Nicotinamide as anti-inflammatory and workout recovery supplement

Nicotinamide is a potent inhibitor of proinflammatory cytokines

The present study investigates the modulating effects of nicotinamide on the cytokine response to endotoxin. In an in vitro model of endotoxaemia, human whole blood was stimulated for two hours with endotoxin at 1 ng/ml, achieving high levels of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNFα. When coincubating whole blood, endotoxin and the vitamin B3 derivative nicotinamide, all four cytokines measured were inhibited in a dose dependent manner. Inhibition was observed already at a nicotinamide concentration of 2 mmol/l. At a concentration of 40 mmol/l, the IL-1β, IL-6 and TNFα responses were reduced by more than 95% and the IL-8 levels reduced by 85%. Endotoxin stimulation activates poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP), a nuclear DNA repair enzyme. It has been hypothesized that the anti-inflammatory properties of nicotinamide are due to PARP inhibition. In the present study, the endotoxin induced PARP activation was dose dependently decreased with 4–40 mmol/l nicotinamide or 4–100 µmol/l 6(5H) phenanthridinone, a specific PARP inhibitor. 6(5H)phenanthridinone however, failed to inhibit the proinflammatory cytokines. Thus, the mechanism behind the cytokine inhibition in our model seems not to be due to PARP inhibition. In conclusion, the present study could not only confirm previous reports of a down-regulatory effect on TNFα, but demonstrates that nicotinamide is a potent modulator of several proinflammatory cytokines. These findings demonstrate that nicotinamide has a potent immunomodulatory effect in vitro, and may have great potential for treatment of human inflammatory disease.

Cytokines are small, cell-signaling proteins. It’s well-known that one of the effects of hard exercise, such as resistance training, is an increase in inflammatory cytokines. See, for example, here, in which the authors review the association of cytokines and exercise.

One problem with weight training as one gets older is recovery time, which get substantially longer as one ages. (I’m old.) Inflammatory cytokines rise precipitously in the days following a hard workout, then decline. The recovery period seems to be closely aligned with the rise and fall of cytokines. With that in mind, I decided to try supplementing with nicotinamide, 500 mg/d, to see if that would speed recovery time after a weight workout by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. By God, it seems to work. My recovery times have been cut to 2 days from 3, at least so far. We’ll see how it plays out.


Leave a Comment:

Wolf says February 14, 2013

Sounds very interesting. Keep us posted on how you get on with the nicotinamide self-experimentation.

Anonymous says February 15, 2013

Interesting, I will try it out. Do you wonder if the cytokines might play some needed roll though? Are you confident the B3 works to ‘do the cytokines job for them’?

kudzu bob says February 15, 2013

According to Linus Pauling’s How to Live Longer and Feel Better, research suggesting that vitamin B-3 is helpful for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis was conducted by Dr. William Kaufman in 1943. That was a long time ago. Are contemporary scientists merely repeating old work?

Incidentally, I seem to recall hearing that inflammation might be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent study involving our friend Mister Lab Rat raises the possibility that niacinamide also might be of help with that condition as well.

Mangan says February 15, 2013

Cytokines and subsequent inflammation are definitely needed, but an increasing background of inflammation is characteristic of aging. It’s even been called “inflammaging”. This is probably why younger people have a faster recovery from exercise, as well as the cause of many of the diseases of aging, including heart disease, cancer, dementia (Alzheimers), etc.

Niacin and nicotinamide appear to be quite non-toxic at doses under a few grams a day.

Also, it occurred to me after I wrote the post that niacin has been used for decades in treating schizophrenia; this treatment was developed by the late Dr. Abram Hoffer. Mental illnesses and brain diseases seem to have a high correlation with oxidative stress, which in turn is associated with inflammation. So I wonder whether the success that Hoffer had in this treatment may be due to the anti-inflammatory potential of niacin.

I don’t think contemporary scientists are repeating anything. The paper I referenced is about a decade old and is one of the few that discusses B3 and inflammation listed on PubMed. Unfortunately, the work of Hoffer and Kaufman is mostly either ignored or forgotten.

There was a cool paper that I recently posted on here that showed that B3 increases the killing power of neutrophils against pathogenic bacteria, notably Staph aureus. That could be incredibly useful.

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