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Niacin (Vitamin B3) For Depression - Has Anyone Tried It?


jemmunro

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I have never started a new topic, so I hope that I am doing this correctly.   

 

I wanted to share my experience with Niacin supplementation with everyone. 

 

I have suffered with moderate to severe depression my entire life.  Last August, after 9 years on Effexor, I stopped taking it because of the side effects.

 

I tried supplements as recommended by Julia Ross in her book The Mood Cure, but they were not effective for me.  My depression became so severe last October that I had to go back onto an anti-depressant (Bupropion), but this medication made my depression much worse.  I was then put on Trintellix (the Canadian version of Brintellix).  The Trintellix was helpful, but side effects soon began to appear.

 

I happened upon an article about a Psychiatrist who had used niacin to successfully treat depression.  When I Googled niancin and depression, I came upon many other blogs and comments from other people who had found niacin to be effective in their struggle against depression.

 

I was desparte to find an alternative to taking anti-depressants, so 4 weeks ago, I began supplementing with niacin plus vitamin C as recommend.  I had already been taking a vitamin B multi, magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D (I live in Ontario, Canada, and it can be difficult to get enough sunlight in the winter months).

 

I started with 100mcg of niacin along with 1,500mcg of vitamin C after each meal.  I have been gradually increasing the dose on niacin by 25mcg increments each day. ( I use only the regular niacin, not the timed release, nor the "non-flushing" type, as these have been related to potential health problems.)

 

Since I began supplementing with niacin & vitamin C, I find that my depression is/has diminished signficantly.  I am no longer suffering fron that bottonless well of depressive feellings that had been with me since last fall.  I stopped taking Trintellix 3 weeks ago and my depression has continued to lift each day. 

 

I am not advocating the use of vitamins or supplements, nor suggesting that anyone stop taking their medications.  I just wanted to share my storey.  I wish everyone all the best.

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Interesting! I was just reading the other day about how the niacinamide (flush-free) in the b-complex I have *occasionally* used can cause headaches, but the "flushing" thing from standard niacin sounds bothersome too. Must be a dosage thing I guess. Anyway, I'm glad to hear it's working for you! :)

 

Did you have any cognitive symptoms of depression like focus, concentration, or memory problems? If you do, I wonder if you have or would be able to track any changes in these as well.

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Hi sabishikunaru

 

Yes, I did experience severe cognitive issues with memory,  concentration and "brain fog".  I believe that the Effexor contributed to these issues in many ways.  The constant hunger and cravings for sugar and carbs that I experienced while taking the Effexor disappeared when I stopped taking the Effexor.   Once the cravings and relentless hunger disappeared,  I was able to begin eating healthy meals once more.  My memory improved dramatically and the brain fog is much less of an issue that it used to be.   

 

My concentration is still not what it was, and I continue to experience fatigue, but have found that vitamin B12 shots seem to be helping  with these issues.  I had been taking B12 sublingually in the form of cyanocobalamin but recently discovered that this form is not as effective as the methylcobalamin form, so I plan to switch to the methyl form of B12 once the vial of injectable is empty. 

 

I would agree that niacin can cause an occasional headachy feeling, but given that the Effexor caused multiple debillitating headaches every week,  ranging  from moderte to migrain in severity, the slight occasional headachyness that I experience from the niacin is almost undetectable.

 

 

As for the flushing, I have not yet flushed.  As recommended, I started with a low dose of niacin (and include vitamin C with each dose).  I have been gradually increasing each dose by increments of 25mcg, and am currently up to 1,000mcg after each meal and before bed.  My understanding is that once my body has reached the saturation level of niacin, I will begin to feel a flush and then the idea is to stay at a dosage level that causes a mild flush to occur.  

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*nods* Thanks so much for answering my question. It sounds like you're on a similar path to mine. Though I didn't concentrate on niacin specifically, I also have been addressing nutrition, and like you, it's returned me to a balanced mood as well as greater (but not yet 100%) mental clarity.

 

You know, not that I want to go back on Zoloft or anything, but I've long wondered if a higher intake of nutrients (especially b vitamins, protein, and omega 3s) would make SSRIs more effective at a lower (and therefore better tolerated) dose. I know good reasons each of these nutrients could improve performance of a drug that blocks serotonin re-uptake but I doubt careful testing has been done in any of these cases, unfortunately.

 

I wonder if your carb and sugar cravings could have been due to an Effexor-induced subclinical protein deficiency? Not only is protein needed for neurotransmitters like serotonin to be produced, but it also helps balance blood sugar and control hunger.

