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Black Seed Oil

BY David Tomen Leave a Comment

Black Seed Oil may be effective for anxiety, depression, epilepsy, learning & memory, sleep, neurodegenerative disease and is anti-tumor

Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa, Black Cumin) is an annual herb and spice belonging to the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family of flowering plants.

Nigella Sativa benefits
Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)

Black Seed Oil is native to the Middle East, Southern Europe and North Africa. And has been used for millennia for a variety of illnesses.

It’s main active compound thymoquinone (TQ) has been shown to benefit cognitive and mental illness, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and infertility.

And Black Seed Oil has been used for a variety of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections. It’s even showing promise in early studies to be effective against HIV/AIDS.[i]

Black Seed Oil is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, reduces tumor necrosis factor-α (TNf-α), and increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Supplementing with Black Seed Oil seems to modulate neuronal signaling pathways in the brain. Affecting synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation which can help learning and memory.

Here we’ll explore how Black Seed Oil benefits your brain.

Black Seed Oil helps:

  • Neurotransmitters: The compound thymohydroquinone in Black Seed Oil is one of the most potent acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors on the planet.[ii] By increasing acetylcholineAChE inhibitors have been found to be helpful in treating apathy, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s Disease.[iii]
  • Anxiety & stress: Black Seed Oil increases L-Tryptophan and serotonin levels in the brain. Providing an antidepressant effect following repeated dosing.[iv]
  • Learning & memoryBlack Seed Oil has been shown in animal and human studies to support neurogenesis and long-term potentiation. Showing positive effects on learning and memory. Particularly working memory.[v]

Table of Contents

Overview

Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa, Black Cumin) is extracted from Nigella sativa, a plant belonging to the family Ranunculaceae (Buttercup).

It’s native to southern Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. And known as “Black Seed” because when the seeds are exposed to air, they turn black.

Black Seed Oil side effects
Queen Nefertiti

Black Seed has been used for millennia as mentioned in ancient texts for a variety of health issues. Several archaeological sites in Egypt including King Tut’s tomb contained Nigella sativa seeds.

Queen Nefertiti is reported to have been a devoted user of Black Seed Oil and gave it credit for her beautiful complexion.[vi]

The earliest written reference is in the book of Isaiah where it was referred to as ketsah in Hebrew. And was used as a baking spice.[vii]

The Prophet Mohammed described the curative powers of Black Seed saying, “it has a remedy for every illness except death”.[viii]

Persian physician and philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna) recommended Black Seed Oil in his “Canon of Medicine” as a remedy for colds, fever, headache, toothache, skin diseases, wounds, fungus, parasites, warts, and insect bites.

The main bio-active compounds in Black Seed Oil include thymoquinone (37.6%) followed by p-cymene (31.2%), α-thujene (5.6%), thymohydroquinone (3.4%), and longifolene (2.0%).[ix]

Most of the nootropic benefit of Black Seed Oil is attributed to thymoquinone (TQ).

black seed oil for mental illness

How does Black Seed Oil work in the brain?

Black Seed Oil boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Black Seed Oil for attention, cognition and memoryAnimal studies show that Black Seed Oil is effective for boosting memory in aged rats. And these findings were also demonstrated in human experiments.

One study by the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh recruited 40 elderly volunteers and divided them randomly into groups A and B. Group A were given 500 mg Black Seed Oil twice a day for 9 weeks. Group B received a placebo.

Neurological measures for this trial included a logical memory test, digit span test, Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test, letter cancellation test, trail making test and Stroop test.

The Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test is particularly interesting. People are asked to reproduce a complicated line drawing first by copying it freehand, and then drawing from memory.

The test permits the evaluation of things like visuospatial abilities, memory, attention, planning, working memory and executive function.

The study concluded that Black Seed Oil supplementation for 9 weeks demonstrated a significant role in enhancing attention, cognition and memory.[x]

Another study with 48 young men aged 14 – 17 who used 500 mg of Black Seed Oil per day for 4 weeks had better short-, and long-term memory and recall.[xi]

  1. Black Seed Oil reduces seizures (sometimes)Black Seed Oil is known to have anticonvulsive effects in ‘traditional medicine’. And because many epileptic children do not respond to modern anti-seizure medication, researchers have been conducting studies to find out if Black Seed Oil could fill this need.

