What is Niacin?

Niacin, better known as vitamin B3, is one of eight B vitamins and is commonly used for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. However, there are other uses for niacin that are valuable for the Adrenal Fatigue sufferer or useful in chronic fatigue syndrome treatment, which we will discuss in further detail. When used correctly, niacin can be a very useful tool in supporting your journey to adrenal recovery. But let us first understand this beneficial vitamin and the role it can play.

Niacin does not require a prescription, and it is a nutrient that everyone needs on a daily basis. Niacin is water soluble, so any niacin our body does not need is excreted in the urine, not stored in the body, meaning it needs to be consumed daily. On the flip side of this, there is no danger in consuming higher than usual doses, as compared to over dosing on pharmaceuticals where the effects can be detrimental to your health.

Bear in mind that although vitamins such as niacin are more gentle on the body, it does not necessarily mean that they are less effective than pharmaceuticals. In fact, used in combination with other vitamins, minerals, glandulars and/or herbs in a holistic chronic fatigue syndrome treatment, they can be just as effective, or even more so.

Depending on the unique circumstances of the person, varying amounts of niacin are required, and these dosages need to be monitored closely as they do have the potential to cause paradoxical reactions for the sensitive adrenal fatigue sufferer. In terms of deficiency, an insufficient supply of niacin in the diet can cause a multitude of problems such as nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches and tiredness.

When the body is chronically deficient in niacin, it can lead to a disease called pellagra, and is most often found in underdeveloped or developing countries with areas of widespread poverty and malnutrition. Common psychiatric symptoms of niacin deficiency include irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, apathy, and depression.

For those who desire to increase this valuable vitamin through dietary means, there are many different types of foods that have naturally occurring niacin which you could incorporate into your diet to help increase levels of niacin. Foods that have higher levels of niacin include leafy greens, crimini mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, red meat (especially in organ meats such as liver and kidneys), poultry, fish (tuna, salmon, anchovies), and also eggs.

The amount of niacin present in these foods, however, is only a fraction of the dose that is required to see significant change in your health if you are suffering from some form of niacin deficiency. To experience a noticeable difference in your health, much higher doses are required than what is available from diet alone and supplements are required.

Although niacin is considered a comparably safe and gentle vitamin, extreme care must be taken as niacin should only be taken as part of a structured protocol from an experienced healthcare practitioner, because it is also a detoxifying agent, which we will discuss further.

How Does Niacin Help With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment?

Let us now consider the other use of niacin that is helpful for those with chronic fatigue syndrome or adrenal fatigue syndrome. It is an undeniable fact of life that in the Western world we are living in a largely toxic environment. In North America alone, over 75,000 chemicals are produced, 3,000 of which go into our food supply.

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Changing our lifestyles with diet and exercise and choosing to use natural products in our homes and on our bodies are a great start towards detoxification. But this alone cannot completely eliminate the toxins that are stored in our bodies because fat cells within the body end up storing toxins that cannot be metabolized or eliminated by either diet or exercise. These fat cells have the ability to shrink, but they also have the ability to grow again. It is believed that between 400 and 800 toxins can be stored in our fat cells.

From a biological perspective, the liver is one of the most vital organs in the body. Physiological processes such as chemical balances cannot occur when its function is impaired. Significantly, the liver plays a pivotal role in the elimination of toxic substances from the body by converting them into water soluble byproducts for excretion.

In theory, the liver filters the blood of noxious substances such as pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals which are acquired from the environment and through diet. In many cases, when the liver is overloaded with toxins, this causes liver congestion, which diminishes the ability of the liver to detoxify.

Best Practices for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

Failure of the liver to filter wastes and toxic substances from the blood for elimination leads to excessive accumulation of toxins in the body, which causes physiological imbalances and cellular toxicity. Liver congestion can be addressed through liver flushes and cleanses to remove toxins from the blood.

In practice, cleansing of the blood improves the functioning of body cells owing to the improved supply of nutrients and clearance of wastes. Another method of addressing liver congestion is through niacin as a detoxifying agent.

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© Copyright 2014 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

There is no study to show this, but we do notice that for people who have a ‘Heaty” type body, as defined by traditional Chinese medicine ( TCM), tend to have them occur more frequently.

By: Dorine Lam, RDN, MS, MPH

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