The Niacina and its Curative Power


Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.

The first soluble water vitamins named sequentially numbering them according to the moment of their discovery. Later once determined their chemical structure, scientific names were assigned to them. Third that descubrio was the vitamin anti pelagra* or B-3 vitamin, but the use of I number B-3 not permanecio long time in Literature. Its amide was replaced by the one of nicotínico acid and. This name change by its similarity with the nicotine, that is a poison, going to its definitive name of niacina and its amide. (* Pellagra: disease caused by the lack of certain vitamins and whose symptoms are the appearance of spots in the skin and digestive and nervous disturbances).

I finish of B-3 vitamin was recovered by Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholic Anonymous. Hoffer and Bill were known in New York in 1960, and Hoffer along with Humphry Osmond, introduced it in the therapy with massive doses of vitamins, showing to him the results obtained with the patients of schizophrenia, some of which also were alcoholic, aside from other benefits shortages for other diseases as arthritis, some cases of senility and to lower the cholesterol levels.

Bill was very peculiar and much was interested. It began to take the niacina, 3 grams to the day. Spent some weeks vió as desaparecián the fatigue and the depression that habia suffered during many years. It was prescribed to 30 of its near friendly but of A.A., and recomendo to them that proved it. To 10 of them the anxiety took off to them, the tension and the depression to the month to take it, and to other ten to both months. After six months convencio that podia to be itself of help for the alcoholic ones. It decided that I finish chemical or medical of this vitamin he was not the suitable one. Queria to convince to the members of A.A., especially to the doctors, of which podria to be a complement for the treatment and wanted I finish that it could become popular as rapidly as possible, for that reason reclaimed its name original B3 Vitamin. In its first report to the AA doctors I call “the Therapy to him of the VitaminaB-3.” Thousands of copies of this extraordinary pamphlet were distributed. In the end the name was successful and at the moment still the medical but preservative magazines are using I finish of B-3 vitamin.

Bill became unpopular between the members of the directive of AA International. The medical members, that habian named by Bill, thought that it did not have to walk promoting a treatment with vitamins. Also they thought that the B-3 vitamin podia not to be therapeutic as Bill habia shortage. Therefore Bill gave the information to the medical members of AA by outside the National Meeting, distributing pamphlets with his surprising studies.

The B-3 vitamin exists in the nature as its amide, the dinucleótido one of nicotinamida and adenine (NAD in its oxidized form and NADH in its reduced form). The pure niacina and the nicotinamida one are synthetic. The niacina conocia as a chemical compound during about one hundred years before one was clear as the B-3 vitamin. One becomes from the nicotine, a poison that takes place in the plant of the tobacco to protect itself against the predators, but the nicotine can be transformed into immensamente the valuable B-3 vitamin just by to break one of its ring.

The B-3 vitamin it can make the organism from the amino acid tryptophan. In average, 1 mg B-3 vitamin becomes from 60 tryptophan mgs, near the 1,5% of efficiency, although this rate is variable, since the pregnant women secure to a rate of greater efficiency 3 times. Since one makes in the organism does not respect the definition of a vitamin, vitamins are defined as substances that cannot be done. It was possible to have been classified within the amino acids, but the use of the term as vitamin during years, has given a permanent vitamin status him.

Certain the previous observation causes especulaciomes interesting. In average the women live but who the men. One has demonstrated that the men who consume niacina they increase his longevity. Is This increase of the longevity in the women the result of a greater conversion of tryptophan in niacina? Does This same phenomenon explain the low incidence of attacks to the heart in the women?

The well-known disease but by vitamin deficiencies is the Pellagra, but concretely it is a disease by tryptophan deficiency, since only with tryptophan it is possible to be cured in his first stages. The Pellagra was endemic in the USA until 2ª World war, was described as the disease of 4D (dermatitis, diarrhoea, dementia and death - death in English). The dementia is a delayed stage, in the first stages it is looked much like the schizophrenias and it is difficult to differentiate it. The method but surely used by the first pelagrólogos consistia in giving to the patients in the mental hospitals small amounts of nicotínico acid. If they recovered diagnosed them with pellagra, on the contrary, they diagnosed them with schizophrenia.


