Is Niacin a Lacking Piece of the COVID Puzzle?


This text was beforehand printed January 20, 2021, and has been up to date with new data.

Whereas nutritional vitamins C and D have garnered a lot consideration within the combat towards COVID-19, B nutritional vitamins also can play an essential function, based on two current papers — niacin (B3) specifically.

The primary, “Be Effectively: A Potential Function for Vitamin B in COVID-19,”1,2 was printed within the February 2021 concern of the journal Maturitas. The paper is the results of a joint collaboration between researchers on the College of Oxford, United Arab Emirates College and the College of Melbourne, Australia.

Whereas no research utilizing B nutritional vitamins have been carried out on COVID-19 sufferers, the researchers stress that, primarily based on B nutritional vitamins’ results in your immune system, immune-competence and crimson blood cells (which assist combat an infection), supplementation could also be a helpful adjunct to different prevention and therapy methods. As famous by the authors:3

“There’s a want to focus on the significance of vitamin B as a result of it performs a pivotal function in cell functioning, vitality metabolism, and correct immune operate.

Vitamin B assists in correct activation of each the innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine ranges, improves respiratory operate, maintains endothelial integrity, prevents hypercoagulability and might scale back the size of keep in hospital.

Due to this fact, vitamin B standing must be assessed in COVID-19 sufferers and vitamin B might be used as a non-pharmaceutical adjunct to present remedies …

Vitamin B not solely helps to construct and keep a wholesome immune system, but it surely might doubtlessly forestall or scale back COVID-19 signs or deal with SARS-CoV-2 an infection. Poor dietary standing predisposes individuals to infections extra simply; subsequently, a balanced eating regimen is important for immuno-competence.”

B Nutritional vitamins Play Many Roles in COVID-19 Illness Course of

Importantly, B nutritional vitamins can affect a number of COVID-19-specific illness processes, together with:4

  • Viral replication and invasion
  • Cytokine storm induction
  • Adaptive immunity
  • Hypercoagulability

The paper goes on to element how every of the B nutritional vitamins may also help handle varied COVID-19 signs:5

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) — Thiamine improves immune system operate, protects cardiovascular well being, inhibits irritation and aids in wholesome antibody responses. Vitamin B1 deficiency may end up in an insufficient antibody response, thereby resulting in extra extreme signs. There’s additionally proof suggesting B1 could restrict hypoxia.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) — Riboflavin together with ultraviolet gentle has been proven to lower the infectious titer of SARS-CoV-2 beneath the detectable restrict in human blood, plasma and platelet merchandise.

Vitamin B3 (niacin/nicotinamide) — Niacin is a constructing block of NAD and NADP, that are very important when combating irritation.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) — Vitamin B5 aids in wound therapeutic and reduces irritation.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5′-phosphate/pyridoxine) — Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP), the energetic type of vitamin B6, is a cofactor in a number of inflammatory pathways. Vitamin B6 deficiency is related to dysregulated immune operate. Irritation will increase the necessity for PLP, which can lead to depletion.

In response to the authors, in COVID-19 sufferers with excessive ranges of irritation, B6 deficiency could also be a contributing issue. What’s extra, B6 may play an essential function in stopping the hypercoagulation seen in some COVID-19 sufferers.

Vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid) — Folate, the pure type of B9 present in meals, is required for the synthesis of DNA and protein in your adaptive immune response.

Folic acid, the artificial kind sometimes present in dietary supplements, was lately discovered6 to inhibit furin, an enzyme related to viral infections, thereby stopping the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from binding to and gaining entry into your cells. The analysis7 suggests folic acid could subsequently be useful through the early levels of COVID-19.

One other current paper8 discovered folic acid has a powerful and secure binding affinity towards SARS-CoV-2. This too suggests it could be an acceptable therapeutic towards COVID-19.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) — B12 is required for wholesome synthesis of crimson blood cells and DNA. A deficiency in B12 will increase irritation and oxidative stress by elevating homocysteine ranges. Your physique can eradicate homocysteine naturally, supplied you are getting sufficient B9 (folate), B6 and B12.9

Hyperhomocysteinemia — a situation characterised by abnormally excessive ranges of homocysteine — causes endothelial dysfunction, prompts platelet and coagulation cascades and reduces immune responses.

B12 deficiency can also be related to sure respiratory problems. Advancing age can diminish your physique’s means to soak up B12 from meals,10 so the necessity for supplementation could enhance as you become older. In response to “Be Effectively: A Potential Function for Vitamin D in COVID-19”:11

“A current examine confirmed that methylcobalamin dietary supplements have the potential to scale back COVID-19-related organ harm and signs. A medical examine carried out in Singapore confirmed that COVID-19 sufferers who got vitamin B12 dietary supplements (500 μg), vitamin D (1000 IU) and magnesium had decreased COVID-19 symptom severity and dietary supplements considerably decreased the necessity for oxygen and intensive care help.”

