Vitamin B3 for Depression: Case Report and Review of the Literature

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While on parental leave during November 2009, my clinical shift was spearheaded by one of my colleagues who recommended fairly significant doses of inositol hexaniacinate to treat a patient's depression. In January 2010, the patient returned for a visit on my clinical shift and much to my surprise her long standing depression had resolved. As a result, I conducted a search for articles describing the use of vitamin B3 for depression. Six articles were found to meet the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. There is evidence that niacin and niacinimide (in combination with tryptophan) might be effective for the treatment of depression. Hypothetical reasons for niacin's effectiveness include its vasodilatory properties, while the mechanisms responsible for the effectiveness of niacinimide involve its ability to inhibit tryptophan pyrrolase and possible protect neurons from damage. The side effect profiles of niacin and the niacinimide-tyrptophan combination are also discussed. Even though the mechanisms of action for niacin and niacinimide have not been substantiated from well-conducted controlled clinical trials, these forms of vitamin B3 appear to have beneficial effects upon depression. It is imperative that properly designed controlled trials are developed in order to determine the true therapeutic effects and adverse effect profile of both preparations of vitamin B3 for depression.
Title of abstract: 
Vitamin B3 for Depression: Case Report and Review of the Literature
Prousky J.
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 19:00
Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2010; 25 (3): 137-147

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