Hoffer participated in the establishment of two of the majors uses of the B-3 vitamin, aside from its paper in the prevention and treatment of the pellagra. Both uses talk about to lower the cholesterol high levels and to elevate the levels of the beneficial cholesterol (HDL), and their therapeutic paper in the case of the schizophrenias and other psychiatric sufferings. Also has been beneficial its use for other many diseases.

We see a list of diseases, with a case of example to illustrate its therapeutic power. For each of them hundreds exist and up to thousands of testimonies documented yet detail.


1) The Schizophrenias. Analyzed in depth in the study published in the press by Hoffer in 1995 titleholder “the treatment of the schizophrenia”.

2)Children with problems of learning and/or Conduct. In 1960 Bruce of seven years he came to me to visit along with his Pope. They habian it late diagnosed mental.

Podia not to read nor to concentrate themselves, and was developing problems of conduct as lacking to classes without the knowledge of its parents. They were preparing it to attend delayed special classes for mental. I began the nicotinamida treatment with, a gram tid.

After four months already it was normal. Case finished his estudiosse, has a work of complete time and pays its taxes. One is a case of the 1500 that I have tried from 1960.

(The true treatment is but complicated that what it is mentioned in article).

3) States of Organic Confusion, forms of dementia different from the Alzheimer.

In 1954 me dí account of how the nicotinico acid cured a serious case of amnesia post ECT in a single month. Greater information to consult “Niacin Therapy in Psychiatry”.

In September of 1992, Mr. C., of 76 years, I ask for help for its problems of memory. Everything forgot to him almost. If it wished to do something already, when tapeworm arrived at the place where that to do it, habia forgotten what tapeworm to him that to do. Its memory of short term was very bad and its memory of long term began to him to fail. Comence to deal with 1,5 grams niacinamida to the day.

After a month comenzo to improve. It adds niacina to his treatment. In February of 1993 already it was normal. The 26 of April of the same year, shelp me that it had thought that no longer needed the niacina, and under the dose of 3.0gr to 1,5 grams to the day. Immediately it noticed that its memory of short term began to him to fail. I had to him to recommend that it returned to the complete dose during the rest of its life.

4) Alcoholism.

Bill W.I realise first practices clinical using the nicotinico acid in the treatment of Alcoholic members of Anonymous. Was that 20 of thirty people were cured of the anxiety, the tension and the fatigue in two months when taking this vitamin, a gram three times to the day just by. I found of much utility when using it for the treatment of patients who were alcoholic and schizophrenic at the same time.

The first great experiment was realised by David Hawkins that I report a greater recovery to 90% in near 90 patients. Since then it has been used by many doctors in the treatment of alcoholic.

Physical diseases

1. Cardiovascular Of both majors findings done by my group of investigators in Saskatchewan, the connection between the cholesterol and the nicotínico acid she is well well-known and the nicotínico acid is used anywhere in the world as an effective, economic and safe compound to lower the cholesterol and to lift the HD cholesterol (beneficial).

As a result of my interest in the nicotinico acid, several studies arose and publications that discovered that this vitamin when it is indicated in great doses to the day, lowered the cholesterol levels. Also it was discovered that it lifts to the HD cholesterol (beneficial).

In the National Study of the Coronary Diseases Canner, demostro that the nicotinico acid decreased mortality and increased the longevity of the patients. Between 1966 and 1975, five medecines were compared to lower the cholesterol with a placebo, participated 8341 men, between 30 and 64 years, that had had infarct of myocardium a time ago inferior to three months before entering to comprise of the sample of the study. At the end of the study they were alive near 6000 patients. Nine years later, the niacina had only lowered the rate of mortality significantly between all the treatments. Mortality decreased a 11% and the longevity increased in two years. Mortality by cancer also decreased.

This it was a very lucky finding, because it determined the authorization from the FDA (Administration of Medecines and Foods) of the use of this vitamin in megadosis for problems of the cholesterol, which opened the doors for the use of this vitamin in great doses for the treatment of other diseases. Estor it happened in a while in which FDA was delivering its greater attack not to recognize the value of the therapies of megadosis of vitamins. Its position no it has changed forty years in the last.

