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Does Niacinamide Help Psoriasis?

Does Niacinamide Help Psoriasis? Does Niacinamide Help Psoriasis? Does Niacinamide Help Psoriasis?


Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, can cause reddened, itchy patches of skin, along with scaling, cracking and bleeding. Most researchers think psoriasis is caused by a malfunctioning immune system. There is no cure, but lifestyle changes and medications such as corticosteroids and retinoids may help you manage symptoms. Some physicians and natural healers recommend niacinamide, a form of vitamin B-3, to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis. Clinical studies suggest that niacinamide has beneficial effects on psoriasis, but it may not work for everyone. Consult your doctor before using niacinamide.


Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, is created in the body from excess niacin, or vitamin B-3. Vitamin B-3 occurs naturally in meat, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, yeast, beans and cereal grains. Both niacin and niacinamide are needed by the body for the proper utilization of fats and sugars. However, they do not have identical effects; while niacin is useful in lowering levels of triglycerides, or fats, in the bloodstream, niacinamide has no such effect. In addition, niacinamide does not produce the flushing and itching associated with niacin. Niacinamide is used to treat diabetes, schizophrenia, osteoarthritis, age-related cognitive losses and Alzheimer's disease. It also is employed to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as bullous pemphigoid, inflammatory acne and granuloma annulare. Finally, niacinamide may be given to prevent a vitamin B-3 deficiency.

Effects on Psoriasis

Many researchers believe that niacinamide's anti-inflammatory properties can make it useful in combating psoriasis. According to a 2003 article in "The Journal of American Societies for Experimental Biology" by Mohammad Reza Namazi, M.D., nicotinamide works against psoriasis by inhibiting mast cell histamine release, suppressing the synthesis of nitric oxide, inhibiting inflammatory enzymes and suppressing the antigen-induced transformation of lymphocytes. Namazi asserts that nicotinamide, or niacinamide, can exert an anti-psoriatic effect, especially when used with the drug methotrexate. Another factor in nicotinamide's favor was that it reduced toxicity to the liver associated with methotrexate.


For over three decades, researchers have investigated niacinamide as a treatment for psoriasis. In a study published in 1975 in "Archives of Dermatology," Herschel S. Zackheim, M.D., found that a combination of oral niacinamide and topical 6-aminonicotinamide helped to substantially improve psoriasis in 27 out of 34 patients, with complete clearing of plaques -- or scaly areas -- experienced by some. Zackheim concluded that the combination showed promise as a safe and effective treatment for psoriasis. Recent studies also support the use of niacinamide. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study published in 2010 in "Journals of the American Academy of Dermatology," researchers found that nicotinamide enhanced the effectiveness of calcipotriene, a standard psoriasis medication. Half of the patients treated with the combination achieved clear to almost clear outcomes after 12 weeks, leading the team to conclude that nicotinamide and calcipotriene could benefit patients with psoriasis, possibly serving as an alternative to steroids.

Usage and Precautions

According to Medline Plus, niacinamide is considered likely to be safe when taken by mouth. Mild side effects include nausea, gas, dizziness and mouth pain. At extremely high doses -- over 3 g per day -- niacinamide can cause liver problems, gout, gastric ulcers, loss of vision, high blood sugar and irregular heartbeat. Niacinamide can worsen certain conditions, such as gallbladder disease, and can interact with prescription drugs. Consult your doctor before taking niacinamide.

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