Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Niacin the New Prozac?

Sorry it has been so long since my last post, I guess life got the best of me for a while there. I have had so many things to talk and write about, so I’m back for good now :)

One topic I have always found really interesting is the use of vitamins and foods in place of pharmaceutical drugs. Many people really don't take this seriously, because they don't know a lot about it.  Most doctors are trained in medicine, how to use medication, and when to use it, rather than how to recognize and fix a vitamin deficiency.  Surprisingly many common illnesses are the symptoms of a certain vitamin deficiency.

The other day I was watching the movie Food Matters (very interesting but don't take the whole thing seriously, especially the guy wearing the "RAW" shirt in it), anyhow they started talking about Bill Wilson and I was amazed. Bill Wilson was one of the co founders of Alcoholics Anonymous; he was introduced to the idea that niacin (vitamin B3) can be used to relieve depression and in turn alcoholism. He was depressed for many years and was battling alcoholism, so he gave it a try. Taking 3g a day of niacin, within weeks he felt great. He passed this information on to other friends going through depression, and almost all of them saw similar positive results. 

Bill tried to include this nutrition therapy in the AA program because of these results he saw personally, and in his close friends. However many of the other founders were educated as doctors of medicine and did know much about the effects of niacin. Unfortunately this never made it into AA treatment. If this topic interests you, you can read more about it on this link: http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_niacin.html

Now I'm not saying go out and take high doses of niacin if you are feeling down. Vitamins are great for you, but you need to know how to use them before you do. Niacin for example has a RDA of 16mg for men and 14mg for women daily. A RDA (recommended daily allowance) is the amount of this vitamin that half the population would need to prevent deficiency. So in other words, a lot of people need this amount, but many may need more or less.

On the other hand the UL (upper limit of intake) is 35mg a day for an adult. Side effects can occur from high doses of niacin, these include flushing, itching, high blood sugar, liver damage, and gout. However side effects are normally only seen at 2 grams (2000mg). 

So these guidelines put in place are to meet the needs of most people, not all. Do you think you fall into this group of people that need 14-16mg of niacin daily? 

Also, you should keep in mind that when you are stressed, your body uses a lot more of this vitamin, along with all B vitamins. Let's face it, our society is always stressed, rushed and pissed off. I think everyone could use a B complex supplement.

Anyhow there is a lot of research being done on niacin, studied have shown that high doses can help lower cholesterol, it can slow the progression of atherosclerosis (preventing heart attacks), and relieve depression. Interesting stuff huh? I’ll keep you guys posted on this.

The bottom line to this post is to keep an open mind when finding medical treatment, there are more options out there than what your doctor is telling you. Imagine taking niacin instead of Prozac? Sounds pretty good to me.

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