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Depression affects roughly 25 million adults in America each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and it is more common in women than men. While there is presently no cure for depression, there are a number of medications that can alleviate the symptoms. Unfortunately, many of these medications cause side effects that leave patients looking for more natural treatment alternatives. Niacin, or vitamin B-3, is one natural alternative that can benefit people with depression. Speak with your health-care provider before taking natural supplements for depression, especially if you are already on other medications.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Niacin deficiency can lead to depression, insomnia and anxiety. Left untreated, a niacin deficiency can cause dementia and pellagra, a serious disease that resembles schizophrenia. Niacin can benefit people with depression by relieving any symptoms that could be related to a deficiency of this important vitamin 1. Depressed patients are frequently deficient in the B vitamin complex. Furthermore, your body cannot store niacin, so you need adequate intake of this important vitamin every day.
- Niacin deficiency can lead to depression, insomnia and anxiety.
- Left untreated, a niacin deficiency can cause dementia and pellagra, a serious disease that resembles schizophrenia.
What Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies Cause Anxiety?
In the brain, low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with depression. One of the building blocks of serotonin is the amino acid tryptophan, and one of the building blocks of tryptophan is niacin. Tryptophan also helps the body supply itself with niacin. If tryptophan is divided between serotonin production and niacin production, serotonin production is likely to be inadequate. Supplemental niacin and tryptophan can improve symptoms of depression.
- In the brain, low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with depression.
- Tryptophan also helps the body supply itself with niacin.
The B vitamin niacin is important for proper functioning of all cells, including the cells of the brain and nervous system. When the nervous system is working properly, symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, mood swings and insomnia can be prevented. You will be more mentally alert when your body is properly supplied with the B vitamin complex, especially niacin. This can help you function better if you have depression and allow for maximum benefit from any other treatments you are receiving for depression, including medication and therapy.
If you or a loved one are suffering symptoms of depression, talk with your doctor.
- The B vitamin niacin is important for proper functioning of all cells, including the cells of the brain and nervous system.
- This can help you function better if you have depression and allow for maximum benefit from any other treatments you are receiving for depression, including medication and therapy.
What Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies Cause Anxiety?
Vitamins for Moodiness and Irritability
Benefits of Niacin for Men
Is B12 Good for Anxiety?
Tryptophan & Niacin
Does Vitamin B-12 Cause OCD to Be Worse?
The Best Supplements to Help You Focus
Do Vitamins Interact With Metformin?
Low Progesterone and Depression
Does Niacin Help With Weight Loss?
- How to Get Rid of Vitamin B3 Deficiency
- National Institutes of Health: MedlinePlus: Niacin and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
- National Institutes of Medicine Office of Dietary Supplements. Niacin Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated June 3, 2020.
- MedlinePlus. Niacin. Updated June 4, 2020.
- Boden WE, Probstfield JL, Anderson T, et al. Niacin in Patients with Low HDL Cholesterol Levels Receiving Intensive Statin Therapy. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(24):2255-2267. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1107579
- Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Dietary niacin and the risk of incident Alzheimer's disease and of cognitive decline. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004;75(8):1093-1099. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.025858
- Elam MB, Hunninghake DB, Davis KB, et al. Effect of Niacin on Lipid and Lipoprotein Levels and Glycemic Control in Patients With Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease: The ADMIT Study: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2000;284(10):1263-1270. doi:10.1001/jama.284.10.1263
- Zhai G. Alteration of Metabolic Pathways in Osteoarthritis. Metabolites. 2019;9(1):11. doi:10.3390/metabo9010011
Stephanie Crumley Hill is a childbirth educator who for more than 20 years has written professionally about pregnancy, family and a variety of health and medical topics. A former print magazine editor, her insurance articles for “Resource” magazine garnered numerous awards. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia.