“Orthomolecular medicine.” is a fancy word for – you guessed it – nutritional therapy -the practice of taking large mega doses of vitamins to cure disease. Personally, I prefer to receive vitamins and minerals from herbs and food. However, sometimes specific therapies for specific purposes are good for short term and tailored healing. The Niacin Flush Protocol is one of those therapies Niacin is water soluble and anything above your body’s requirements will be flushed out through the kidneys. This is what makes this therapy safe. However, there are some side effects, as with all supplemental therapies, it is not a “cure-all” and while the pathways to healing are opening, the work is still yours to do.
Niacin or B3 is important for energy production, cellular integrity and blood formation. It plays a part in the nervous system and has been found to be effective in certain mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia. Toxins and excess hormones are stored in the body through fat and the brain. Fat can even produce its own hormones, which can have an effect on a person’s reproductive system if an over abundance of hormones are circulating in the body. A niacin flush is a good way at mobilizing these toxins through large doses of a B3 vitamin followed by sweat therapy (saunas and exercise, deactivated charcoal and vitamin c (anti-oxidant). a
The benefits of Niacin Flush Therapy are many. It removes and detoxifies harmful chemicals from the body. It can help when someone wants to lose weight, gain muscle, naturally grow hair and treat depression or anxiety and reduce cholesterol. However, keep in mind it is not a magic cure all pill. When using it to help lose weight, it will not burn extra fat, but it will give the person more energy to do more reps or run just a little longer. This burst of energy is beneficial. Utilize it. This boost of energy will also help someone build more muscle by giving more energy to keep lifting. A niacin dosage will stimulate the body in producing growth hormone, but the person will still have to work themselves hard to benefit from this addition. And, while it releases toxins, it is important to help the body “clean up” those wastes.
Niacin deficiencies are not common these days because we get our daily requirement through food such as eggs, peanuts, turkey, chicken and mushrooms. The standard daily requirement is 10 to 100 mg. Although, all bodies are different and what could be a normal amount for someone, might not be a normal amount for someone else.
Flushing is an overdose of niacin with the intention of performing a detox on the body. It works by dilating the blood vessels to increase flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. This gives a person a red flushed look that can feel like a sunburn or cause itchy skin. The blood vessels dilating are what cause the slight tingling, redness and a feeling of warmth/heat.
(side note: I will do a live blood test of a before and after niacin flush and amend this article with the results)
Not all Niacin is the same. it is important to use nicotinic acid and not the niacinamide. Niacinamide is widely used in multivitamins and B-complex formulas and is considered a slow release capsule.. It has plenty of benefits, but has exactly zero effect to flush. This “no-flush” niacin is also known as inositol hexanicotinate. Nicotinic acid is what has the flush effect and what is required for this therapy. As blood cells are all throughout the whole body, this flush has many beneficial results for nearly every function in the body from metabolism to immune health.
As well as the removal of harmful chemicals, cholesterol levels improve. Niacin lowers low density lipoproteins (LDL). lower triglycerides, improves high density lipoproteins (HDL) and increases the ratio of large/small particle LDL. That last one is especially important. We now know that LDL isn’t a single molecule. It actually comes in several “flavours” or subtypes. LDL-A is a large fluffy molecule that is virtually harmless (unless it becomes damaged by oxidation). LDL-B, on the other hand, is a nasty little bugger—a hard, small, dense molecule that can definitely contribute to atherosclerosis. In other words, your LDL number itself isn’t so important. It’s what subtype you have that can make the difference. Pattern A—where most of your LDL is of the fluffy type—is good. Pattern B—where most of your LDL is the hard, dense type—is not. Niacin has been shown to shift the ratio, so you have more LDL-A and less LDL-B. And that’s way more important than just reducing overall LDL.
The flush can also help when someone wants to lose weight, gain muscle, naturally grow hair and treat anxiety. It is not a magic cure all pill but it gives the overall body more energy and this burst of energy is beneficial. It also stimulates the body in producing growth hormone. It increases the blood flow through the scalp and allow once dormant hair to grow again. The veins in the skin of the scalp will improve their circulation feeding the follicles necessary vitamins and minerals for hair growth.
The most common foods to eat to have a niacin overdose are tuna, shiitake mushrooms, raw crimini mushrooms and chicken breast.
The goal is to get about 500mg in your system a day. Any adult should be able to take 100mg of Niacin at a time. A child or teenage dose is considered 50mg. It is water soluble so it does not really store up in your body. If you don’t feel the flush from your Niacin, you either have the wrong kind or you did not take enough.
Dosage for Adults: The goal is to take 1000mg a day. Everyone is different so this is a test and trial therapy for you. You can start by taking 100mg of Niacin. If you notice no flush within a half hour, it is not enough. So the next day, take 200mg. If the flush is too much for you to handle, take 150mg the next dayr ather than 200mg. The goal is to slowly increase to the 500mg but don’t take it all at once…you manage several doses a day to equal 500mg total. For example, you might take 100mg with breakfast, 200mg with lunch and 200mg with dinner. As you take it and get acclimated to it, test your dosage level and see how much you need to get that flush. You should notice that if you used to take 200mg and get a severe flush, after two weeks, 200mg gives you a tiny flush or not much of one at all. Now you can increase your dose to 250mg twice a day. Each person is different and has different tolerance levels. You can also powder the niacin tablet. This is easily done by crushing it between two spoons. Powdered niacin on an empty stomach can result in a flush within minutes.
Here’s an example of recommended dosing for a niacin flush with an extended-release niacin supplement:
Week 1: Slowly increase towards 500 mg (as per above)
Weeks 1–4: Daily dose of 500 milligrams broken up over three times a day.
Weeks 5–8: Daily dose of 1,000 milligrams over three times a say
Female patients have been known to require lower doses than male patients to see a desirable response. If the response to 1,000 milligrams is not adequate, the dosage may be increased to 1,500 milligrams and then 2,000 milligrams each day if needed. Niacin doses over 2,000 milligrams daily are usually not recommended. It’s also recommended not to raise niacin dosage more than 500 milligrams over the course of four weeks.
A bit about the Flush Response: If you get a mild flush, you will feel a little red and tingly in various places. Your skin will turn a bit red. The elbows, and ears are very common “hot spots”. If you get a serious flush, it will feel like you got a nasty sunburn and your heartbeat will race. You will wonder if you should be calling 911, but fear not, it is absolutely harmless and it will go away in about 30 minutes. Try drinking some water. There is absolutely no harm in the Niacin flush, even though it may feel like you may spontaneously combust because you seriously overdosed.
Warning: Since niacin also acts like a statin drug, staying away from citrus fruits is probably a good preventative measure. Some people report allergy-like systems although there is no science to this.
It is believed that some people metabolize niacin more rapidly. One suggested reason other than our sex (male and female) is dehydration. It is good, as with all detoxification therapies, Increase pure water intake before and after taking the niacin.
I also recommend to take Vitamin C 30 minutes after and an evening dose of Activated Charcoal as a means to help the body remove the toxins. . Most therapies recommend either a sweat therapy (sauna or exercise) to also help the body remove the toxins creating a well rounded cleaning. All these efforts assist the body in the removal of the toxins through the body, GI tract and skin.