Niacin Flush: The New Detox?
Written by: Kat Gal
The first time it happened to me, I kind of freaked out. A few minutes after taking my B-vitamin complex, suddenly my cheeks began to feel tingly and my ears turned bright red. It all went away within less than half an hour, but I still wondered what it was.
Turns out it was niacin flush, which is very common and natural when taking something high in niacin (vitamin B3) such as vitamin supplements, nutritional yeast, or kombucha. This temporary sensation is triggered by the immediate bioavailability of niacin, or in other words, when you rapidly absorb B3 into your bloodstream.
There is nothing to be alarmed about. Niacin flush is not only natural, but it is also very helpful for the gentle detoxification of your body.
What Is Niacin?
Niacin, or otherwise known as vitamin B3, is one of the 8 water soluble B vitamins that is essential to your body. It facilitates the synthesis of stress and sex-related hormones in your body. It suppresses inflammation, improves circulation and boosts your mood.
While you can easily meet your niacin requirements through a healthy diet, many people remain somewhat deficient due to a compromised gut flora, stress, or imbalanced diet.
Symptoms of niacin deficiency may include:
- Canker sores
- Poor circulation
Signs Of Niacin Flush
Niacin flush does not occur in everyone, but if you are even mildly deficient as little as 50 mg can trigger one.
Symptoms can differ from person to person, but may include:
- Warming of your cheeks or ears
- Redness in ears or cheeks
If you are experiencing some dizziness after drinking kombucha resembling the buzz from alcohol, it is likely a niacin flush rather than due to the fermentation.
Severe symptoms may appear in case of more severe deficiencies, including:
- Stomach pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Itchy skin
Symptoms should disappear relatively quickly within 30–60 minutes. Taking a cold shower can help your symptoms as well. Once your niacin levels balance out, your niacin flush symptoms should reduce or even disappear completely.
How A Niacin Flush Aids Detoxification
Incorporating more niacin into your diet can improve your body’s natural detoxification pathways.
L.A. Carlsen (researcher) had studied the use of nicotinic acid to help extremely high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), discovering that doses of niacin cause “rebound lipolysis.” This process involves initial inhibiting of the breakdown of fats for a short period of time tracked by a detoxification rebound, causing a large discharge of triglycerides and toxic chemicals to be expelled from your body via your skin or your gastrointestinal tract.
Niacin has been used in drug rehab not only to help reduce depression, but to also help reduce drug cravings and to aid detoxification from harmful drugs. Niacin has been used in combination with sweating via sauna or exercise.
The point is that niacin is necessary for your body and niacin flush is a natural process you don’t need to be worried about.
Have you ever experienced niacin flush? How do you get your daily niacin in? Share your experiences in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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