Niacin and Pellagra - Part 1
James D. Hajicek
June 15, 1999
My name is James D. Hajicek, and I live in Wisconsin. I am now 59 years old, and am self-employed with a custom software and computer service business.
I have had many symptoms suggestive of a spirochete disease: intermittent arthralgia in both knees, muscle stiffness, floaters, tinnitus, numbness in one leg, unrestful sleep, other neurological problems, chronic fatigue, and also a peculiar skin problem.
I have been treating myself with a "megadose" of niacin for almost four months now. There was an immediate, strong improvement in my sleep patterns. There have been other promising signs, and also mild Herxheimer reactions. I can elaborate on this later, but it is not really my purpose here to offer anecdotal evidence at this time.
I have been using the niacin treatment based upon an unconventional theory that pellagra was not a vitamin deficiency disease, but rather that pellagra was caused by a Borrelia spirochete, and that niacin was found to be preventive and curative for pellagra because it has some kind of antibiotic property.
Let me say here that I have no medical credentials. I am not attempting to diagnose anyone or to recommend treatment for anyone, but am only describing my own therapy. Niacin can raise blood sugar levels, and is dangerous for people with diabetes. Time-release formulations can plug up liver ducts, and there can be other problems. I am treating myself, but it is usually recommended that this kind of treatment be performed under the care of a physician.
I am not selling anything, nor am I promoting any particular vitamin supplier. I am taking about 4000 mg of regular niacin per day. This is 200 times the RDA. I buy regular niacin at a local pharmacy in a large economy size, no prescription is required, and it costs me about 15 cents per day. There is no big fortune to be made on this therapy.
I started with a lower dosage, and increased over time. Niacin can cause a flush reaction over large portions of the body for an hour or so. This can be uncomfortable and alarming, but it is believed to be harmless. I tried to get a flush, because I believed that the extra blood supply to my skin was in itself therapeutic. Sometimes I was able to have three flushes per day, but now after adjusting to the niacin, I do not flush at all.
My Case History, Abbreviated
I quit my last regular employment in 1990, believing that I was suffering from "burnout". I did not realize at the time that this slight fatigue was only an early warning sign of more serious problems ahead, or I might have tried harder to keep my job and my health insurance.
I have not been diagnosed with Lyme disease, but I am intending to eventually be tested. I may be infected with something different, but similar to LD, and I may have had it for as long as 30 years. Besides many of the usual LD symptoms, I now get small sores on my arms, legs, and torso. These sores heal slowly and may recur after appearing to have healed.
So far as I can remember, I was never bitten by a tick, but I was bitten repeatedly by "black flies" while camping in northern Minnesota in the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This is the Simulium venustum fly, also called the "buffalo gnat". They are active in the spring and early summer. These gnats get inside of shirt sleeves or pant legs, and can gnaw away at the flesh for some time before being discovered.
I was treated by a dermatologist two years ago with 30 days of an oral cephalosporin antibiotic. This was beneficial, but he refused to renew the prescription for another 30 days. I have not been to see a physician since.
After suffering increasing fatigue for another year, I began to treat myself. Hot showers relieved the fatigue enough so that I was able to use the internet effectively for research, and I began to attend a Lyme disease support group in Madison, WI.
I had read on the sci.med.diseases.lyme newsgroup that some physicians were recommending that patients not take vitamin supplements during their antibiotic therapy, and I mentioned this at a support group meeting. Two people immediately said that this was wrong. One woman said that she knew that vitamins were beneficial because she felt better when she took them. Another woman said that she knew that vitamins were beneficial because she felt worse when she took them, which she attributed to a Herxheimer reaction. There is a little humor here.
I considered the first statement to be believable. At first, I considered the second statement to be obvious nonsense, ridiculous even. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered, "What if?" The question then became to determine which of the vitamins might possibly have an antibiotic effect. After a little investigation, I settled on niacin.
I can now add my own testimony to the strange proposition that a "vitamin" can cause something like a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction.
Why I Began to Post
My therapy is still in the experimental stage. I have discussed it with people in the Madison, WI support group, and have given out supporting documentation. However, I had not intended to widely disseminate this theory until I had a positive indication that it was helping at least myself. It would be bad for people to abandon regular antibiotics in favor of a wild idea which might not really work. It is one thing to be willing to experiment on oneself, but quite another to entice others to be guinea pigs.
However, one of my support group friends kindly sent me a photocopy of the Phillips paper about the culturing of Borrelia spirochetes. This paper contained a surprise. The recipe for the culture medium includes "yeast extract".