One study in Iran worked with 22 patients who were divided into two groups.

In this double-blind crossover study thymoquinone was compared to standard anti-epileptic drugs over a period of 4 weeks.

The study concluded that thymoquinone, the main active compound found in Black Seed Oil has anti-epileptic effects in children with refractory seizures.[xii]

But other studies have not been as promising. One study worked with 30 intractable epileptic children and 5 healthy kids used as controls. Here again Black Seed Oil was compared to anti-epileptic drugs over the 4-week trial.

Researchers in this study found that 40-80 mg/kg/day of Black Seed Oil as add-on therapy did not alter seizure frequency or severity in intractable epileptic patients.[xiii]

But another study with 20 epileptic children aged 13 years used an aqueous extract of Black Seed Oil (40 mg/kg) 3-times per day for 4 weeks. In this study, seizure frequency was reduced significantly during treatment.[xiv]

The takeaway here for using Black Seed Oil if you are hoping to reduce the number and frequency of epileptic seizures – it may or may not work. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

black seed oil serotonin

How things go bad

Seems many of the cognitive ailments we suffer from today are nothing new. Our ancestors thousands of years ago were dealing with many of the same issues we face today.

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes. This can happen at any age once we enter our adult years.

↓ Chronic inflammation

↓ Cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, atherosclerosis)

↓ Metabolic disease (diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease)

↓ Neurodegenerative disease (anxietydepression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)

 ↓ Bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections

Avicenna, the famous 10th century physician in his book “The Canon of Medicine” recommended Black Seed Oil for enhancement of body’s energy and support during recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness.[xv]

What’s old is new again and we’re re-discovering the healing benefits and nootropic value of this ancient remedy for a variety of diseases.

Black Seed Oil benefits

Thymoquinone (TQ) is the primary active component of the volatile oil in Black Seed (Nigella sativa) and most of its effects and actions are related to TQ.

Black Seed Oil is anti-tumor, anti-microbial, anti-histamine, it modulates your immune system, is an anti-inflammatory and acts as an antioxidant.[xvi]

In the traditional system of medicine practices in the Arabian Gulf region, Black Seed is recommended for fever, cough, bronchitis, asthma, chronic headache, migraine, dizziness, chest congestion, obesity, diabetes, paralysis, back pain, infection, inflammation, rheumatism, hypertension, and gastro issues like dyspepsia, flatulence, dysentery and diarrhea.

Over 150 clinical studies over the last 5 decades have investigated the chemical and health benefit properties of Black Seed Oil. And these studies justify the broad and traditional therapeutic value of Black Seed.

As a nootropic, studies show Black Seed Oil helps with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, brain inflammation, epilepsy, reduced blood flow, glial tumors, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).[xvii]

black seed oil brain fog

How does Black Seed Oil feel?

If you have not yet experienced the benefits of Black Seed Oil, check out some of the comments and reviews left by others who have.

Neurohackers report that using Black Seed Oil daily makes them feel better and they’ve got more energy.

Several people say using Black Seed Oil helps relieve their migraine symptoms.

A couple of people commented that Black Seed Oil gave them vivid dreams.

Some say it helps keep their allergies under control. And like Queen Nefertiti, some report their skin looks more youthful.

Black Seed Oil is said to reduce inflammation and balance hormones. Others say they get powerful relief from pain.

One person reported that she had lost 11 pounds, her joints weren’t aching, no more constipation and her sleep had improved tremendously – and she was only 1/4 of the way through the bottle.

Another long-time user of Black Seed Oil said he hadn’t been sick in over 2 years.

And several neurohackers say Black Seed Oil helps them quickly fall asleep.

black seed oil for anxiety reviews

Black Seed Oil Clinical Research

Black Seed Oil boosts memory

40 elderly volunteers were recruited by researchers at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The study was conducted to see if memory improvements from Black Seed Oil with animals also worked in humans.

Half of the group were given a 500 mg Black Seed Oil capsule twice daily for 9 weeks. The other half received a placebo.

The university research team found a significant improvement in memory, attention and cognition in the group using Black Seed Oil. With no significant improvement in the placebo group.

The researchers concluded Black Seed Oil should be considered as a supplement for enhancing memory, attention and cognition.[xviii]

Black Seed Oil for anxiety

A study with 48 healthy human male volunteers aged 14 – 17 years were recruited and split into two groups.

