Which is better niacin or niacinamide?


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Niacin and niacinamide are both forms of vitamin B3, and they play crucial roles in our bodies. However, they have different properties and effects, which can make one more suitable than the other depending on the situation.


Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is one of the essential human nutrients. It is known to lower two types of “bad” cholesterol (LDL and VLDL) and increase levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). In fact, when used with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating healthily, and increasing physical activity, niacin helps to lower high cholesterol and can increase HDL more than any other medication. However, high doses of niacin can cause flushing, a condition that causes blood vessels to widen, making the skin become red and itchy.

Niacin/ Image Credits: Natural White Label

On the other hand, niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide, is derived from niacin. The body has the ability to convert niacin to niacinamide. Niacinamide does not cause the flushing effect that niacin does, which is why it is often preferred over niacin in the treatment of pellagra, a condition that results due to a lack of vitamin B3. Niacinamide can also be made by our body from an amino acid known as tryptophan. It plays a role in our energy-making cycle, the Krebs cycle, and helps prevent a certain DNA-based aging mechanism.


When it comes to skincare, both niacin and niacinamide are popular ingredients. Niacinamide is a water-soluble nutrient that works in conjunction with the natural substances in your skin, making it an extremely effective ingredient in skincare products for treating a number of conditions, such as eczema and rosacea. It can help fight off environmental factors and repair damages, plus fight back to reduce visible signs of aging. Niacinamide works for a number of skincare concerns including large pores, uneven skin texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It also works wonders for extremely dry skin because it helps restore moisture loss and dehydration on the skin’s surface.

Niacin, also a water-soluble nutrient, works to boost the growth and development of the human body by converting food into energy, which then specifically improves circulation and reduces inflammation. When taken orally, niacin helps with cell energy and DNA repair. And, while it’s less common than niacinamide, it can also benefit the skin when applied topically.

In conclusion, whether niacin or niacinamide is better depends on the specific needs and conditions of the individual. For cholesterol management, niacin is the better choice. For skincare, especially for those with sensitive skin who might react to the flushing effect of niacin, niacinamide might be the preferred option. As always, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.


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