Saturday, April 30, 2011

Depression and niacin

My wonderful friend Keith Lightfoot sent me a video link to a very engaging documentary.  The documentary was about vitamins and the drug/medical industry. Well worth watching when you have a hour or so to sit and relax.
This is the stuff I am taking

Anyway one of the people on the documentary make a comment about high doses of niacin is helpful with depression. Now as you would expect I have a good dose in my multi (not quite as high as I would have made it, but short of making my own supplement nothing is ever going match what my current thinking is).

Thinking that nothing tried, nothing gained, when to a health store. Was very impressed with the woman shop assistant. She was well versed in metabolic pathway's and in fact when asked if I wanted flushing or non flushing niacin I didn't know! Rather an unusual experience for me.

Anyway took the 500mg tablets, and take them twice a day with my normal multi's. I have noticed a distinctive difference. Can't quite put my finger on it. It is subtle...... I still get tired and when I am tired I still lethargic (which is a big issue in depression). However when tired I don't try to motivate myself (or tell myself how lazy I am being), I just accept myself for being tired and know that I can chill out and that is ok. When I am well rested I seem to be able to do stuff without working up the motivation. That is things occur naturally without me having to physic myself.

A analogue would be when you get your glasses prescription updated. You could already see well with your glasses (as compared to not wearing them). This is like the antidepressant in my case. But if you update your prescription the finer points come back into focus.

Lastly I have noticed a big difference in my mood the day after having a beer. I only have a drink on Friday night or Saturday as I know that the day after is a much more likely to be a slow or depressed day. Being a home brewer (I don't drink much and 500ml of beer has same antioxidant levels of a glass red wine) this can be rather annoying. However the day after having a pint is slower, but not really a big deal.   

So I will definitely be taking lots of niacin for the foreseeable future. Go try some yourself !  


  1. Thanks for the information re Niacin, it is always good to read your articles.
    You mentioned that there was a difference between flushing and non flushing, but you did not explain the difference, or explain how/why a person would select flushing or non flushing.
    How did you decide which one to purchase?

  2. Keith good questions. At the shop I had to make an on the spot decision, cause I had never heard of the two types. I choice the larger dose - which was 500mg non flushing. Think though I will try the 100mg flushing next time. Doing some reading post purchasing..... it appears that a flush occurs when you have completely saturated your body with niacin. So you slowly increase the dose until you flush, then keep increasing until the flush stabilizes at a specific dose.

    So in terms of feedback the flush would be good. Also if you had sub optimal/trouble converting the non flush compound into the "free form" of niacin the flushing type would give a better result. (The woman in the shop suggested flushing type as some people find it gives a better result)