Niacin — A Lacking Piece of the COVID-19 Puzzle?

The second paper,12 “Adequate Niacin Provide: The Lacking Puzzle Piece to COVID-19 and Past?” (which is a preprint and has but to endure peer assessment), focuses particularly on niacin (B3), elevating the query of whether or not this vitamin would possibly truly be an important participant within the COVID-19 illness course of. As famous within the summary:

“Definitive antiviral properties are evidenced for niacin, i.e., nicotinic acid (NA), as coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) remedy for each illness restoration and prevention, to the extent that reversal or development of its pathology follows as an intrinsic operate of NA provide.

This detailed investigation gives a radical disentanglement of how the downstream inflammatory propagation of ensuing extreme acute respiratory virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) an infection is totally prohibited or reversed upstream out the physique to expeditiously restore well being with well-tolerated dynamic supplementation of ample NA (i.e., ~1-3 grams per day).”

As famous on this paper, a main hallmark of COVID-19 pathology is the cytokine storm, which might result in a number of organ failure and demise. Marked elevations in proinflammatory cytokines are responsible for this chain of occasions, most notable of that are interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1).

In case you can lower and management these damaging cytokines, you stand a superb likelihood of thwarting the cytokine storm and the downstream harm it causes. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) performs an essential function on this, and niacin is a constructing block of NAD. As defined in “Be Effectively: A Potential Function for Vitamin D in COVID-19”:13

“NAD+ is launched through the early levels of irritation and has immunomodulatory properties, recognized to lower the pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α. Current proof signifies that concentrating on IL-6 might assist management the inflammatory storm in sufferers with COVID-19.”

Except for markedly lowering proinflammatory cytokines, niacin has additionally been proven to:14

  • Cut back the replication of a variety of viruses, together with vaccinia virus, human immunodeficiency virus, enteroviruses and hepatitis B virus
  • Cut back neutrophil infiltration
  • Have anti-inflammatory impact in sufferers with ventilator-induced lung damage

Niacin Modulates the Bradykinin Storm

COVID-19 additionally triggers bradykinin storms. Bradykinin is a chemical that helps regulate your blood strain and is managed by your renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The bradykinin speculation gives a mannequin that helps clarify among the extra uncommon signs of COVID-19, together with its weird results in your cardiovascular system.

Researchers have found SARS-CoV-2 downregulates your physique’s means to degrade or break down bradykinin. The top result’s a bradykinin storm, and this seems to be an essential consider a lot of COVID-19’s deadly results, maybe much more so than the cytokine storms related to the illness. As bradykinin accumulates, the extra critical COVID-19 signs seem.

Vitamin D has a major affect on the RAS,15 and might subsequently assist forestall a bradykinin storm, however niacin additionally performs an essential function. As famous in “Adequate Niacin Provide: The Lacking Puzzle Piece to COVID-19 and Past?”:16

“Fast-release NA [niacin] administration has been reported as extremely efficient in stopping the lung tissue harm concerned on this … pathology. As a matter of reality, authors of a March, 2020, paper17 in Nature for this very motive conclude with suggestion of niacin supplementation to COVID-19 sufferers as a ‘clever method.'”

The paper additionally expounds on the function of NAD+, and why niacin is a helpful technique for enhancing NAD+:18

“The key results of COVID-19 are evidenced to contain tryptophan metabolism and the kynurenine pathway in direction of depletions of those precursors of NAD+ …

Solely ample dosage of immediate-release NA — by way of its processing within the mammalian physique to kind NAADP [nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate, a calcium mobilizer] — results in an inverse potential vitality pump again upstream, from the core up and in the end out the physique, of the downstream ensuing propagation of such inflammatory illness that spreads into the cells.

That is made doable by the aptitude of NAADP to be readily fashioned by ample NA provide to induce Ca2+ [calcium] channeling again upstream out the physique of built-up or ensuing irritation, representing kinetic vitality … that by electron gradient, strikes downstream into the physique.

Trying to revive NAD+ with different NAD+-precursors apart from NA (e.g., nicotinamide, nicotinamide riboside, nicotinamide mononucleotide) solely truly briefly and in a way, artificially, raises NAD+ ranges, till they imminently deplete again down with additional ensuing irritation.