 

My usual source of b vitamins is dairy. I didn't have much for a while so I decided to take my supplement form one day, but then I foolishly followed it up with some newly purchased yogurt too. For the first time, I ended up with a day-and-a-half-long headache. Now to be fair I was also a little bit dehydrated on the first day, but I don't get headaches very easily at this point in my life, so that was very disturbing.

 

Thanks for the tips about niacin. I'll be sure to look up more information about it too, when I can. :)

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I think you are correct, we are on a simialar path.  Based on my experience, I have come to belive that nutrition plays a significant role in maintaining intestinal health, and that intestinal health has a trementous impact on mood and cognitive abilities. I have begun to notice an increase in the number of articles on the web that suggest that brain health is directly related to intestinal health, particularly a balance of flora and fauna in the gut. 

 

I didn't start out with the idea that vitamins or minerals might be able to help reduce my depression.  It was purely accidental that I came upon an article suggesting that magnesium might possibly play a significant role in reducing depression.  When I tried magnesium, I did feel a slight improvement, but not enough that I was able to stop taking anti-depressants.  But that slight improvement I experienced from magnesium inspired me to research information on other vitamins or minerals that might be helpful in  reducing depression. 

 

I found that a multiple vitamin B supplement also seemed to help aleviate some of my depression, but again not enough that it  allowed me to stop taking anti-depressants.  It was only after I began supplementing with niacin that my depression really lifted and I found that I could discontinue taking anti-depressants. 

 

Since discovering that a member of the B family of vitamins could affect my mood so dramatically, I  too have been paying a lot more attention to nutrition.  I belive that the constant cravings for sugar and carbs that I experienced while taking the Effexor for 9 years caused a severe roller-coaster of blood suger instability, which probably contributed to the on-going cravings.

 

Unfortunately it is unlikely that any major studies will be financed by the big pharmaceutical companies to determine whether nutrition or supplementation might reduce the need for pharmaceuticals.  The pharmaceutical companies only have interest in continuing their billion dollar yearly profits from the sale of their drugs.  It is so very sad.  I am very grateful to all of the the people who took the time to post their own positive experiences in battling depression through the use of supplementation and nutrition.  Without the informtion that they have shared, I would never have considered the possibility.

 

I love dairy, but I get my B vitamins either via supplements or meat.  I would like to be able to include dairy in my diet, but have found that I  experience intestinal upset, bloating and headaches when I injest the pasturized and chemical laden dairy products that our Canadian government forces upon us.  I envy those states in the U.S. who still have the freedom to choose raw milk and cheese products.

 

I am so glad that you have found a natural way to stabilize your mood. 

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Yup, gut health it is! (I think kefir has made the biggest difference for me there.) :smilingteeth:

 

I meant to write that I got b vitamins from meat and dairy, but I had yogurt on my mind I guess, lol. I'm Canadian too so I don't have access to unpasteurized dairy. I wish we had a bit more choice (especially when it comes to butter), but our conventional milk is at least of a higher standard than conventional milk in the US anyway. Note we don't have chemicals in our (basic) milk here. Added hormones aren't allowed in the industry at all (including meat), and antibiotic-treated milk is forbidden as well. So-called "shelf stable" ultra-high temperature (UHT) flash-pasteurized milk (which requires thickeners like various bean gums/gum arabic because ultra high heat destroys the cream) is technically allowed to be sold, but thankfully it hasn't caught on.

 

Dairy cows are also fed more grass during their lifetime than cattle for slaughter, who get grain-based feed only, starting after something like 6 months or a year. So dairy cows even have a more natural (but not completely by any means) diet than the ones going to slaughter. If you're reacting to dairy, I'm guessing it's probably because of its natural irritants. Lactose intolerance, or possibly a problem with casein or whey protein. As you probably know, *most* people (and probably most mammals) lose the ability to digest lactose with age, after all. Another possibility could be milk's surprisingly high insulinemic effect, or its cofactors that prevent *naturally* occurring growth hormones from breaking down during digestion (for the benefit of growing calves), especially if combined with a leaky gut. I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy yogurt and cheese as much as I do with few ill effects. (If I go overboard, it seems to cause me mild acne flare-ups.)

 

It's with meat that things get loosey goosey in Canada. Still no added hormones allowed (except in packaged foods imported from the US!), but we do have a terrible problem with farms here "preventatively" putting antibiotics in all their animal feed. So I hope you're buying from an organic farm. (I can't afford to myself, so I just take my chances. It's more important to me to get good nutrients in than it is to keep every single possible irritant out. Certain other healthy things I consume should hopefully be helping to mitigate that.)