Group A received a 500 mg Black Seed Oil capsule once daily for four weeks. And Group B received a placebo. The volunteers were assessed for cognition using a verbal learning test, mood and anxiety. Tests were done at the beginning of the trial and after 4 weeks of supplementation.

The research team concluded that after 4 weeks of using Black Seed Oil that there was a significant mood improvement, decreased anxiety, and a boost in cognition.[xix]

Black Seed Oil reduces seizure frequency

Several different drugs and drug combinations are prescribed to reduce seizures in epileptic children. But nearly 15% of children are resistant to treatment.

Black Seed Oil is known to have anticonvulsant effects which are mainly attributed to thymoquinone.

A double-blind crossover clinical study was conducted in Iran with epileptic children. 22 patients were divided into two groups with one group receiving thymoquinone and the other a placebo for 4 weeks. They each had a one week wash out period. And then the groups were switched and dosed for another 4 weeks.

The parents were happy with the results of the trial. Because the children had significantly fewer seizures when using thymoquinone.

The researchers concluded that thymoquinone has anti-epileptic effects in children with refractory seizures.[xx]

Black Seed Oil for opiate withdrawal

Opioid addiction is a major problem in our society. With headlines every week about the number of deaths from opiate overdose.

black seed oil dopamine

The most successful treatment we have so far for quitting opiates are 12-step programs. But success rates in recovery and those ending up in relapse demonstrate how difficult it is to get off these powerful drugs.

But a new and novel treatment for dealing with opiate withdrawal symptoms may help.

A study was conducted in Karachi to find a non-opiate treatment for opiate withdrawal. 35 opiate addicts were recruited for this clinical trial.

While details are sketchy, the study found that 500 mg Nigella sativa significantly reduced opiate withdrawal symptoms.

The researchers concluded, “Non opioid drug Nigella sativa is effective in long-term treatment of opioid dependence. It not merely cures the opioid dependence but also cures the infections and weakness from which majority of addicts suffer.”[xxi]

Black Seed Oil Recommended Dosage

Recommended dosage of Black Seed Oil is 1 – 3 teaspoons per day.

If you’ve never used Black Seed Oil before, start with ½ a teaspoon and see how your body reacts.

Children under 11 years should only use half the adult dosage. And kids under 5 years, only a drop or two to start with.

Nigella sativa extract seeds or powder dosage is 1 – 3 grams per day.

Potency can vary between brands which can affect dosage. So check labels carefully.

Black Seed Oil Side Effects

Black Seed Oil is considered non-toxic and safe to use at recommended doses. (More is NOT better).

Black Seed Oil has a nasty taste. To me it tastes a lot like gasoline. So beware if this is your first time. And have something handy to chase it with especially if you don’t like the taste.

You should not use Black Seed Oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s best to check with your doctor before using Black Seed Oil, especially if you’re dealing with a chronic health condition or are currently taking medication.

Do not use Black Seed Oil if you have a bleeding disorder or plan on doing surgery of any kind.

If you have low blood pressure Black Seed Oil could make this condition worse.

And too much Black Seed Oil (more than the recommended dosage) could cause liver or kidney damage.

On your skin, Black Seed Oil may cause a rash or hives. Best to do a small patch test before using a regular dose.

Type of Black Seed Oil to Buy

Black Seed Oil is easily found in most health food stores and vitamin shops worldwide. You can get Black Seed Oil in a bottle. Or Black Seed extract as a powder. The Oil version in a bottle is most common.

Always go for organic Black Seed Oil to ensure you are not getting any toxic pesticides or herbicides contaminating your oil.

And select Black Seed Oil that comes in a dark amber glass bottle which helps prevent it from going rancid.

Choose an oil that is cold-pressed because other methods of extraction involve high heat. Which can damage the beneficial compounds and fatty acids in the oil. And you’ll end up with Black Seed Oil that’s useless.

I recommend and use Amazing Herbs Egyptian Black Seed Oil because it’s milder tasting. It works and has good reviews.

They also sell Black Seed Oil Soft-Gels if you can’t stand the taste. Each soft-gel is equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of oil.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and Approved

Black Seed Oil 1 – 3 teaspoons per day

I recommend using Black Seed Oil as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does not make Black Seed Oil on its own. So to get its benefits you must take it as a nootropic supplement.

