Vitamin B3 essentially comes in two forms: niacin (or nicotinic acid) and niacinamide and both possess the same vitamin activity in the body. Some people prefer to take niacinamide because niacin can cause flushing, which is characterized by itching, burning, and tingling sensations of the skin. However, niacin, not niacinamide, is recommended for circulatory problems, and it has greater cholesterol and triglyceride lowering properties.
Niacin is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. When given in large amounts, niacin has a drug-like effect on blood cholesterol levels. It seems to inhibit the secretion of cholesterol from the liver into the circulation, and also increases the amount of high density lipoprotein, the so-called “good cholesterol”.
World-renowned author and researcher, Dr. Abram Hoffer, uses very high doses of niacin to treat schizophrenia with good results.