Our finding opened the second great big wave of interest in vitamins. The first wave began around 1900 when it demonstrated that these compounds were very effective in small doses in the treatment of diseases of vitamin deficiency and in the prevention of their appearance. This was the preventive phase of use of the vitamin. The second recognized wave that has therapeutic properties that directly are not related to diseases of vitamin deficiency, but can have to be used in great doses. This was the second or present wave in which vitamins are used in the therapy for more than deficiency diseases. Our discovery that the nicotínico acid was a hipocolesterolémica compound is credited as the first document to initiate the second wave and smoothed the way for the orthomolecular medicine, that arrived several years later.

This finding initiated the second greater wave of the interest by the use of vitamins. The first wave comenzo around 1900, when one demonstrated that these compounds were very effective in small doses to cure diseases by vitamin deficiencies and to avoid them. This was the moment at which the vitamin use was adopted for the preventive phase.

The second wave recognized that they had therapeutic properties when they were used in great doses, not directly related to the diseases by vitamin deficiency. This was the second or present wave, where vitamins are used in therapies, but that in diseases by deficiencies. The finding of which the nicotinico acid is a hipocolesterolémico compound is clear as the first study that initiates the second wave and prepares the way for the orthomolecular medicine, that arose several years later.

2. Arthritis

During 1953 and 1954 it observes for the first time the beneficial effect of the B-3 vitamin At that time, it found looking for the potential benefits and the side effects me of this vitamin. Several of the patients who were receiving this vitamin reported that its arthritis had improved after several months of treatment.

At the outset it pillaged me by surprise, because for psychiatric files never she had asked on the pain in the joints, but were so many reports of this type who could not ignore it. Some years later, me encontre with which Prof. W. Kaufman had studied the use of this vitamin in arthritis before 1950, and habia published two books describing its surprising results. Since then this vitamin has become an important component in the regime to ortomolecular for the treatment of arthritis.

The following case illustrates the reaction that can be presented when applying the regime to ortomolecular. The patients who are in the first stage of arthritis respond far better and they do not have left any type of incapacity.

K.V. I appear in my consultation the 15 of April of 1982. It went seized on a wheelchair pushed by its husband. One was tired, gotten depressed, and she was one of the ill patients but who had never seen. 41kg weighed less than. One sat down on his ankles that crossed below their body, did not take off the arms of the body, and their fingers were deformed until the point that seemed claws. It told me that been deeply it had depressed during many years due to the serious pain and its great deterioration. While it narrated its history me dí account of the bad thing that was immediately and I reached the conclusion that was nothing could do by her, it only thought about as saying it without increasing his desperation even more. Nevertheless, I changed of opinion when it shelp suddenly: “Dr. Hoffer, I know that nobody can cure to me but I am satisfied if it can help to alleviate a little my pain me. The pain in my back is unbearable. I only want to alleviate the pain my back”. Me dí account then that had much determination forces interior, and that was worth the pain to try to help it.

Its history was the following one: it began to undergo forts pains in his joints in 1952. In 1957 arthritis was diagnosed to him. Until 1962 its S-state was fluctuating and to paritr of it had there to go to a wheelchair some part of the day, but still he was able to walk getting worse quickly until 1969, where it depended most of the time on the wheelchair. In 1973 already it was in the chair permanently. During a time he was able to impel itself with the feet, until it finished permanently following help. The 3 years previous to the visit it had secured help for the care of the home, but the majority of the attention provided his mardio, that finished retiring finally of its job. It provided to him provided the attention of infirmary equivalent to four nurses in turns of 8 hours, including the time of vacation. He had to take it to the bathroom, to bathe it, to cook and to eat. Also he was exhausted.

Its body severely was deformed, especially the hands, suffered continuous pain in all the body, the worse thing in arms, hips back. Their ankles were very swollen and had to use pressure bandage. Also the day underwent forts muscular pains most of. He was only able to feed themselves with his few últiles fingers and to do a little ganchillo, but it had to be extremely difficult to him. Nor he was already able to write. At the moments of pain but hard, the malaise that caused to him cleared the appetite to him, reason why to be able to make a complete food caused to him you feel nauseous. Its skin was dry, had spots of eczema and white areas in the nails.