Black Seed Oil is especially helpful for those dealing with stress and anxiety. Because it affects the GABA pathway in your brain which provides its anxiolytic benefit.[xxii]  

Recent research shows depression may be caused by inflammationBlack Seed Oil may reduce symptoms of depression because it decreases levels of inflammatory markers like interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-13 (IL-13) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a).[xxiii]

Black Seed Oil can increase learning and memory within 20 weeks of consistent, daily dosing.

If you’ve tried other meds to reduce seizures with no luck, try Black Seed Oil next. Because it’s been shown to be effective with some types of epilepsy.

And two decades of research shows Black Seed Oil may be effective in suppressing tumor development, growth, and metastasis for a wide range of brain tumors. Including glial tumors which cannot be treated by modern medicine.

Black Seed Oil is a powerful but ancient nootropic supplement. If you’ve tried everything else including the latest mainstream medicine has to offer and have had no luck, try Black Seed Oil.

You can safely take up to 3 teaspoons of Black Seed Oil daily if needed. Split into smaller doses 2 – 3 times during your day. But do NOT exceed 3 teaspoons.

[i] Yimer E.,M., Tuem K.B., Karim A., Ur-Rehman N., Anwar G. “Nigella sativa L. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2019; 2019: 1528635. (source)

[ii] Jukic M., Politeo O., Maksimovic M., Milos M., Milos M. “In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties of thymol, carvacrol and their derivatives thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone.” Phytotherapy Research. 2007 Mar;21(3):259-61. (source)

[iii] Čolović M.B., Krstić D.Z., Lazarević-Pašti T.D., Bondžić A.M., Vasić V.M. “Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors: Pharmacology and Toxicology” Current Neuropharmacology. 2013 May; 11(3): 315–335. (source)

[iv] Perveen T., Haider S., Zuberi N.A., Saleem S., Sadaf S., Batool Z. “Increased 5-HT Levels Following Repeated Administration of Nigella sativa L. (Black Seed) Oil Produce Antidepressant Effects in Rats.” Scentia Pharmaceutica 2013 Nov 5;82(1):161-70 (source)

[v] Sahak M.K.A., Kabir N., Abbas G., Draman S., Hashim N.H., Adli D.S.H. “The Role of Nigella sativa and Its Active Constituents in Learning and Memory” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016; 2016: 6075679. (source)

[vi] Luetjohann S. “The Healing Power of Black Cumin”. Silver Lake, Wis, USA: Lotus Light; 1998.

[vii] Corneanu G., Corneanu M., Crăciun C., Ciupină V., Zagnat M., Atyim P. “Bioactive substances from the Nigella sativa seeds”. Annals of the Academy of Romanian Scientists: Series on Agriculture Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Sciences. 2012;1(1):13–28. (source)

[viii] Hadith Collection / Sahih Bukhari /Volume 7/ Book 71/ Hadith 592 (source)

[ix] Singh S., Das S.S., Singh G., Schuff C., de Lampasona M.P., Catalán C.A. “Composition, in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil and oleoresins obtained from black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa L.).” Biomed Research International. 2014;2014:918209 (source)

[x] Bin Sayeed M.S., Asaduzzaman M., Morshed H., Hossain M.M., Kadir M.F., Rahman M.R. “The effect of Nigella sativa Linn. seed on memory, attention and cognition in healthy human volunteers.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2013 Jul 30;148(3):780-6. (source)

[xi] Bin Sayeed M.S., Shams T., Fahim Hossain S., Rahman M.R., Mostofa A., Fahim Kadir M., Mahmood S., Asaduzzaman M. “Nigella sativa L. seeds modulate mood, anxiety and cognition in healthy adolescent males.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2014 Feb 27; 152(1):156-62. (source)

[xii] Akhondian J., Kianifar H., Raoofziaee M., Moayedpour A., Toosi M.B., Khajedaluee M. “The effect of thymoquinone on intractable pediatric seizures (pilot study).” Epilepsy Research. 2011 Jan;93(1):39-43 (source)

[xiii] Shawki M., El Wakeel L, Shatla R., El-Saeed G., Ibrahim S., Badary O. “The clinical outcome of adjuvant therapy with black seed oil on intractable paediatric seizures: a pilot study” Epileptic Disorders September 2013, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 295–301 (source)

