Understanding Niacinamide: What is it?
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3 found in food and used as a dietary supplement. It's an essential nutrient, which means your body can't produce it, and therefore, it must come from your diet. Foods rich in niacinamide include meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, cereals, and yeast. It's also added to many beauty products due to its skin benefits.
Niacinamide versus Niacin: What's the Difference?
Though the names sound similar, niacinamide and niacin are slightly different. Both are forms of vitamin B3, but they function differently in the body. Niacin converts into niacinamide when it's taken in amounts greater than what's needed by the body. However, niacin can cause skin flushing or itching, but niacinamide usually does not because it doesn't dilate the blood vessels like niacin does.
Health Benefits of Niacinamide
Niacinamide has several health benefits. It's been shown to help protect the skin from sun damage, reduce inflammation, improve skin texture, and reduce hyperpigmentation. In addition, niacinamide can be beneficial for treating conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and depression. Moreover, it could help lower the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers and Alzheimer's disease.
How Niacinamide Works in the Body
Niacinamide plays a vital role in the body. It helps turn food into energy, aids in cell repair, and plays a role in producing certain stress and sex-related hormones. It's also necessary for the function of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. Furthermore, niacinamide helps build keratin, a type of protein that keeps your skin firm and healthy.
Niacinamide for Skin Health
Niacinamide is a powerhouse for skin health. It helps build proteins in the skin and locks in moisture to prevent environmental damage. It can also reduce inflammation, which may help ease redness from eczema, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Plus, niacinamide minimizes pore appearance, regulates oil, and protects against sun damage.
The Side Effects of Niacinamide
While niacinamide is generally well-tolerated, it's not free from side effects. Some people might experience mild side effects like upset stomach, gas, dizziness, rash, itching, and other conditions. High doses can lead to more serious side effects like liver problems, gout, ulcers, and vision loss. Therefore, it's essential to follow recommended dosages and consult your healthcare provider.
How to Use Niacinamide
Niacinamide can be taken orally as a supplement or applied topically in skincare products. When taken orally, it's often recommended to take it with meals to reduce the chance of stomach upset. For topical use, it can be found in a variety of skincare products, including serums, creams, and lotions. Always follow the instructions on the product label for best results.
Finding the Right Niacinamide Supplement
When choosing a niacinamide supplement, it's important to look for products from reputable companies. Look for supplements that have been tested by a third-party lab for purity and potency. Also, consider the dosage. The recommended daily amount for adults is 14 to 16 mg per day. However, your healthcare provider may recommend a different amount based on your health needs.