Vitamin B3, in the form of nicotinic acid, and in doses of 50 mg or more, can cause niacin flush. This can consist of a rash and warm tingling sensation on your skin and possible headache. It is not dangerous and only lasts for 10 to 20 minutes. If your doctor clears it, you can avoid the flush by taking niacinamide or nicotinamide instead. Niacin supplementation is a safe alternative to many other drugs, so therefore, the benefits may outweigh the discomfort.
Adapt to the flush. Nicotinic acid is the only form of vitamin B3 that will lower cholesterol, help with migraine headaches, stimulate the sex drive, detoxify the body and protect it from certain pollutants. To help reduce the severity of the flush, drink lots of water.
Ask your doctor to prescribe a niacin drug with which there is little to no flushing. He may be able to clarify whether or not you even need a supplement. Some conditions can be corrected with a diet rich in the amino acid tryptophan, niacin and B vitamin complex. Poultry, fish, peanuts and organ meats contain both niacin and tryptophan, which gets converted into niacin.
See if you enjoy the flush. The sensation of increased circulation through the widening of the capillaries is a positive and healthful side effect of niacin. Some bodybuilders who have claimed that they like to experience the flush before their workout say that it is less noticeable once commencing training.
Wait a while. When taking high doses of niacin regularly, blood is repeatedly, with each dose, being rushed to the surface of the skin — flushing and detoxifying the cells. These cells produce histamine, which causes the itching. As histamine is reduced, the flushing may stop altogether.
References and Resources"Staying Healthy With Nutrition"; Elson Haas, MD; 2006
"Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A.Bach, CNC; 2006
Healing Daily: The Role of Niacin in Detoxification