[xiv] J. Akhondian, A. Parsa, and H. Rakhshande, “The effect of Nigella sativa L. (black cumin seed) on intractable pediatric seizures,” Medical Science Monitor, vol. 13, no. 12, pp. CR555–CR559, 2007. (source)

[xv] Tariq M. “Nigella Sativa Seeds: Folklore Treatment in Modern Day Medicine” The Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology 2008 Jul; 14(3): 105–106. (source)

[xvi] Samarghandian S., Farkhondeh T., Samini F. “A Review on Possible Therapeutic Effect of Nigella sativa and Thymoquinone in Neurodegenerative Diseases.” CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets 2018;17(6):412-420. (source)

[xvii] Elmaci I., Altinoz M.A. “Thymoquinone: An edible redox-active quinone for the pharmacotherapy of neurodegenerative conditions and glial brain tumors. A short review.” Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. 2016 Oct;83:635-640 (source)

[xviii] Bin Sayeed M.S., Asaduzzaman M., Morshed H., Hossain M.M., Kadir M.F., Rahman M.R. “The effect of Nigella sativa Linn. seed on memory, attention and cognition in healthy human volunteers.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2013 Jul 30;148(3):780-6 (source)

[xix] Bin Sayeed M.S., Shams T., Fahim Hossain S., Rahman M.R., Mostofa A., Fahim Kadir M2, Mahmood S., Asaduzzaman M. “Nigella sativa L. seeds modulate mood, anxiety and cognition in healthy adolescent males.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2014 Feb 27;152(1):156-62. (source)

[xx] Akhondian J., Kianifar H., Raoofziaee M., Moayedpour A., Toosi M.B., Khajedaluee M. “The effect of thymoquinone on intractable pediatric seizures (pilot study).” Epilepsy Research. 2011 Jan;93(1):39-43 (source)

[xxi] Sangi S., Ahmed S.P., Channa M.A., Ashfaq M., Mastoi S.M. “A new and novel treatment of opioid dependence: Nigella sativa 500 mg.” Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad. 2008 Apr-Jun;20(2):118-24. (source)

[xxii] Gilhotra N., Dhingra D., “Thymoquinone produced antianxiety-like effects in mice through modulation of GABA and NO levels.” Pharmacological Reports 2011;63(3):660-9. (source)

[xxiii] Hosseini M., Zakeri S., Khoshdast S., Yousefian F.T., Rastegar M., Vafaee F., Kahdouee S., Ghorbani F., Rakhshandeh H., Kazemi S.A. “The effects of Nigella sativa hydro-alcoholic extract and thymoquinone on lipopolysaccharide – induced depression like behavior in rats.” Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences. 2012 Jul;4(3):219-25. (source)

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Niacin: The Real Story, 2nd Edition (available March 2023)

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Posted on: Tuesday, January 17th 2023 at 3:15 pm
Posted By: GMI Reporter

By Abram Hoffer, Andrew W. Saul, and Harry D. Foster Turner Publishing, 2023

Reviewed by Robert G. Smith, PhD
Research Associate Professor
University of Pennsylvania

Niacin (vitamin B3) is a biomolecule required by all forms of life. It functions as a precursor to NAD, an enzymatic co-factor in hundreds of metabolic pathways. Niacin is called a vitamin because the body can only synthesize it slowly and therefore requires a small but adequate amount from the diet. The reason that we cannot synthesize adequate amounts of niacin can be traced back to evolutionary pressure. Over millions of years, niacin was readily available from plant- and animal-based foods, so our bodies have evolved to rely on this dietary source.  However, larger amounts of niacin than the minimum required by the body are helpful because they allow our metabolic pathways to function at full speed for optimal health and to prevent disease. Some individuals are dependent upon high levels of niacin for health because of their genetic background or because of severe stress. For these individuals, much higher doses of niacin than the minimum dose can prevent and reverse disease. And for the rest of us, high doses of niacin are beneficial — and even necessary — for many aspects of health.