I advised to him to eliminate of its diet the sugar, potatoes, tomatos and peppers, (around 10% of the arthritics they have allergic reactions to the family solanine of the plants). I added to his diet 500 mgs of niacinamida four times to the day (siguiento the works of W. Kaufman), ascorbic acid 500 mgs four times to the day (as a nutrient antistress and for the subclinical scurvy), piridoxina 250 mgs per day (effects antrítis shortages by the Dr. J. Ellis), zinc sulphate 220 mgs per day (the white areas in the nails indicated that he was deficient in zinc), 2 spoonfuls of oil of linseed and 1 of cod liver oil per day (its condition of the skin indicated that Omega had a fatty acid deficiency 3 essential fatty acids). The detailed treatment of arthritis and the references is described in my book: Hoffer A: “Orthomolecular medicine for doctors”. 1989.

A month later a new pair entered my office. His husband was smiling, relaxed and cheers while he pushed his wife in his chair. It was seated with the legs hanging downwards, also smiling. Immediately I knew that one was far better I began to ask to him about its diverse symptoms. After some minutes she with impatience interrupted to say: “Dr. Hoffer, the pain in my back has gone away.” . The pain in the back felt better easily controlled it with aspirins (that before they did not help him) and had disappeared the pain its hips. He was glad and it even laughed. I limited myself to add 500 mgs of niacianato of inositol to its diet.

The following visit was the 17 of June 1982, and had improved still more. It was able to by itself occur the return in the bed for the first time in 15 years, and she had been freed of the depression. I increased to the ascorbic acid to 1 gram four times to the day, and added to vitamin and 800 UI. Seeing the improvement that already surpassed the expectations I told him that it was not necessary that it returned to see me,

The 1 of September 1982, called to me by telephone. I asked to him how it went to him, told me that it was making progress still more. Then I asked to him how he had been able to arrive at the telephone and responded that he was able to move single in its chair. Soon it added that it had not called by her but by her husband, who was undergoing a cold some ago days.

After another visit 28 of October 1983, I wrote to his doctor “the lady KV, who has followed the vitamin program very rigorously during 18 months, although in the last months there is lost a little rigor. It is reclaiming enough muscle and force, now can sit down in its wheelchair without difficulty, can also move by itself with sila, but, by all means, it cannot do nothing useful with his hands because they are in a horrible state. It would like to be more independent and perhaps it could do something by his fingers and their hip. I am enchanted which it is had to see a plastic surgeon to see if something can be done to secure mobility in its hand. I have asked to him who continue with vitamins. As it has difficulties to take so many tablets, I have suggested to him took a called preparation Multijet that is available in Portland and contains all the vitamins and minerals and can be dissolved in juice. Also gr. will take niacianato from inositol (3. to the day)”.

I again saw 24 of March of 1988. 4 of its vertebrae had collapsed and as it were suffering but pain was alleviating it with Darvon. It had not been possible to treat his hands surgically. He had been able to eat by itself up to six months before this last visit. It had been taking small amounts from vitamins. It was able to use a motorised chair and had returned to depress itself I returned to write to its doctor: “It had left totally the vitamin program does about two or three years. It is very difficult her to swallow and I can understand his reluctance to follow ahead with this. I, therefore have suggested her takes a minimum program that would include niacianato of inositol 3 grams daily, acid ascorbic 1 gram three times, linseed oil 2 capsules and other 2 of cod liver oil. I believe that the serious deterioration of its body as a result of arthritis is arriving at the end of its days considering in the last few decades”. It was seen for the last time by his doctor in the autumn of 1989.

Referring to his mardio, me vió 18 of May of 1982, complained headaches and a sensation of pressure on the present head during three years. I advised to him that it took 3 grams from niacina to the day, in addition to other vitamins as vitamin C. In September of 1983 already it was well and thus it followed when I saw 24 of March 1988 the past.


3. Youthful diabetes

The Dr. Robert Elliot, professor of Investigation in Infantile Health of the Medicine School of the University of Auckland developed to a study with 40,000 children of five years of age, looking for presence of specific antibodies that they indicate the vulnerability to develop diabetes. To that they have the antibodies nicotinamida with objective occurs them to avoid the development of the diabetes. In March 1993 this project began 8 years ago and has 3,200 relatives in the study. Of these, 182 had antibodies and 76 occurred them nicotinamida. Only 5 have become diabetic comparison with 37 that would have been expected. From 1988 more than 20,100 children in school age they have been studied, to 1993 no had become diabetic in comparison with 47 of the not studied comparable group. There are but similar studies.

