What is popularly called niacin - vitamin B3 - is actually a term for two compounds - nicotinic acid and nicotinamide.

Niacin is synthesized in the body from tryptophan, an essential amino acid that must be supplied with food.

It plays a role in metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins - The sources from which the body obtains energy.

There are basically three forms of niacin - the two mentioned above and inositol hexanicotinate.

It is important to pay attention to this, because the supplements on the market today may contain different forms - and not all of them work the same way.

Effect of niacin

Although B vitamins are usually associated with their effects on the nervous system, this is not the only scope of their action. In general, B vitamins have important functions in Energy metabolism, nervous system function, skin and hair health, immune system function, and DNA and red blood cell production.

The first paper that described the effect of niacin on cholesterol levels in humans was published back in 1955. Thanks to it, we know that it Nicotinic acid lowers "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing "good" cholesterol.

Effect of niacin on weight loss

Niacin acts to activate the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is responsible for breaking down triglycerides in adipose tissue and releasing them into the bloodstream for use as an energy source by the body.

This process Can help reduce the total amount of fat stored in the body, which leads to a reduction in body weight. Unnecessary fat in the human body is accumulated mainly in the form of just triglycerides.

Niacin breaks them down, making it much easier to shed unwanted pounds. In addition, by improving the lipid profile, it has a salutary effect on our health. Thus, it exhibits a comprehensive action in the area of fat management.

Supplementation with niacin in the process of weight loss is a very sensible idea. It will effectively make it easier to get rid of unnecessary fat, in addition to improving cholesterol levels - unfortunately, the fact is that these levels in people struggling with overweight and obesity do not look...favorable, which in a simple way leads to diseases of the circulatory system.

So it seems that niacin is just that - a harmless vitamin that will painlessly remove excess weight. But are you sure?

Side effects of niacin

Well, no. An overdose of niacin carries with it a whole arsenal of side effects, including death.

Skin redness and itching These are among the less unpleasant effects.

Indigestion, acute liver failure or cardiac arrhythmia - They should effectively deter you from taking niacin in large doses to achieve the effect you dream of.

Dosage of niacin

Supplementation should start with small doses, on the order of 25 mg. You need to pay special attention to this when choosing a preparation - there are even 600 mg doses available on the market.

Opinion on niacin

Without scaring you further, let's draw your attention to another issue. The basic prerequisite for losing any amount of weight is a negative caloric balance. The easiest way to achieve it is with a proper diet - not a "diet" in the sense of restrictive eating plans - that stays with us for the long term.

Niacin, despite all its benefits, by itself will not cause spectacular weight loss. Instead, it is a factor that will not only positively affect our health, but also support our efforts.

The body unfortunately produces too little of it - It is mainly supplied with food, so its supply depends on what is on our plate. This is one of the reasons why niacin supplementation makes sense not only for people trying to lose weight, but also for people who want to improve their health.


ALTSCHUL R, HOFFER A, STEPHEN JD. Influence of nicotinic acid on serum cholesterol in man. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1955 Feb;54(2):558-9. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(55)90070-9. PMID: 14350806.

Capuzzi, D. M., Morgan, J. M., Brusco, O. A., & Intenzo, C. M. (2000). Niacin dosing: Relationship to benefits and adverse effects. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 2(1), 6471. doi:10.1007/s11883-000- 0096-y

Douglas MacKay, John Hathcock, Erminia Guarneri, Niacin: chemical forms, bioavailability, and health effects, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 70, Issue 6, June 1, 2012, Pages 357-366, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00479.x