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Also known as niacinamide or nicotinic acid amide, nicotinamide is the amide portion of Vitamin B3 or niacin. The substance occurs naturally in the body as niacin is processed, although it is now possible to purchase synthetically produced niacinamide at most health food stores. Many people prefer the use of nicotinamide supplements, as they do not cause the flushing that is common with the use of niacin supplements.
In the body, various forms of niacinamide are created as niacin is absorbed into the cells. Forms such as nicotinamide dinucleotide and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate naturally occur in the body and help to provide a number of health benefits, including help with various types of skin conditions. Many products formulated to aid in the treatment of acne and other skin problems will include niacinamide. Various types of sunscreens are also likely to include this form of B3 in their formulas.
Another health benefit often associated with nicotinamide has to do with the treatment of anxiety. When consumed in significant amounts, this form of B3 can help lessen many of the symptoms commonly experienced by people who suffer with anxiety and panic disorder. The vitamin may help reduce the general feeling of unrest, help a racing mind to calm down, and has even proven to help aid in the recovery from a panic attack. While the vitamin is water soluble, it is still possible to ingest toxic amounts in a short period of time. Generally, as much as one to two grams per day is considered to be within safe limits. Anything above two grams should only be taken under the guidance of a physician.
It is important to note that nicotinamide does not contain all the health benefits that come with ingesting niacin. For example, this form of B3 does not have the cholesterol-fighting properties of niacin. Niacinamide is also much less likely to help with gastrointestinal issues. While many people prefer this product rather than niacin because it does not cause the flushing sensation common to taking larger doses of undiluted B3, it is a good idea to consult a physician before choosing nicotinamide over niacin. This will ensure that the supplement will address the relevant health issues, and that a niacin supplement would not be more effective.
Further testing on the benefits of nicotinamide supplementation indicates this form of B3 may be helpful in aiding patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, in that the supplement may increase the ability of the patient to regain some sense of cognition. The supplement may also help restore a more balanced frame of mind to people suffering with depression. However, at present both these applications are still being investigated and should not be considered established treatments for either of these conditions.