Benefits have been proven with niacin therapy for treating the following conditions:
* high LDL cholesterol
* heart attacks
Niacinamide does not reduce LDL cholesterol levels. The relative benefits of niacin and niacinamide are in general not known, but the body converts niacin to niacinamide, and niacinamide to other related compounds.
It is my understanding that benefits are being tested with niacinamide therapy for the following condition:
* juvenile-onset diabetes
Niacinamide is believed to prolong the time before insulin is required, following the presence of specific antibodies that indicate developing diabetes. When the official testing has been completed, perhaps this will be accepted therapy, and routine screening of young people will become common. I am not sure exactly how far along the testing is for this disease.
Caution: Niacin can raise blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should definitely take niacin only under a physicians care. Niacin can also cause liver damage and gout.
Anecdotal evidence of benefits, not generally accepted by the medical authorities, has been claimed for treating or preventing the following conditions with niacin or with niacinamide:
* bad breath
* learning and behavior problems in children
To this list, the items of which can be found in various testimonials, I would like to add the following item from my own personal experience:
* disturbed, unrestful sleep
Judge for yourself how many of these symptoms may be associated with Lyme disease or with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some of these conditions, like the juvenile-onset insulin-dependent diabetes, apparently have no known cause. If niacin is ultimately proven to be effective for this "autoimmune" disease, consider how many other such "autoimmune" diseases might also respond if treated in time.
Read the following extremely important, twelve-page paper:
Vitamin B-3: Niacin and its Amide
A. Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
This was written by a psychiatrist, A. Hoffer, apparently in 1995, and discusses arthritis as well as some other medical conditions.
One of the topics discussed by Dr. Hoffer is that of "Concentration Camp Survivors". He argues that the malnutrition leaves the survivors with a permanent need for niacin therapy. Relapsing fever is a Borrelia disease transmitted by ticks and lice. There might also be other Borrelia species transmitted by lice or bedbugs.
Niacinamide has been used for over 50 years for treating arthritis, as first described in books written by W. Kaufman. See Reference 13 in the above paper. The evidence is anecdotal, not generally accepted, but it seems that many physicians continue to use it for arthritis treatment. It is hard to know for sure, because these statistics are not reported. However, if it is true that niacin may sometimes help arthritis, it suggests a Lyme disease connection.
With regard to the safety of niacin therapy, you may want to locate the following paper.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, PubMed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/ ... b=m&Dopt=b
J Am Coll Cardiol 1986 Dec 8:6 1245-55
Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin.
Canner PL, Berge KG, Wenger NK, Stamler J, Friedman L, Prineas RJ, Friedewald W
The "Coronary Drug Project" ran for 9 years on a group of people with heart problems, tested a number of drugs, but found none of them to prolong life during that time.
However, the above follow-up study, made after another 9 years, found that the mortality rate from all causes for the niacin group was 11% lower than for the people in the placebo group. This was after the end of the original study, and people in the study groups were not necessarily even still taking the drugs. Apparently niacin has a preventive effect for more than one disease.
This information should be common public knowledge, but apparently is not.
The follow-up study was published over 12 years ago. No effort has been made, so far as I know, to begin a new study on healthy subjects. It seems obvious that a more thorough study would have merit, because heart disease may be preventable.
If arteriosclerosis is ultimately determined to be caused by a bacteria infection, as seems to be likely, the exact role which niacin plays in treating heart disease will be of increased interest.
Properties of Niacin
Niacin is a simple molecule, not complex like that of the usual antibiotics. This small molecule ought to be easily absorbed by the intestines, easily pass through the blood-brain barrier, and be absorbed by all of the cells of the body. All of this needs to be demonstrated, or refuted. However, it would seem to have a good chance of working against even cell-wall deficient forms of bacteria, even those hiding inside of human cells.
Niacin was originally called nicotinic acid. It was discovered in 1867, and sat on chemists shelves with no obvious use. When this was first proposed as a vitamin in 1937, many people thought that it was chemically too simple to be classified with the other vitamins.
The usual therapeutic dosage of niacin for an adult male is 1000 milligrams three times per day, following meals, in other words, 3 grams per day. This is 150 times the RDA for this vitamin. Harmful side effects are possible at this level, but mostly when the time-release formulations are used instead of regular niacin. It is usually recommended that treatment be performed under the care of a physician.
Apparently the continuous niacin can plug up liver ducts, causing fluids to back up, which results in jaundice. Physicians can monitor the liver enzyme levels, and prevent possible problems. Liver damage is usually reversible by discontinuing the niacin therapy.
