Niacin flushes your system

Does Niacin Really Cleanse Your System?

Niacin is one of the B vitamins, specifically the B-3 vitamin. Like other members of the B vitamins, niacin plays a key role in converting carbohydrates into energy for the body. While niacin is important in promoting healthy hair, eyes, skin, and liver, there's nothing to suggest that niacin cleanses your system or removes traces of illegal drugs from your body.

Close-up of a niacin pill (Image: redstallion / iStock / Getty Images)

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Supplements containing niacin can help reduce your risk of deficiency in this nutrient. Niacin deficiency can cause diarrhea, dementia, fatigue, wounds, depression, flaky skin, and vomiting. Niacin can help lower high cholesterol and treat diabetes and osteoarthritis, although more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits. Taking supplements or foods containing niacin, such as beef liver, tuna, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and beets, can help reduce your risk of niacin deficiency.

Drug test

While there is no scientific evidence to support the practice, some people take niacin supplements to mask drug tests or to flush illicit drugs from their bloodstream. The purpose of this type of use is to prevent the detection of the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana known as tetrahydracannabinol. Although some websites may promote niacin for this purpose, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns that there is no evidence that consumption of this B vitamin will alter blood or urine tests used to detect drug use.

dosage

The recommended dosage amount for niacin for adult men is 16 mg per day, while women need about 14 mg daily. The need during pregnancy is up to 18 mg per day, and 15 mg per day is the recommended amount for breastfeeding mothers. While niacin doesn't cleanse your system, a niacin flush can occur when you take niacin supplements, a condition common in people who take more than 50 mg of niacin per day.

Precautions

Niacin supplements are not suitable for people with a history of stomach ulcer or liver disease. High doses of this vitamin can increase the risk of stomach ulcers and liver damage. Niacin can interact with certain medications, including aspirin, anticoagulants, diabetes medications, and nicotine patches. Talk to your doctor before taking niacin supplements, especially if you have gout, diabetes, or a gallbladder. Drinking alcohol while taking niacin can cause drowsiness.