This new expanded edition nearly doubles the original Niacin: The Real Story, (from 228 to now 490 pages). It has several new chapters and appendices and more than 600 references to document recent advances in scientific knowledge about niacin. Several chapters focus on the different forms of the molecule niacin, how it works, safety of niacin supplements, and how to take niacin supplements. Other chapters describe how niacin can help to prevent and reverse a variety of diseases and other conditions, including arthritisADHD, many forms of mental illness, cardiovascular disease, aging, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, cholera, Huntingdon’s disease, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nephritis (kidney inflammation), Parkinsonism, PTSD, Raynaud’s disease, and a variety of skin conditions. There is a special chapter focused on the recent COVID-19 pandemic: how niacin can help the body recover from infection and reduce the risk of “Long COVID.”

A major focus of the book is how niacin supplements, along with adequate doses of all the other essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and a healthy diet that avoids sugar and processed foods, can prevent and even reverse a variety of diseases. This orthomolecular theme is developed in the chapter “Pandeficiency Disease.” This theme is based on avoiding deficiencies of vitamins and minerals that contribute to a wide variety of conditions. Some vitamins are needed only in small milligram or microgram daily doses, but others such as vitamin C and niacin are needed in much higher doses, depending on the body’s state of stress, inflammation, and disease. The optimal dose varies with the individual and the state of inflammation and disease because biochemical stress in the body can deplete vitamin and cause deficiencies — which in turn can cause many different types of disease.

The book contains several interesting and significant new sections and chapters. The chapter entitled “Reversing Arthritis with Niacinamide” has been expanded, now including some of Dr. Kaufman’s notes and a memoir written up as his final unpublished paper. Niacin: The Real Story is the only book in print to present Kaufman’s own case notes and niacinamide protocol details. In these new sections, Dr. Kaufman documents his discovery of niacin and niacinamide treatments during his medical education, along with his observations of the nutritional deficiencies in the typical diet that caused pellagra (caused by a severe deficiency of niacin) and that also tended to cause osteoarthritis.

Many of the patients in the early years of his practice in the 1940s were referred by other physicians who wanted to get rid of their most complaining and difficult patients. At the time, the only treatments for arthritis were aspirin, hot paraffin dips, or heat treatment of joints. With his careful observations of symptomatology, Kaufman realized that most had a niacin deficiency — and these symptoms are summarized in detail. He explains that he soon found that most of these patients had a deficiency of niacin in their diets — proven by rapid improvement after niacinamide treatment. He reported that he treated all his patients with kindness, respect, and adequate doses of niacinamide — and soon after starting niacinamide treatment with up to 2000 mg or more per day, taken in divided doses, the patients “became easy to take care of medically” and had “astonishing improvements in their health.” Kaufman took their complaints seriously and found that a niacin deficiency was independent of family income. Well-to-do families could afford a nutritionally good diet, even if they did not do so.

Although by 1940 enriched flour was fortified with thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and iron, Kaufman realized that for most individuals, the doses of these essential nutrients from foods made with enriched flour were inadequate. So his treatment with adequate doses of niacinamide became more widely appreciated and soon his practice was full. Patients recovered with a “high degree of wellness and maintained this as long as they continued taking niacinamide.”

The new section on Erectile Dysfunction may interest many readers. Adequate doses of niacin taken long-term can help to prevent atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, and related coronary disease, and it also is a vasodilator. Because niacin (but not niacinamide) normalizes blood lipids, its long-term circulatory benefits may facilitate a male’s erection. While the vasodilation produced by niacin is not as long as produced by ED drugs, the niacin flush typically lasts about half an hour.  But since niacin also helps to improve mood and possibly sexual interest, generally the sense of calmness from a goodly dose of niacin may tend to diminish passion. In a related topic, adequate doses of niacin and the consequential flush that dilates blood vessels have been employed by people to ameliorate Raynaud’s syndrome (cold hands and feet due to reduced blood flow).

There are several new Appendices, including “An Interview with Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD.” Hoffer, a brilliant doctor and scientist, explains that he successfully treated thousands of schizophrenia patients with niacin. He also had excellent success treating depression, and showed that niacin lowered total cholesterol. Hoffer then explains that niacin is not dangerous or toxic at tolerable doses, and that adequate doses of vitamins (in particular, niacin) produce a recovery rate of 90 percent in schizophrenics.