Flushing with niacin, but not with niacinamide, is common when therapy is first begun. Flushing is a reddening and a burning sensation of large portions of the skin, caused by a dilation of the capillaries, much like a histamine reaction to an allergen. This begins perhaps fifteen minutes after taking niacin on an empty stomach and lasts less than an hour. Some people find the flush to be uncomfortable, but it is considered to be harmless, and may be related to the benefit obtained. It is considered prudent to begin therapy with a smaller dose of niacin, perhaps 100 mg at a time, then increasing the dosage as the body becomes accustomed to it.
Niacin has been illegally used to keep ground beef from turning brown with age. The perpetrators of this scheme have been caught when someone has gotten a flush from eating a hamburger.
Inflammation is part of the body's healing process. It indicates that the defense system is at work.
When a cell is under attack, it releases a histamine. This is an SOS signal asking for help. When enough histamine is released in a local region, the blood vessels dilate, and blood cells and antibodies go to the rescue.
There may be times when inflammation does more harm than good, but in general, taking antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and other pain killers merely disables the body's defense mechanisms.
Vasodilators and Vasoconstrictors
It is said that the niacin flush is caused by the body cells releasing histamines. Perhaps the cells react to niacin flowing through the cell walls, as if they were under attack.
In any case, niacin is a vasodilator. It opens up the small blood vessels. The flush reaction is due to the capillaries opening in the skin, and letting in more blood. This allows antibodies and extra oxygen to reach portions of the body which are normally out of reach.
The opposite is true of substances like nicotine and caffeine. These are vasoconstrictors. They close the small blood vessels, and give spirochetes more room. Nicotine is noted for constricting blood vessels in the hands and feet, and caffeine is noted for constricting blood vessels in the brain. The headaches which can be caused by quitting caffeine are said to be due to the expansion of blood vessels in the head.
In conclusion, a good suggestion is to quit smoking, coffee, tea, caffeinated soda, and chocolate. Caffeine should be quit gradually, tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Good and Bad Vitamin Supplements
My motto is "B no ACE".
Although I have begun to take more than the RDA amounts of all the B vitamins, I take no more of the vitamins A, C, and E than the RDA found in a one-a-day vitamin tablet.
I am very suspicious of an extra dosage of vitamins A, C, and E, which are called "antioxidants" because they are said to fight against "free radicals". Flaxseed oil, ginkgo biloba, and many other substances said to be "antioxidants" are commonly being used by people with Lyme disease. The case in favor of these things is made with the argument that "free oxidizing radicals" injure the cells of the body. This may be, but I surmise that microaerobic bacteria like the spirochetes, which cannot survive in normal oxygen levels, are far more vulnerable to oxidizing radicals than human cells.
I am especially suspicious of excess vitamin C, because I associate the onset of health problems in 1971 and in 1997 in part with my taking a large supplemental dose of this vitamin. I am referring here to taking one or more 500 mg tablets per day, each of which is 8 times the RDA for this vitamin.
Consider the possibility that vitamin C may be a really bad idea, more beneficial to spirochetes than to the human body. Perhaps some free radicals are part of the defense system of the body, bullets aimed at spirochetes. Spirochetes are known to be fragile and anaerobic, or nearly so, and would therefore seem to be especially susceptible to an attack by the oxidizing effect of free radicals. If this is true, then taking a megadose of vitamin C might effectively neutralize one of the body's defense mechanisms against spirochetes, and make the victim more vulnerable to chronic Lyme disease.
My thinking on this subject is echoed by an article which appeared in the "Health Watch" section of the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
Chicago Tribune, February 10, 1999
Fanfare for antioxidants drowns out advice to pursue a balanced regimen
by Bob Condor, Tribune Staff Writer
The 1990s have been boom years for dietary supplements. Antioxidants, those cell-guarding compounds found in fruits and vegetables as well as countless pills, top the list as the most publicized and debated panacea in America. ...
In another widely cited study, a team of Finnish researchers reported in 1994 that 29,000 men who smoked a pack a day and took daily beta carotene supplements were 18 percent more likely to develop lung cancer. ...
Such a combination of antioxidants will reduce the body's overproduction of free radicals, those unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells and turn low-density lipoproteins into artery-clogging compounds.
But free radicals also are beneficial: They kill germs in the same way they kill other cells. In theory, taking too many antioxidants can decrease free radicals to below optimal levels. ...
I know that this is totally contrary to the prevailing opinion from the health food industry. There are a lot of merchants who are now making their living by promoting strange and exotic herbs. All you good people, please try to stop and think.
Flaxseed oil is the same thing as linseed oil. It is used in paint because it is a "drying oil". Linseed oil allows paint to dry because the oil is hardened by oxidation. The oil consists mostly of linolein, which is oxidized in the body to linoleic acid, which is then further oxidized. I cannot understand the rational for taking this as medication.
