Bodybuilding supplements with niacin are often used to lower cholesterol, thanks to its ability to suppress the disintegration of fats, preventing fatty acids from entering the blood. However, niacin is also found to stimulate the human growth hormone, or GH. The growth hormone is important for everyone, but most especially for athletes and bodybuilders as it boosts cell generation in muscles, bones and vital organs, allowing muscles to grow, as well as rehabilitates injured tissues. Our pituitary glands produce GH but this declines as we get older, which is why we should take natural bodybuilding supplements, niacin included.
Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3, which like its siblings Thiamine or Vitamin B1 and Riboflavin or Vitamin B2, is able to aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Niacin’s most basic function is to release energy, and derivatives of niacin have been found to detoxify xenochemicals, produces steroid hormones especially in the adrenal gland and repairs DNA.
Niacin is most popularly used to treat pellagra, which is a disease manifested by lesions on the skin, gastrointestinal problems and even psychological symptoms such as extreme nervousness and depression. It is also used to treat hyperlipidemia, by lowering levels of very-low-density lipoprotein or VLDL, which is an antecedent of low-density lipoprotein, which we know as bad cholesterol. Meanwhile, it also increases the amount of good cholesterol in the body, scientifically known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL, which is why niacin is prescribed to heart attack patients.
Niacin has not been very popular as a natural supplement because there is a small level of toxicity found in rather large amounts, and is definitely not at all allowed for diabetics on insulin. Its most common side effect is the flushing of the skin, particularly in the face, followed by itching and rashes, especially on areas of the skin covered by clothing. This lasts for only fifteen to thirty minutes and may be avoided by drinking aspirin before ingesting niacin, or ibuprofen every day for two or three weeks.
Building a tolerance for niacin is important if you plan to take supplements for the long term; begin by taking small doses and gradually adding to the dosage over time. Niacin’s pharmacological properties work best in large amounts, so being able to tolerate its side effects is necessary to enjoy the vitamin’s benefits. Doctors also recommend ingesting niacin with meals, but this is not effective for bodybuilders who take niacin to enhance the growth hormone must take it on an empty stomach.
This is why niacin has not been a popular natural bodybuilding supplement till recently, its effects on the human growth hormone are only evident if ingested without any fatty acids present. Of course, in the present of fats, the niacin will set to work first on preventing its breakdown. But when it can solely concentrate on working its releasing properties on the growth hormone without any interruption, the rise of the hormone is quite significant.
The recommended dosages of niacin, in general, should be around 15 to 19 mg for men and 15 mg for women. As a bodybuilding supplement, however, you’ll need to take a much higher dosage, around 150 mg for a long term program, or 500 mg for a shorter plan. Many start with smaller dosages, from 50 mg, to get past the side effects of flushing, which usually happens at a minimum of 150 mg. Another dietary supplement has been developed called Inositol Hexanicotinate or IHN, which is also known as No-Flush Niacin. It may be a bit more expensive than niacin, but IHN is effective even if you take lower amounts of it, thereby making it a better option.
Some users of niacin merely wait for the flushing to go away, or to allow their bodies to get comfortable with the flushing and itching. Mostly longtime advocates of natural bodybuilding supplements, once they feel that their bodies have adapted to it enough to stop flushing and itching, they can elevate dosages. Again, be careful when increasing dosages of niacin, as this may also lead to liver toxicity. Although rare, it is still highly possible that niacin may raise the levels of enzymes in your liver.
To get the most out of niacin as a bodybuilding supplement, take your dosage before you go to sleep, so long as you haven’t just had anything to eat a few hours before then. GH normally peaks an hour after we sleep, and it’s a good time for niacin and GH to interact, building up your growth activities while you sleep.