 

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Canadian dairy doesn't have chemicals! Other than that you know what is good for you, so if it still affects you then by all means avoid it.

Edited by sabishikunaru
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Sorry I wasn't clear.  I agree that milk of Canadian origin is unlikely to contain growth hormones or antibiotics due to strict government regulation.  

 

When I refer to the chemicals in milk, I mean the residual chemicals that dairy cattle injest and absorb from living on a typical, modern (non organic) dairy farm these days.  I live in the country, and every season I see the pesticides and herbicides that are routinely applied to fields in which crops are grown. 

 

With the standard practise of crop rotation, these same chemical laden fields are used to grow forage (hay) for livestock (including dairy cattle).  Glyphosate acid is routinely sprayed on "roundup ready" soy beans during their growning stage, and it is often applied to a field of hay just prior to a final cutting when that hay is being killed off (to be planted into a different crop in the next growing season).  After the appllication of glyphosate acid the hay is still used as hay or haylage for livestock.  I believe that livstock injest far more chemicals than we realize, and that these chemicals are often stored in the animal's body or expelled in the milk in the case of dairy cattle.

 

As for dairy cattle having access to pasture, I wish it were true for every herd.  I know of many dairy cattle that are chained to their stanchions night and day with occasional access to small grassy areas which are too small to provide more than a little nibble of grass to each animal. 

 

My gripe with the government's regulations making the sale of raw milk direct from the farm illegal is that I don't have the choice to purchase milk from the family down the road, who practise "organic" farming by refusing to use herbicides and pesticides on their land.  Instead, the milk I buy is mass collected from all dairy farms in a specific area. 

 

I actually have no digestive issues when I consume raw organic milk while visiting at my Uncle's farm.  I only wish we lived closer to him. 

 

,

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Oh I see now! Good points, organic is definitely better, and I wish I had the opportunity to try raw and even non-homogenized milk myself! I envy you there. I've been considering seeking out the non-homogenized (but still pasteurized) organic milk for a rare (but expensive) treat some time.

 

Anyway, thank you for clarifying, and for the additional information. I wonder if things are a bit different here in Manitoba. From learning about farms here, I was under the impression that dairy cows get at least some grass throughout their lives, even if they're chained up the whole time. (I wasn't saying that they were pastured at all, though. Wouldn't that be nice!) I certainly may have been overgeneralizing about that observation though.

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No I haven't, but I am all for giving it a try.

 

I been taking Omega3's and high doses of Vitamin D(3), I definitely have seen some improvements with those.

My biggest problem was remembering to take them, but now I seem to have that solved.

Edited by SimplyExisiting
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No I haven't, but I am all for giving it a try.

 

I been taking Omega3's and high doses of Vitamin D(3), I definitely have seen some improvements with those.

My biggest problem was remembering to take them, but now I seem to have that solved.

The combined omega 3s and vitamin D (+ vitamin A!) are the reason I take cod liver oil! It's definitely helped my depression (as well as anxiety, dry eyes, and skin quality) too, without a doubt. I have tried to cut down or change which cod liver oil I'm taking and symptoms inevitably recurred, so I ended up having to buy a larger bottle of the one that works for me, haha.

 

There a lots of dairy farms that do provide pasturing for their cattle, unfortunately, not all of them do.

 

Care to share what other healthy things you include in regime?

I only began to realize what a huge impact diet has around January, so I'm still learning. I'm sure what I've got so far will be nothing new to you, but I'm happy to share.

 

• I eat as close to whole, natural foods as I can manage (no more processed foods/mixes, artificial colours, or hexane-extracted "natural flavours")

• I eat as nutrient dense as I can affordably manage

• I get as much EPA and DHA as I can (cod liver oil daily; salmon/sardines/herring at least once a week)

• I eat to reduce inflammation (mainly by avoiding insulin spikes)

• I get animal protein into as many meals of the day as I can (helps with energy and mental focus)

• I eat natural animal fats only (strict personal ban on trans or other human-made fats)

• I eat much more (natural) fat than I used to, mainly from sources like coconut oil, butter, meat, or avocados.

• I avoid bread, because for some reason it doesn't take much to give me brain fog

Edited by sabishikunaru
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There a lots of dairy farms that do provide pasturing for their cattle, unfortunately, not all of them do.

 

Care to share what other healthy things you include in regime?

I only began to realize what a huge impact diet has around January, so I'm still learning. I'm sure what I've got so far will be nothing new to you, but I'm happy to share.