Good sources of linoleic acid are given on the internet to include cottonseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil. Linoleic acid is an essential nutrient. Common table salt is also an essential nutrient, but no one is recommending a megadose. The same may be true of vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient, but perhaps dangerous in a larger dose.
Something called "conjugated linoleic acid" is said to be a good antioxidant, and is being promoted by the health-food people. There is danger there. They sometimes used to put on maps, "Here there be dragons." Well, think about this. If oils are consumed which are easily oxidized, they will act as a sponge for free oxidizing radicals. Yes, this would be an "antioxidant", but it would sop up all of those compounds which might be a part of the body's immune system against anaerobic bacteria.
Our food supply has become flooded with antioxidant oils. Potato chips, cookies, and virtually all processed foods are saturated with these easily oxidized oils. Cottonseed oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, and most of the vegetable oils except olive oil, contain high percentages of linolein. This makes everything tasty, but perhaps we are being poisoned.
The 1998 paper by Phillips, Mattman, et al., reporting on the culture of Bb spirochetes, states that a culture medium with 2% "yeast extract" produces no growth. The purpose of this study here is to estimate what that number might signify in a quantitative sense for patient therapy.
Let us assume that the "inhibitory" component of the yeast extract is niacin. Yes, this is a big assumption, but it should be possible for research to verify or to refute this.
A qualified chemist could directly measure the amount of niacin in the yeast extract, given a sample of the particular yeast extract used by Phillips. Without this, we must use an estimate.
The following web site gives some statistics for one particular yeast extract product.
Cadersky-Envitek, Ltd., Czech Republic
RM 027 Yeast Extract Powder
Yeast Extract Powder is prepared by drying the extract obtained from yeast cells (Saccharomyces) specially cultivated for this purpose. It is manufactured under controlled conditions to retain its vitamin content and other nutritive values such as free amino acids.
It is a brownish yellow coloured, homogeneous, free flowing powder, that readily dissolves in distilled water. An aqueous solution of it is yellowish brown coloured and remains clear after autoclaving.
This site may not load correctly for you at first, but be persistent. It lists the niacin vitamin content of this product as an average of 300 mcg/g. This is the same as 300 mg/kg, or 136 mg/pound.
If yeast extract is estimated to contain 136 mg of niacin per pound, then a 2% "inhibitory" solution of yeast extract would contain 2.72 mg of niacin per pound. Therefore, at this "inhibitory" level, a 200 pound person would contain 544 mg of niacin in the entire body.
Niacin is easily absorbed by the digestive system. Let us assume that niacin is completely absorbed by the body, with none eliminated except after being transformed by various metabolic processes, and excreted in the urine.
When a 500 mg tablet is consumed, together with a glass or two of water, the niacin will partly dissolve, and then be absorbed into the blood. More will dissolve, and digestion should proceed until the niacin is almost completely dissolved and present throughout the entire body.
This is a rough assumption. If there are appropriate experts reading this, let them correct this assumption with accurate facts, and enlighten us with better information.
Using the above assumptions, it can be seen that the consumption of a single 500 mg tablet of niacin might indeed raise the niacin level of the entire body to a level which would inhibit spirochete growth.
An estimate of long-term serum levels depends upon additional assumptions about how quickly niacin is metabolized or otherwise eliminated from the body, together with information about the frequency of ingesting additional tablets.
Let us reverse the argument. As it is known that 500 mg of niacin has a profound influence on the body, it might be considered to be a powerful drug at this dosage. Consider that this is the proportionate amount of niacin which is contained in a culture medium with 2% of yeast extract. It should be no surprise that this medium is not representative of the body of a normal spirochete host. It should be no surprise if spirochetes will not grow in it.
I spent several weeks gradually increasing the dosage. I am now taking a 500 mg tablet of niacin, not niacinamide, every two hours, over a 14 hour period from the first to the last dose. This amounts to 4000 mg per day. I quit at least an hour before bedtime. I found that when I took niacin too soon before retiring to sleep, or in the middle of the night, that I suffered from slight nausea the next morning. I think that this is due to halted digestion while sleeping. In any case, this schedule ought to give my liver an eight-hour rest each day, with which I hope to avoid liver problems.
I also take a moderately large dose of other B vitamins once or twice per day.
I am trying to avoid food products containing easily oxidized oils, such as cottonseed oil and canola oil, and do not supplement with more than the RDA amount of vitamins A, C, and E.
I have adopted green beans as my favorite vegetable. The dietary study published by Joseph Goldberger in 1918 seems to indicate that "string beans" have a pellagra-preventive property which cannot be explained by any known vitamin content. This will be discussed further in the analysis of Goldberger's diet study.
There is more to my story, but it would be premature to provide further information here. Of course anything that I could say is only anecdotal anyway.