Niacin is a vitamin, not a drug. Each individual may require a different daily dose. Dr. Hoffer says: “A person’s upper limit is that amount which causes nausea, and, if not reduced, vomiting. The dose should never be allowed to remain at this upper limit. The usual dose range is up to 3,000 mg daily, divided into three doses, but occasionally some patients may need more. The toxic dose for dogs is about 5,000 milligrams per 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) body weight. We do not know the toxic dose for humans since niacin has never killed anyone.” But what about that “niacin flush”? “Most people flush when they first start taking high doses and gradually get adapted to it, unless they stop for a few days and then resume. A few cannot ever get used to it and take no-flush niacin. The intensity of the flush is variable. Generally the people who need it the most flush the least. That includes arthritics, schizophrenics, and elderly people with cardiovascular disease. Some schizophrenics do not flush until they get well — and then they do. But the presence of the flush or its intensity can not be uniquely used measure the need as there are too many variables such as food in the stomach, whether the drink with it is hot or cold, the kind of food, other medication. Antipsychotics reduce the intensity of the flush as do aspirin and antihistamines.”

In this revised edition of Niacin: The Real Story, authors Hoffer, Foster, and Saul clearly present the practical details of niacin treatment. Inevitable physician skepticism, and questions about niacin’s proven safety and effectiveness, are thoroughly addressed in this book. However, this is NOT a biochemistry textbook — to most of us, that is a relief. But since even a basic working knowledge of niacin can profoundly improve the health of so many patients, this vitamin becomes very interesting very quickly.

The book provides vitamin dose protocols and a chapter on safety of niacin, to assist you in learning the proper doses along with supplements of other vitamins and minerals. It explains that by taking niacin at appropriate daily doses, you can prevent and reverse osteoarthritis (the most common form), elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, and several types of mental illness including schizophrenia. You can determine the correct dose by starting at a very low dose, 20 mg (milligrams) per day, and then gradually increasing the dose over several weeks up to 1000 mg/day or more in divided doses. The skin flush that comes with taking a large niacin dose gradually disappears over several weeks. The flush can be avoided by replacing the niacin dose with niacinamide — but this doesn’t help to correct high cholesterol as does niacin.

Andrew Saul, PhD, a well-known author of nutrition books and videos, has included many new sections by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD (an expert on niacin) and other nutrition experts in this second edition of Niacin: The Real Story.” I can wholeheartedly recommend this new edition.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Editorial Reviews

Niacin: The Real Story has a wealth of information about Dr. Hoffer’s favorite vitamin, which he recommended optimal doses of too many of his patients and tens of thousands of readers. Abram Hoffer even advised his mother to take niacin and it helped her. Anyone who reads Abram Hoffer’s last book will find it interesting and helpful. Books such as Niacin: The Real Story will continue to give readers the chance to learn the facts so they can use that information to support safe, effective and restorative care for a wide range of patients. Each copy sold could save a life!” —Robert Sealey

“I read this book and found it to be a real treasure. It made me love dietary supplements, especially vitamin B3, in view of the very positive effects that it offers to our body. Everyone should have this book as a health support.” —Tahar Naili, MD

“Dr. Hoffer’s early work led to the use of niacin for schizophrenia and as a cholesterol treatment and successfully treated many thousands of patients with high doses of niacin. The authors present some very compelling evidence to support treating most psychotic disorders as a vitamin B3 dependency. Considering it is very inexpensive and has virtually no dangerous side effects, niacin would certainly be worth a consideration for anyone who has a family member with this mental health challenge. I highly recommend picking up this book and learning more about its use.” —Dr. Joseph Mercola

Niacin: The Real Story is a classic. This book should be read and even studied by everyone. It will help keep readers healthy and save many lives. More people will benefit from the teachings of Drs. Hoffer, Saul and Foster.” —Richard Passwater, PhD

“This new edition of Niacin: The Real Story clarifies and describes the latest scientific evidence on supplementing with this important vitamin. Niacin (vitamin B3) is inexpensive and comes in several forms that the body incorporates through slightly different pathways. As shown many decades ago by Dr. Abram Hoffer, when taken in safe and appropriate doses, it can enhance brain function—reducing the risk of mental illness. Saul’s clear writing style explains how niacin can also reverse kidney disease and the risk of several types of cancer, and contribute to health body-wide.” —Robert G. Smith, PhD, Research Associate Professor at Perelman School of Medicine, Universityof Pennsylvania

