist to adrenochrome. Adrenochrome is made in the heart muscle by oxidation of adrenaline.”

In the book Oxydative Stress And Neurodegenerative Disorders, G. Ali Qureshi and S. Hasan Parvez say, “In the early 1950s, Osmond and Smythies realized that pink (which is deteriorated) adrenaline sprays were making some asthmatics psychotic, causing them to hallucinate.” It was later found, “The oxidation of adrenaline created the indole adrenochrome.”

Use of B3 is proving to reduce cancer tumors and causes a better recovery for those undergoing chemotherapy. Dr. Hoffer says, “According to one study, mice were injected with mammary adenocaricinoma cells and then given niacinamide, 0.2 gram/kg body weight, thirty minutes before they were given radiation. This is equivalent to 12 grams per day of niacinamide for an average human adult. Although the vitamin had no effect on tumor volume in these animals, the tumor volume decreased 86 percent after irradiation in niacinamide-treated mice and remained 79 percent lower at four weeks.”



Scientists believe the success with tumors is because the niacin enhances blood flow to tumors.

Dr. Gerson, famous for his research and cure rate of cancer patients through cleansing with juicing and coffee enemas four times a day saw enormous success using 50 mg of vitamin B3 eight to ten times a day, dicalcium phosphate with vitamin D, vitamin A & D as well as liver capsules.

The Gerson Institute says, “Niacin helps to bring back sufficient glycogen into the liver cells. It also helps in protein metabolism, acts to open small arteries and capillaries (of course it would be discontinued with any bleeding problems.) It raises electrical potential in cells.”

Side effects are noted by all of the above as nausea and rarely vomiting, which are remedied by backing off on the dosage.

Dosage is specific to the person. Dr. Hoffer says, “One of my chronic female patients who is schizophrenic required 30 grams per day for a year. On 24 grams her symptoms came back. For the past seen years, however, a gradually reduced dosage to 3 grams has been adequate.”

In regards to histamine B3 is key.

Dr. Hoffer says, “It is necessary to give enough (B3) to empty the histamine storage sites to a level at which there is no time to replenish them by the time the next dose is taken. It may require 6 to 8 grams per day for some people.”

 Dr. Ben Lynch, a research medical doctor considered the forerunner on MTHFR genetic mutations said on May 13, 2015, “If you are taking any amount of methylfolate I have found it is very useful to take niacin. Niacin is very useful in getting rid of glutamate in the brain, along with magnesium and B6. Niacin uses methylation. Methylfolate and niacin sucks up a kind of a methyl sponge. To what degree I don’t know, but I know it works. I recommend people take 50 mg of niacin every 20-30 minutes until their symptoms go away. The second dose of methylfolate is 4 hours so most side effects should go away in 4 hours.”



He goes on to say, “Anxiety is just a symptom of dysfunction.”

Trudy Scott, certified nutritionist said on May 13, 2015, “It’s showing you there’s something underlying that you need to address.”

Foods high in vitamin B3 are liver, organ meats, meat, yeast, green vegetables and beans.

Taking niacin supplements should be done with care. Supplemental fillers and binders like rice starch, potato starch and vegetable stearate sourced from soy feed pathogens in the intestinal tract.


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*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.







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