Vitamin C and Niacin – A Highly Effective Treatment for Colds
I wrote in an earlier column that my family has found the combination of vitamin C and niacin to obviously reduce the duration and severity of colds. With the exception of the most severe colds, the combination of vitamin C and niacin has kept the family feeling 100%, and maybe even better. When fighting a cold, we have found the combination of vitamin C and niacin to have a stimulant effect. Under the influence, in addition to fighting off the cold, we rush about our business with extra energy. We take 10 to 25 gm/day of vitamin C in multiple divided doses. We use single daily doses of niacin between 100 and 250 mg. We ordinarily use niacin only two or three times because by the third or fourth day the cold is over. I take ordinary niacin and typically flush because the flush doesn’t bother me. The rest of my family hate flushing and take time-release niacin. When the cold is gone we return to the normal daily routine of vitamin C and a multivitamin.
Vitamin C is clinically proven to reduce the duration and severity of colds and is taken by hundreds of thousands in doses of 5 to 100 gm/day for this purpose. Niacin is clinically proven to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol and is also taken by hundreds of thousands. Both vitamins are safe at the doses recommended here. Side effects, when they appear, are temporary and manageable. The combination of vitamin C and niacin can be tried without fear.
Since writing my first column, I have gotten feedback that this remedy really works. I’ve also been told that the treatment idea is new. No one seems to know anyone who has tried this combination of vitamins before specifically to fight colds. Vitamins are so old, and have been the subject of so much advocacy, that it had not occurred to me that I might be on to something really new. Inspired by this thought, I went to internet search engines to see what I could find. I found my own column as the top hit when searching niacin and colds.
The truth about vitamins is that the benefits they provide tend to be imperceptible and are sustained for a long period of time after supplements are stopped. Nothing obvious tends to happen when vitamins are taken and nothing bad ordinarily happens when supplements are stopped. This new idea of using vitamin C and niacin to fight colds is different. Something obviously good happens when the vitamins are taken. The head decongests, aches and pains subside, and a normal energy level is restored. Unlike other vitamin treatments, perhaps this one will catch on sufficiently to win over even hardened vitamin skeptics. I haven’t ever received mail about a vitamin treatment that has made me so hopeful. Keep the feedback coming.
Niacin can be difficult to take. It can have very unpleasant side effects. Niacin causes flushing. The skin turns red and feels like a sunburn for a few minutes. On average, the severity of the flush increases with increasing dose, and can be extremely painful. Flushing can be controlled with time-release niacin. The next most common side effect is more serious. It is nausea. The nausea ranges from mild, lasting for an hour or so to so severe that it lasts a whole day and can be accompanied by vomiting. Niacin has been associated with many other side effects. In this respect, niacin is much more difficult to use than vitamin C. In general, vitamin C’s intestinal side effects are some combination of completely avoidable or readily tolerable.
Niacin is a vitamin with tremendous potential. All medical professionals accept the usefulness of niacin at doses far above the 20 mg RDA. All cardiologists are now familiar with the challenges of using niacin and are a skilled resource to help the population that is suffering from chronic colds. Niacin side effects are being successfully managed. The benefits clearly far outweigh the dangers.
Niacin is known to be essential to the health of every cellular system in the body. Hundreds of specific metabolic pathways requiring niacin have been identified. Since high doses of niacin are effective for heart disease, the proposal that high doses might be effective for colds merits a fair hearing.
If colds cause you enough trouble to make taking extra vitamin C worthwhile, consider adding in some extra niacin. There’s nothing to lose.