“Dr. Hoffer worked with well over 2,000 children under the age of four using nutrient therapy including an adequate amount of niacin/niacinamide and saw great responses to it. What a boon it would be for children with ADHD, along with their parents, to have that critical choice as opposed to drug treatment only. Dr. Hoffer’s research on niacin proved to be life saving for many thousands of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar, and other mental health conditions, as well as many other conditions, such as high cholesterol, arthritis, and more. His work continues to be a gift to the world.” —Rosalie Moscoe, author of Frazzled Hurried Woman

“Niacin is the real thing! It is anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Research also shows positive results for coronavirus as well as some other viral and bacterial diseases.” —Bo H. Jonsson, MD, PhD, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm

“Dr. Hoffer’s writings changed my son’s life. His schizophrenia was cured with niacin treatments. My son, fully recovered, went on to become CEO of a web marketing company ten years later.” —Atsuo Yanagisawa, MD, PhD, President of the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine

“I wanted to discover how to use niacin to feel better and be happier, and Niacin: The Real Story more than delivered. It is almost like having my own health consultant helping me and hundreds of my clients and friends—not only—have a deep understanding of this amazing molecule but also put all of that knowledge into action to become healthier and wiser. The book is enjoyable to read since the first page then all of a sudden I’m in the last page. because it is very simple and easy to apply. If you want to be healthier and happier, this book is for you.” —Moustafa Kamel, RPh, PGCM, Editor of the Arabic edition of the Orthomolecular Medicine News ServiceFrom the Publisher

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Alternative Health

Niacin Clinical Studies

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Niacin is a unique class of supplement, one of the most important, here are some references:

“In the absence of an exogenous supply of niacin, there is a gradual, progressive instability of the genome, characterized by the inability of the antioxidant system to act efficiently, which ultimately leads to cell death.”

https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/15/3323

“our findings demonstrate that acting on GPR109A, niacin shows the potential to maintain energy homeostasis through multipathways, representing a potential approach to the treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/fj.201801951R

“Mortality in the niacin group was 11% lower than in the placebo group (52.0 versus 58.2%; p = 0.0004). This late benefit of niacin, occurring after discontinuation of the drug, may be a result of a translation into a mortality benefit over subsequent years of the early favorable effect of niacin in decreasing nonfatal reinfarction or a result of the cholesterol-lowering effect of niacin, or both. “

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3782631/

“oxidative stress can induce niacin/NAD+ depletion via activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), which could lead to tryptophan oxidation for compensatory de novo niacin synthesis, thereby contributing to immune tolerance and T-cell loss via tryptophan deletion and PARP-induced cell death.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19857540/

“Bill acted upon Hoffer’s advice and proceeded to take 1000mg of Niacin after each of his three meals a day. Through mega-vitamin therapy, Bill’s long-lasting conditions were rapidly overcome.”

https://brainsparkhealth.com/the-forgotten-chapter-in…/

“There is an NAD ‘salvage’ pathway that can bypass KYNU and HAAO by converting dietary niacin (Vitamin B3) and other precursors into NAD 

Niacin supplementation to maternal mice prevented birth defects in the ‘null’ offspring”

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1616361

“In conclusion, our data (1) underscore the potent role of micro-nutrient vitamin B3 as a metabolic modifier; (2) identify NAD +deficiency as a contributor to mitochondrial myopathy progres-sion; (3) point to usefulness of niacin therapy for PEO patients;”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32386566/

“In the present study, we investigated the impact of supplementation with nicotinic acid on resting and proliferating human mononuclear blood cells with a focus on DNA damage and repair processes. We observed that nicotinic acid supplementation increased NAD+ levels as well as DNA repair efficiency and enhanced genomic stability evaluated by micronucleus test after x-ray treatment.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28216063/

“Through its involvement in over 400 NAD(P)-dependent reactions, niacin status has the potential to influence every area of metabolism. Niacin deficiency has been linked to genomic instability largely through impaired function of the poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) family of enzymes. In various models, niacin deficiency has been found to cause impaired cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, delayed DNA excision repair, accumulation of single and double strand breaks, chromosomal breakage, telomere erosion and cancer development.“

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22138132/

“In the central nervous system, vitamin B₃ has long been recognized as a key mediator of neuronal development and survival. Here, we will overview available literature data on the neuroprotective role of niacin and its derivatives, especially focusing especially on its involvement in neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases), as well as in other neuropathological conditions (ischemic and traumatic injuries, headache and psychiatric disorders).”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30813414/

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