Infection, vol. 26 (1998) No. 6, pp. 364-367
A Proposal for the Reliable Culture of Borrelia burgdorferi from Patients with Chronic Lyme Disease, Even from Those Previously Aggressively Treated
S. E. Phillips, L. H. Mattman, D. Hulinska, H. Moayad
... 10 ml of medium were boiled to dissolve the agar just before use and the following was added to each tube: 1 ml separately autoclaved yeast extract from a 10% solution to give a final concentration of 1% ...
... Even small variations produce no growth. For example, 2% yeast extract instead of 1% is inhibitory. ...
The "yeast extract" is probably rich in niacin. Brewer's yeast was known to possess pellagra-preventive properties as early as 1928.
The yeast extract contains a multitude of nutrients, and is presumably necessary for the culture. However, it clearly also contains something which inhibits the spirochetes. If the inhibitory factor is niacin, perhaps the niacin could be somehow removed from yeast extract, making possible an even more reliable culture medium.
The important need for a reliable spirochete culture, as quickly as possible, compelled me to make an immediate public announcement of this idea, however premature, without any further delay. I began posting to the sci.med.diseases.lyme newsgroup the day after receiving the Phillips paper.
If this theory is right, and if researchers are already working on this, then I apologize for any ensuing problems with the research or with subsequent publishing of the research results. However, the modern practice of secret research does not fully serve the public.
If this theory is right, and if researchers are not working on this, then someone should get started. Whatever the "inhibitory" component of yeast extract, it should be possible to identify it, and to use it in treating patients.
If this theory is wrong, then I apologize in advance to everyone, both to the researchers and to the patient community.
Comparison of Pellagra and ACA
It is the purpose of this and the next two sections to compare the dermatitis of pellagra with that of acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans.
Pellagra is characterized by what are called the four D's: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death. It is difficult to study pellagra today, because it is not as common now as it was years ago.
Acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, or ACA, was first recognized in 1883. It is now considered to be a late manifestation of Lyme disease. This is more common in Europe than in the United States, perhaps due to a different species of Borrelia or due to a failure to properly recognize and diagnose this problem in the US.
Pellagra is an acute condition, with a rapid deterioration of the skin, followed by severe peeling, with the loss of subcutaneous fat, followed by either death or by the regrowth of brown paper-thin skin. ACA is a chronic condition, with a course over years, with continual scaling and peeling, leading ultimately to the loss of subcutaneous fat, and brown paper-thin skin. The end result seems to be quite similar, but the progression is more rapid in pellagra. This difference does not prove that the cause is different, only that pellagra is more serious than ACA.
Some photographs of pellagra are deceptive in their appearance, because they show the scaling as the principal visual feature, rather then the condition of the skin after the scale has been removed and partial healing has taken place. This should be taken into account when a comparison is made between these two conditions.
Pellagra is now said to be caused by a deficiency of niacin. It has been proven that dietary supplementation of Vitamin B3 is a cure for this disease. Until 1915 it was generally believed to be a contagious disease caused by an unknown pathogen. Then Joseph Goldberger reported that it was caused by an inadequate diet. However, he had great difficulty convincing many of the medical authorities of his new theory.
What I am suggesting is that, (1) niacin cures pellagra, (2) the dermatitis of pellagra has some resemblance to ACA, (3) ACA is caused by LD, and that therefore (!) niacin might be useful therapy for Lyme disease.
I have no medical training. I am aware that many medical experts will probably find reasons to quickly reject this idea. I am also aware that completely different diseases can often cause similar symptoms, and that dermatology is especially difficult in this regard. Also, pellagra is not listed in the differential diagnosis list for ACA, so what seems similar to an untrained person like myself with no clinical experience may seem completely different to experienced medical people.
However, I suggest that the possible pellagra and ACA resemblance should be given further consideration by those who are familiar with both conditions. Although the early researchers were unable to identify a pathogen in pellagra, I suggest that a search for a spirochete cofactor should be made with more modern instruments and methods. Also, that niacin should be investigated for possible antibiotic properties, and tested for treatment of chronic LD.
I am not claiming an identity for pellagra and LD, but I am merely noting a resemblance in some respects. One difference is that the people who suffer from pellagra are often malnourished and deficient in all of the vitamins, truly suffering from multiple metabolic problems. Moreover, there are many possible spirochetes other than LD which are candidates for being a cofactor in the development of pellagra. For example, many species of spirochetes are commonly found in the pockets around the teeth and other places in the body, which could become opportunistic pathogens.
Having given two possible reasons for a different presentation, let me continue by listing the similarities. First, it may be noted that both pellagra and Lyme disease can cause mental problems. Secondly, the resemblance between them also consists in the fact that both pellagra and ACA are conditions of the skin which seem to involve atrophy of the skin.