NA is in reality the one compound to readily produce NAADP if wanted in acidic environments (as is attribute to ensuing inflammatory illness pathology), which in flip gives a possible vitality/H+ pump-out motion of its inverse, downstream kinetic (warmth) vitality irritation to in the end restore NAD+ to regular, pre-inflammatory ranges, in addition to different inflammatorily-depleted cofactors and biochemical pathways in direction of a extra thermodynamically homeostatic well being standing …

The ‘niacin crimson flush’ in reality is that this thermodynamic exfoliation of ensuing illness, toxins, and (restoration of) free radical-damaged compounds being H+ (potential vitality) pumped out the physique.

It represents the anti-inflammatory or thermodynamic (i.e., vitality transfer-like) remedy in motion that solely and completely ample oral consumption of immediate-release NA is able to (readily) engaging in with efficiency.”

Beneficial Use

The paper19 goes deep into the biochemical elements of how niacin works in your physique, so when you’re focused on that, chances are you’ll wish to learn by way of it. In abstract, because it pertains to COVID-19, the essential factor to grasp is that there seems to be a causative hyperlink between low niacin standing and SARS-CoV-2 an infection.

In response to the authors, SARS-CoV-2’s means to invade your physique relies on whether or not calcium signaling can correctly proceed, which in flip relies on the presence of NAADP. And, as defined within the quoted part above, niacin varieties NAADP in your physique. NAADP-dependent calcium signaling is accountable each for the inhibition of viral entry into cells and driving the virus out of already contaminated cells.

And, once more, the authors stress that “nothing exterior of sufficiently, dynamically provided niacin is able to readily resulting in the NAADP provide wanted in these acidic environments for therapeutic motion that counteracts inflammatory illness development.”

In addition they level out that the flushing you get from niacin is a part of how the niacin drives inflammatory free radicals out of the cells. As you proceed to take the complement at a constant, sufficiently excessive dose, that flushing will progressively reduce, which is an indication that your physique is reaching a wholesome homeostasis.

“This represents maybe the perfect state that must be labored as much as and maintained thereafter — by way of niacin dosing — to respectively reverse out and stop irritation,” the authors state.20

Whereas the flushing will be uncomfortable, the authors stress that it’s “certainly secure,” and truly “must be sought when wanted for its anti-inflammatory properties.”

Urged Dosing

As a “well being restorative remedy” for these identified with SARS-CoV-2, they suggest beginning with a dose of 500 milligrams of immediate-release niacin, two to 3 occasions a day, ideally inside the first 48 hours of symptom onset. As your flush response lessens, enhance your dose to 1,000 mg, two to 3 occasions a day.21

“For the subgroup of sufferers nonetheless struggling with excessive cytokines profiles from deep, remnant harm of beforehand skilled SARS-CoV-2 an infection — termed the ‘long-haulers’ — alleviation from ailment(s) in direction of full well being restoration to pre-infection state from initiating and sustaining the aforementioned dosage routine has persistently been reported to imagine inside two days and to incrementally comply with additional over the course of weeks.”22

Though the authors recommend you need to use niacin prophylactically, utilizing that very same dose, I disagree. In response to the authors:23

“By readily offering ample NAADP, this identical NA dosage routine is able to serving as prophylaxis, which will be interpreted because the bodily/biochemical lack of ability of ample development of SARS-CoV-2 with a purpose to enter into the physique and/or thereafter induce replication, an infection onset, or illness development in a beforehand uninfected host.”

There could also be some worth to the excessive doses in acute COVID-19 infections however I’m skeptical. I’m an enormous fan of NAD+ augmentation and have been utilizing it for years. My analysis suggests you actually solely want about 25 mg per day of niacin, which won’t trigger flushing in practically anybody. I imagine most would profit from taking 25 mg of niacin each day, ideally in a well-balanced B advanced, which might have thiamine (B1) that has additionally been proven to be helpful in COVID-19.

Different options to high-dose niacin can be nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which is my private favourite. I imagine that compounding these into rectal suppositories would keep away from many of the methylation of the complement and provide you with greater NAD+ tissue ranges.

One other draw back of high-dose niacin is that it breaks right down to nicotinamide and in excessive doses, nicotinamide will inhibit Sirt1, which is a crucial longevity protein.

Personally, I imagine a superior technique to high-dose niacin in acute COVID-19 can be to make use of nebulized hydrogen peroxide at 0.1%. I’ve by no means seen or heard of this intervention failing within the therapy of COVID-19.

hydrogen peroxide dilution chart

How you can Enhance Your Vitamin B Standing

As a common rule, I like to recommend getting most if not your entire vitamin from actual meals. It will work effectively for many B nutritional vitamins, however not when you’re utilizing niacin therapeutically, as described above. For that, you will have to take a complement.

