Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, is an organic compound with the formula C
2 and, depending on the definition used, one of the 20 to 80 essential human nutrients. Pharmaceutical and supplemental niacin are primarily used to treat hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and pellagra (niacin deficiency). Insufficient niacin in the diet can cause nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches, and tiredness. The lack of niacin may also be observed in pandemic deficiency disease, which is caused by a lack of five crucial vitamins (niacin, vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin D, and vitamin A) and is usually found in areas of widespread poverty and malnutrition. Niacin has not been found to be useful in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in those already on a statin but appears to be effective in those not taking a statin.
Abram Hoffer (November 11, 1917 – May 27, 2009) was a Canadian biochemist, physician, and psychiatrist known for his “adrenochrome hypothesis” of schizoaffective disorders. According to Hoffer, megavitamin therapy and other nutritional interventions are potentially effective treatments for schizophrenia and other diseases. Hoffer was also involved in studies of LSD as an experimental therapy for alcoholism and the discovery that high-dose niacin can be used to treat high cholesterol and other dyslipidemias.