 

• I eat as close to whole, natural foods as I can manage (no more processed foods/mixes, artificial colours, or hexane-extracted "natural flavours")

• I eat as nutrient dense as I can affordably manage

• I get as much EPA and DHA as I can (cod liver oil daily; salmon/sardines/herring at least once a week)

• I eat to reduce inflammation (mainly by eating as low glycemic as possible to avoid insulin spikes)

• I get animal protein into as many meals of the day as I can (helps with energy and mental focus)

• I eat natural animal fats only (strict personal ban on trans or other human-made fats)

• I eat much more (natural) fat than I used to, mainly from sources like coconut oil, butter, meat, or avocados.

• I avoid bread, because for some reason it doesn't take much to give me brain fog

• I avoid caffeine, because even small amounts can give me gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and/or insomnia

• I try to get fermented foods in when I can (mainly kefir or yogurt, but I hope to make pickles in the future)

 

Ugh, I wanted to edit this to say I'd answer later instead, but the site went down while I was trying. I really shouldn't have answered the question at the time, as I was very tired and so my ADHD(-like) symptoms were on overdrive. I guess hyperfocusing on forum posts doesn't fix inaccuracies and the tendency to omit stuff that comes with (mental) exhaustion. Anyway, I put the changes in red above.

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I have a low Vitamin D level (again, it would seem) and am starting supplements today.  I used to be on massive supplements a couple of years ago, but don't remember if it helped with the depression.  I'm having major problems with depression now, so it will be interesting to see if it helps.  I've also just consulted with a functional medicine doc who is going to do a complete food allergy evaluation.  I'm already gluten free, but she thinks I likely have other food allergies.  

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I have a low Vitamin D level (again, it would seem) and am starting supplements today.  I used to be on massive supplements a couple of years ago, but don't remember if it helped with the depression.  I'm having major problems with depression now, so it will be interesting to see if it helps.  I've also just consulted with a functional medicine doc who is going to do a complete food allergy evaluation.  I'm already gluten free, but she thinks I likely have other food allergies.  

 

I hope you find relief from your depression, please keep us posted and let us know how you are doing. 

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No I haven't, but I am all for giving it a try.

 

I been taking Omega3's and high doses of Vitamin D(3), I definitely have seen some improvements with those.

My biggest problem was remembering to take them, but now I seem to have that solved.

If you decide to try supplementing with niacin, you make want to google the topic of niacin for depression.  There is some very good information on the foodmatters website, and I like to read the comments on the scapegoat.com website from others who have found relief from depression via the use of niacin.

 

A couple of important things to remember:

1. Be sure to use the regular niacin (Do not the slow release, nor the "non flush" type as these types of niacin have been linked to health problems). 

2. It is recommended to take vitamin C with niacin, it is supposed to help with absorption.  Many people find it is best to take niacin

     just after a meal to prevent or limit flushing.

 

I wish you all the best, please let us know how you are doing.

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There a lots of dairy farms that do provide pasturing for their cattle, unfortunately, not all of them do.

 

Care to share what other healthy things you include in regime?

I only began to realize what a huge impact diet has around January, so I'm still learning. I'm sure what I've got so far will be nothing new to you, but I'm happy to share.

 

• I eat as close to whole, natural foods as I can manage (no more processed foods/mixes, artificial colours, or hexane-extracted "natural flavours")

• I eat as nutrient dense as I can affordably manage

• I get as much EPA and DHA as I can (cod liver oil daily; salmon/sardines/herring at least once a week)

• I eat to reduce inflammation (mainly by eating as low glycemic as possible to avoid insulin spikes)

• I get animal protein into as many meals of the day as I can (helps with energy and mental focus)

• I eat natural animal fats only (strict personal ban on trans or other human-made fats)

• I eat much more (natural) fat than I used to, mainly from sources like coconut oil, butter, meat, or avocados.

• I avoid bread, because for some reason it doesn't take much to give me brain fog

• I avoid caffeine, because even small amounts can give me gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and/or insomnia

• I try to get fermented foods in when I can (mainly kefir or yogurt, but I hope to make pickles in the future)

 

Ugh, I wanted to edit this to say I'd answer later instead, but the site went down while I was trying. I really shouldn't have answered the question at the time, as I was very tired and so my ADHD(-like) symptoms were on overdrive. I guess hyperfocusing on forum posts doesn't fix inaccuracies and the tendency to omit stuff that comes with (mental) exhaustion. Anyway, I put the changes in red above.

 

Thanks for the update, I too have replied to posts (or written e-mails) when I was too exhausted and then spent even more time editing them. LOL

 

It sounds like we eat much the same way.  I really miss bread (and sandwiches).  I was going to try making fermented sour pickles this summer, just have to wait for my cucumber plants to start producing.

 

I read an interesting hypothesis the other day from a nutritionist who theorizes that the reason so many people in America are/have developed gluten sensitivity is actually due to the routine spraying of glyphosate acid (Roundup) on wheat cops just prior to harvest to make the entire field "ripen".  Apparently wheat grown in Europe is not sprayed with glyphosate acid, and people (even people who have gluten sensitivities ) can eat products made from wheat grown in Europe without  experiencing gluten related issues.

 

We are poisoning ourselves.

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Me too, except I'm glad to say I only miss crusty breads now. I used to eat a lot of packaged grocery store breads but I no longer have the desire to touch them.

 

That would be an interesting hypothesis to follow up on, but as far as I'm aware, glyphosate is used on GMO crops only, isn't it? Corn and soy are the prime GMO crops. Wheat isn't one (yet), so glyphosate would **** it. Unless the theory is that low levels of glyphosate from *other* crops are contaminating wheat just enough to denature its proteins, that doesn't make sense to me. Also, I sometimes eat nixtamalized corn tortillas. Corn is generally GMO unless labelled otherwise, yet one or two of those on the odd day doesn't seem to give me a problem. I admit it is a pretty low dose though.

 

Anyway, crisp corn tortillas or tapioca flour crêpes seem to be my bread substitutes. I have to be careful with the latter especially, but having a good amount of protein and fat alongside (or in my previous or next meal), seems to help balance things out. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

You are correct, wheat is not (yet) a GMO plant, but because  wheat kernel growing in a field has tendency to ripen at different rates, this results in some wheat being ripe and ready for harvest, while other wheat kernels are still green. 

 

So prior to harvest farmers apply glyphosate to the field of wheat as a way to desiccate the still green wheat kernels so that when the harvested crop is taken to the mill, the moisture level of the wheat kernels is within the acceptable range. 

 

Here is a link to more information regarding how common the practice of spraying wheat fields with glyphosate has become over the years. 

 

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/#at_pco=cfd-1.0&at_ab=-&at_pos=2&at_tot=7&at_si=55abc7d6eb42343e

 

Yum!  I love corn tortillas!

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Just an update on how niacin therapy is working for my depression.

 

After struggling with depression for the past 30 years, and battling severe depression for the past 10 years,

I have now been off anti-depressants for 8 weeks.

 

I began taking niacin (vitamin B3) 2 months ago and am finding that it is as effective as any of the anti-depressants

that I have used in the past, but without the awful and debilitating side-effects.

 

I am currently taking 1,900 mg of niacin along with 2,000 mg of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) 4 times daily. 

 

If anyone is interested in learning more about niacin therapy, google the topic  .....   niacin and depression.

 

In addition to niacin and ascorbic acid, I also take a multi-B vitamin and chelated magnesium.

 

All the best to everyone.

Edited by jemmunro
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  • 1 year later...
  • 9 months later...
1 hour ago, squeakels said:

I am now free of Zoloft after 18 years!  Slow taper and supplement with B Vitamins and Niacin (flushing kind as it does not destroy your liver)  I do not feel apathetic about life anymore like I was on Zoloft. I believe these vitamins help!  

Flushing kind...what is that?

Thanks!

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  • 2 years later...

I have been taking Niacin for 2 months now. I was on 25mg dexedrine 2x daily for 2 years. When I tried to wean off I found myself in way more severe depression, anxiety and depersonalization. I thought I will never get off the drug. But when I started Niacin 500mg once a day I tapered down the dexedrine to 9mg 2x day. And instead of feeling worse due to withdrawal my depression lifted.

However, the last few days have been real bad. The dexedrine did it's part, I should have never taken it. Two nights ago I took 750mg of Niacin and I felt 90% better. But today it has not been that good so I don't know if I felt better because of Niacin. But overall I am satisfied because it helped me reduce a lot of dexedrine and made me feel better.

I take only single dose because I couldn't find out if it is immediate or sustained release. But I will order some IR and try it 2 or 3 times a day.

If one does not have severe liver problems or diabetes, I would suggest to try it. The "flush" version seems to work better. I read on pubmed a patient with severe bipolar disorder weaned off 11 drugs he was taking thanks to Niacin and was in complete remission as long as he took it. When they tried him to go without it, within 2 days he would relapse.

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