In the following sections, I choose selections which emphasize the similarities rather than the differences.
The quotations below were mostly obtained from internet sites and medical dictionaries. The web sites given below sometimes also include some photographs, but those internet photographs are quite inadequate. For some good photographs of Pellagra, see the book Pellagra, discussed in Part 2. For a description of ACA and one good photograph, also see the book:
Everything You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
and Other Tick-Borne Disorders
Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner, 1997
John Wiley and Sons
Here are some descriptions from various sources:
Custom Medical Stock Photo, Inc.
a photograph of pellagra on both lower legs
National Institutes of Health, Museum of Medical Research
http://www.nih.gov/od/museum/exhibits/g ... -text.html
A loathsome skin disease, it was called mal de la rosa and often mistaken for leprosy. ...
Mosby's Medical, Nursing, & Allied Health Dictionary, Fifth Edition
... It is characterized by scaly dermatitis, especially of the skin exposed to the sun; ...
National Library of Medicine
A family, mother and children, all suffering from pellagra, which caused the skin to turn red and then scaly. Stomach disorders, diarrhea, and depression followed. Victims often became insane.
Health World Online
http://www.healthy.net/library/books/ha ... ins/b3.htm
One of the first signs of pellagra, or niacin deficiency, is the skin's sensitivity to light, and the skin becomes rough, thick, and dry (pellagra means "skin that is rough" in Italian). The skin then becomes darkly pigmented, especially in areas of the body prone to be hot and sweaty or those exposed to sun.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, PubMed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/ ... b=m&Dopt=b
abstract of "Particular features of clinical pellagra."
Rom J Intern Med 1994 Apr-Jun;32(2):165-70
Dumitrescu C, Lichiardopol R
... sun-exposed teguments revealing erythema and rapidly becoming pigmented and parchment like, ...
Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Edition 15
... Skin may become dry, scaly, and atrophic. ...
In summary: pigmented, scaling, parchment-like, atrophic skin
Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans
Here are some descriptions from various sources:
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
a photograph of ACA on one lower leg
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
a photograph of ACA on both lower legs
Freidrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
http://www.derma.med.uni-erlangen.de/bi ... 701810.htm
... a dermatological condition that takes a chronically progressive course and finally leads to a widespread atrophy of the skin.
Posted by email@example.com on sci.med.diseases.lyme, apparently taken from "Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans: Historical and Clinical Overview," by Rudolph J. Scrimenti.
Eventually, atrophy appears in the involved sites, subcutaneous fat is lost, and inflammation may subside. Now the skin becomes wrinkled, thin, scaling, dry, hypohidrotic and transparent. The underlying venous architecture is readily visible.
... early infiltration and/or inflammation and, later atrophy.
I translate the following descriptions from German:
University of Heidelberg, Medical Clinic
http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~cn ... m_lyme.htm
... beginning with swelling and brownish discoloration of the skin at the affected places (chiefly hands and the extensor side of the lower arms and lower legs), later changing over to an atrophic state with cigarette-paper thin and wrinkled skin.
Austrian Institute for General Medicine
Typical for that is a thinning of the skin, especially on the lower extremities. The veins show clearly through the cigarette-paper thin skin.
In summary: brownish, scaling, paper-thin, atrophic skin
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.
Niacin Therapy for Lyme Disease
James D. Hajicek
June 15, 1999
My name is James D. Hajicek, and I live about 4 miles west of Burlington, WI.
I have been treating myself with a "megadose" of niacin for what I presume is Lyme disease for almost four months now. This is an unconventional therapy. This concept of this treatment is based upon a wild surmise that pellagra is a type of Borreliosis, and perhaps even a manifestation of Lyme disease.
This is not a solicitation. I am not seeking diagnostic assistance or medical advice for myself, at least not over the internet. Neither am I at this time trying to provide anecdotal evidence for my progress. What I have to say about my personal case history at this time is primarily intended to explain my motivation in all of this.
I am trying to generate an interest by qualified researchers with understanding of LD to reinvestigate the etiology of pellagra with a new perspective. Investigators years ago searched for an infectious organism for pellagra, and failed to find one, but they may not have had adequate tools. Also, I am trying to generate interest in applying the knowledge gained in the treatment of pellagra to the treatment of LD, and to the problem of creating reliable spirochete cultures.
Essentially, I am suggesting that when niacin is used in a large dose that it functions more like an antibiotic than like a vitamin.
Niacin and Pellagra
* Part 1 - introduction, spirochete culture, pellagra and ACA
* Part 2 - biting insects or ticks are a cofactor in pellagra
* Part 3 - lessons learned from the study of pellagra
Niacin and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
* NADH and CFS