We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Uses of Niacin?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

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.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon994853 — On Mar 13, 2016

If you want to reduce the flush, just avoid warm food and drinks after taking niacin. Drinking something chilled will also greatly reduce flushing.

By stoneMason — On Feb 15, 2015

@ysmina-- A friend of mine actually uses niacin supplements for this and it works for him. He had developed an involuntary eye twitch sometime back after a particularly stressful time at work. He read the niacin helps and started using it. His twitch disappeared after a week and a half of use. He still takes it several times a week to make sure the twitch doesn't come back.

Although I think you should try niacin, check with your doctor to be on the safe side and don't take more than the recommended dose. It's possible to overdose on vitamins too. There isn't scientific proof about niacin working for twitching but there is definitely a lot of anecdotal evidence.

By ysmina — On Feb 14, 2015

Does anyone here know whether niacin helps with twitching? I've read that it may help with this problem but the source wasn't the most reliable. I'm just wondering if anyone has had personal experience with this?

By bluedolphin — On Feb 14, 2015

I'm using niacin supplements for cholesterol. It was recommended by my doctor and it seems to be working. I discovered that my bad cholesterol is lower than previously during my last doctor's visit.

The only issue I have with niacin is the flush. It makes me all red in the face for a few hours after I take it. It's frustrating and people ask me if I'm all right. I think niacin in low doses doesn't have this effect but for it to work for cholesterol, the doses have to be higher. So the flush appears to be inevitable if I want to keep my cholesterol in check without cholesterol medications.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.