Niacin and Weight Loss

by on June 18, 2012

Niacin (vitamin B3) plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes associated with production of energy. Because of its effect on metabolism, it can possibly help in your goal of losing weight. However, since niacin is not a direct causal agent, its weight loss effects are indirect.

There are various ways by which niacin can indirectly cause weight loss. These include:

Efficient metabolism

Like other B vitamins, niacin helps in the efficient metabolism of carbohydrates, transforming them into energy, and fueling many other body functions. Most importantly, niacin helps burn calories much faster thereby ensuring weight loss. However, niacin is just one part of the entire metabolic processes. There are many other important nutrients that are needed to ensure effective metabolism.

Hormone production

Aside from its significance in the body’s metabolic processes, niacin is also indirectly involved in the production of hormones, including steroid hormones. Steroids are thought to promote fat metabolism and water absorption. By ensuring proper steroid production, abnormal weight gain can be avoided. In addition, vitamin B3 also helps enzymes to function properly so that they can efficiently carry out their purposes.

Reduction of cholesterol levels

Vitamin B3, in combination with other B vitamins, helps control blood cholesterol levels. In some patients who have weight problems, niacin may be included in the comprehensive weight loss program. This is because high doses of niacin have been proven to effectively decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, oral niacin tablets should be taken under medical supervision to prevent disturbing side effects and possible liver failure. , Furthermore, niacin improves blood circulation which keeps the body well oxygenated and therefore geared for more high energy workout. People taking niacin can endure high intensity workout which is crucial for effective weight loss.

Healthy nervous system

Niacin also helps promote and maintain overall health of the central nervous system. By taking adequate amounts of this vitamin, the user can maintain healthy serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger found in the brain that determines a person’s moods and emotional behavior. Abnormally low level of serotonin is often associated to depression. Keeping the nervous system healthy and maintaining balanced serotonin levels guarantee mental and emotional well-being. This prevents abnormal eating pattern due to depression as well as keeps an individual motivated to stay fit.

As you can see, weight loss associated with niacin requires that you follow other weight loss initiatives that include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Depending on niacin alone will not likely lead to your desired goal.


A recent study suggests that consuming too much niacin can be counterproductive and can even lead to weight gain. In the study, the researchers have found that changes in the insulin levels can lead to abnormally low level of blood sugar. This in turn can lead to increased appetite and subsequent weight gain.

To avoid this potential problem, consumers are advised to get niacin from natural and dietary sources such as green leafy vegetables, dairy products, poultry, and root vegetables. Also, there are many food products that are fortified with niacin. If taking niacin supplements, be sure to consult your healthcare provider to avoid side effects and potential problems.