4. Cancer

Recent studies have demonstrated that vitamin B-3 has properties anti-cancer. This was subject of discussion in an encounter in Texas in 1987, Jacobson and Jacobson. The cliche in this international congress was the “Niacin, Nutrition, ADP-Ribosylation and Cancer,” and was the eighth conference of this series.

Additional evidence on the therapeutic properties against the cancer of the B-3 vitamin appears in the National Coronary Study, Canner.


As always it happens with the nutrients, each person must determine his better level of dose. With nicotinic acid this is donates increasing the dose until the ardor disappears (vasodilator), or that the ardor is minimal.

She Can be begun with a low dose of 100 mgs three times to the day after the meals and be increased gradually. Generally beginning with a dose of 500 mgs, but can also be begun with a dose of 1 gram, especially for cases of arthritis, schizophrenic, alcoholic and some patients majors. Nevertheless, with patients majors he is better to begin with small doses and to increase it slowly.

To anybody him acid nicotinico without noticing to him that is due to prescribe reddening or ardor in the face can cause him, that can vary in intensity from none to very severe. If he explains himself with care, that the ardor is not any problem, the patient does not have because to worry.

The flush May remain too intensifies for to few patients and the nicotinic acid May have to sees replaced by slow rereads preparation or by some of you cover with mats them, as inositol niacinate. This compound is quite expensive but with quantity production the price might eats down.

The ardor begins in the forehead with to warning glazier's lead opener. Soon one intensifies. Impossible The rate of the development of the flush depends upon under many factors it is to predict what course it will follow.

The following factors decrease the intensity of the ardor: a cold food, to take it after the meals, to take an aspirina before, or to take an antihistamine one in advance.


The following factors cause that the ardor is but strong: a hot meal, a hot drink, an empty stomach, to chew the tablets and the speed with which the tablets dissolve.

From the forehead and of the face, the ardor travels by all the body, sometimes pauses in the chest, but it can travel until the toes. With continued uses the flush gradually recedes and eventually May sees only tingling sensation in the forehead. If the person stops taking the vitamin by a day or but, it is possible to be returned to present the ardor as at the outset

Some people never feel the ardor, and some feel it but after several years to take the vitamin. With the nicotinamida one almost never the ardor appears, but I have found that it appears in a 2% of the cases. This can have to the fast transformation of the nicotinamida one in nicotinico acid in the organism.

Very few people can take but from 6 grams of nicotinamida to the day. The nicotinico acid can be consumed in majors amounts. Many schizophrenic ones have consumed up to 30 grams to the day without no problem.


All the patients who benefit with the consumption of the B-3 vitamin, can be divided in the following categories.

Category 1. One is people who estan or or almost healthy and they do not have some apparent disease. They are only interested in being or or improving his health. They May sees under increased stress. The best dose varies between 0,5 up to 3 grams to the day. The same dose is applied the nicotinamida one.

Category 2. Anyone with physiological stress, as the pregnancy and lactation, with a caught a cold fort or flu, or any other disease that are not of death. All the psychiatric syndromes are included in this group, as the senile schizophrenias and states. Also one includes to the group of people with cholesterol high levels in the blood or low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) when it is wanted to recover the normal energy levels. The rank of the dose varies from 1 gram to 10 grams to the day. For nicotinamida the rank it is of 1,5 grams up to 6 grams.

The nicotinamida one does not have effect on the cholesterol levels.

In my opinion, based on but of 40 years of experience with this vitamin, the doses that I recommend are very safe. Nevertheless, with high doses the medical supervision is recommended.

Inositol hexaniacinato is a ester of inositol and the nicotinico acid. Each molecule of inositol contains six molecules of nicotinico acid. This ester is disturbed very slowly in the organism. He is as effective as the nicotinico acid and it almost does not have side effects. It brings about little ardor, little upset stomach and to other uncommon side effects. Inositol, considered as of smaller importance between vitamins B, has a function in the organism as messenger and May add something to the therapeutic properties of the nicotinic acid.



The B-3 vitamin is a very effective nutrient to treat a great one I number of psychiatric and medical diseases, but its beneficial effect is increased when all the program is applied to ortomolecular. The combination of the B-3 vitamin and the antirust nutrients represents a great program anti-stress

Author Reprinted with the permission of the: Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. Suite 3 - 2727 Quadra St Victoria, British Columbia V8T 4E5 Canada



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Andrew Saul, PhD