Niacin vs. Niacinamide

Difference Between Niacin and Niacinamide

Niacin and Niacinamide are vitamin B3 supplements. The difference between Niacin and Niacinamide is not known to majority of the people as a result of which many people take any of the two without much consideration. But fact is that the Vitamin B3, which is an important vitamin in vitamin B series, is available in two forms which are known as Niacin and Niacinamide. Like all other forms of Vitamin B, Niacin that Niacinamide have so many health benefits and both these forms are collectively known as Vitamin B3. The lack of Vitamin B3 in the body causes pellagra which is a deficiency disease. The common symptoms of pellagra are dementia, dermatitis and diarrhea. In extreme cases, the lack of B3 can even lead to death.

Niacin and Niacinamide are soluble in water just like other forms of Vitamin B and they easily get dispersed in the body. It is essential that Vitamin B3 is replenished in the body regularly and its overdose does not cause any harmful effects because the excess vitamin B3 is excreted in urine.  Both are important for tissue oxidation and in the production of energy. They are also involved in the metabolism of fats known as cholesterol. Both Niacin and Niacinamide are available as health supplements and but both have different effect on body. This is why they should be taken after consultation from doctor instead of choosing any one of the two without any consideration.

Our body is able to convert Niacin into Niacinamide and make Niacinamide from Tryptophan, an aminoacid found in the foods of animal. Although Niacin has effect similar to Niacinamide, their pharmacological characteristics and properties differ from each other. Heavy dose of Niacin can lead to flushing. However, since Niacinamide does not have blood vessel dilating effect, it does not cause skin flushing. Doctors prefer Niacinamide over Niacin for treating pellagra, a wasting disease, caused due to deficiency of vitamin B3. However, Niacinamide can make you sweat a lot.

Niacin can be used to treat high levels of cholesterol but Niacinamide is not used for this purpose. As Niacinamide is an amide of Niacin, its property to lower down the levels of Cholesterol is inhibited. Niacinamide is recommended for use in treating osteoarthritis although more research is in this field is still required.

Both Niacin and Niacinamide are used for the treatment of emotional and physical tension and can also be used for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

The real difference between Niacin and Niacinamide is due to the fact that Niacin contains an organic acid group in its chemical structure while Niacinamide contains an amino group. An amide is a chemical which contains a carbonyl group (C=O) which is linked up with an atom of nitrogen.

For the treating problems related to circulation, Niacinamide is preferred over Niancin because it has better cholesterol and triglyceride lowering properties

Doctors recommend to take either Niacinamide  or Niancin along with Vitamin B1, B2 and C, which makes them more efficient.


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  • Noelle

    I’m confused.
    Paragraph 4 states, “Niacin can be used to treat high levels of cholesterol but Niacinamide is not used for this purpose. As Niacinamide is an amide of Niacin, its property to lower down the levels of Cholesterol is inhibited.” But then Paragraph 7 contradicts this by saying, ”For the treating problems related to circulation, Niacinamide is preferred over Niancin because it has better cholesterol and triglyceride lowering properties”