Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble nutrient that is used to aid in the treatment of a wide range of ailments. The uses of niacin include reducing bad cholesterol while promoting higher levels of good cholesterol, promoting heart health, balancing mood, and helping individuals achieve restful and recuperative sleep. Niacin is also essential to the conversion of carbohydrates into energy that in turn helps to fuel all the systems in the body, promoting an overall sense of well-being and fitness.
Niacin is typically used in two different forms: nicotinic acid and niacinamide. Typically, one form provides more support with certain illnesses and ailments, while the other is likely to provide more benefits in different ailments. Physicians can usually evaluate the overall condition of patients and decide which of the two forms would be most effective.
One of the primary uses of niacin today is in the treatment of bad or LDL cholesterol. In the form of nicotinic acid, the uses of niacin in this application can make it possible to lower this type of cholesterol in the bloodstream. In recent years, tests have indicated that using nicotinic acid along with some type of prescription cholesterol medication can quickly bring the condition under control, and significantly lower the risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack. Along with lowering the bad cholesterol, nicotinic acid can help to increase HDL or good cholesterol in the system, which further helps to reduce the chances for developing any type of cardiovascular disease. There are even time released niacin products available by prescription, offering patients another alternative to correcting improper cholesterol balances in the bloodstream.
As part of the action of balancing good and bad cholesterol, the uses of niacin also include helping the body to regulate blood pressure levels. By including foods such as salmon, poultry and several different types of nuts in the diet, it is possible to lower high blood pressure and prevent the development of heart disease. Even if blood pressure is already a problem, combining regular consumption of these foods within a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise can make a positive impact on blood pressure levels.
Along with the rest of the B vitamins, the uses of niacin also extend to nourishing and regulating the nervous system. Niacin itself is one of the nutrients that helps to repair damage to nerve sheaths that is often present in people who experience different types of anxiety disorders and phobias that trigger panic attacks. The uses of niacin also include helping to alleviate mild depression and promote a mood that is more balanced. Part of the reason for this effect is that niacin, especially in the form of nicotinic acid, promotes circulation, which helps to feed the brain and nerves with the nutrition necessary to function efficiently. Best of all, the water-soluble nature of niacin makes it possible to use the vitamin in supplement form along with most types of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, with no worries of side effects.