That mentioned, the listing beneath will present you which ones meals include which B nutritional vitamins, in addition to present common steering on dosage when you’re taking a complement. In case you’re making an attempt to enhance your vitamin B standing, additionally contemplate limiting sugar and consuming extra fermented meals.

The rationale for it is because your entire B group vitamin sequence is produced inside your intestine, assuming you could have wholesome intestine flora. Consuming actual meals, together with loads of leafy greens and fermented meals, will present your microbiome with essential fiber and useful micro organism to assist optimize your inner vitamin B manufacturing.

Nutrient Dietary Sources Complement Suggestions

Vitamin B1

Pork, fish, nuts and seeds, beans, inexperienced peas, brown rice, squash, asparagus and seafood.24

The really helpful each day allowance for B1 is 1.2 mg/day for males and 1.1 mg/day for ladies.25

Vitamin B2

Eggs, organ meats, lean meats, inexperienced greens reminiscent of asparagus, broccoli and spinach.26

The RDA is 1.1 mg for grownup girls and 1.3 mg for males.

Your physique can’t soak up greater than about 27 mg at a time, and a few multivitamins or B-complex dietary supplements could include unnecessarily excessive quantities.27

Vitamin B3

Liver, hen, veal, peanuts, chili powder, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes have among the highest quantities of niacin per gram.28

Different niacin-rich meals embrace baker’s yeast, paprika, espresso espresso, anchovies, spirulina, duck, shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce.29

The dietary reference consumption established by the Meals and Diet Board ranges from 14 to 18 mg per day for adults.

Larger quantities are really helpful relying in your situation. For an inventory of really helpful dosages, see the Mayo Clinic’s web site.30

The dosage really helpful as an anti-inflammatory, health-restorative remedy in “Adequate Niacin Provide: The Lacking Puzzle Piece to COVID-19 and Past?”31 is 500 mg two to 3 occasions a day, working your method as much as 1,000 mg, two to 3 occasions a day because the flushing lessens.

Vitamin B5

Beef, poultry, seafood, organ meats, eggs, milk, mushrooms, avocados, potatoes, broccoli, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chickpeas and brown rice.32

The RDA is 5 mg for adults over the age of 19.

Pantothenic acid in dietary dietary supplements is usually within the type of calcium pantothenate or pantethine.33

Vitamin B6

Turkey, beef, hen, wild-caught salmon, candy potatoes, potatoes, sunflower seeds, pistachios, avocado, spinach and banana.34,35

Dietary yeast is a superb supply of B nutritional vitamins, particularly B6.36

One serving (2 tablespoons) incorporates practically 10 mg of vitamin B6.

To not be confused with Brewer’s yeast or different energetic yeasts, dietary yeast is constructed from an organism grown on molasses, which is then harvested and dried to deactivate the yeast.

It has a nice tacky taste and will be added to a variety of completely different dishes.

Vitamin B9

Recent, uncooked, natural leafy inexperienced greens, particularly broccoli, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens, and all kinds of beans, particularly lentils, but additionally pinto beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, navy and black beans.37

Folic acid is an artificial sort of B vitamin utilized in dietary supplements; folate is the pure kind present in meals.

(Suppose: Folate comes from foliage, edible leafy vegetation.)

For folic acid to be of use, it should first be activated into its biologically energetic kind (L-5-MTHF).

Practically half the inhabitants has issue changing folic acid into the bioactive kind as a consequence of a genetic discount in enzyme exercise.

Because of this, when you take a B-vitamin complement, make sure that it incorporates pure folate reasonably than artificial folic acid.

Dietary yeast is a superb supply.38

Analysis39 additionally exhibits your dietary fiber consumption has an affect in your folate standing.

For every gram of fiber consumed, folate ranges elevated by practically 2%.

The researchers hypothesize that this enhance in folate stage is because of the truth that fiber nourishes micro organism that synthesize folate in your massive gut.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is discovered virtually completely in animal tissues, together with meals like beef and beef liver, lamb, snapper, venison, salmon, shrimp, scallops, poultry, eggs and dairy merchandise.

The few plant meals which can be sources of B12 are literally B12 analogs that block the uptake of true B12.

Dietary yeast is excessive in B12, and is extremely really helpful for vegetarians and vegans.

One serving (2 tablespoons) gives practically 8 mcg of pure vitamin B12.40

Sublingual (under-the-tongue) wonderful mist spray or vitamin B12 injections are additionally efficient, as they permit the big B12 molecule to be absorbed instantly into your bloodstream.

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