Nicotinic acid (also: niacin) is a vitamin from the B-complex. Vitamin B3 is found in all living cells and is stored in the liver. It is an important building block of various coenzymes (auxiliary enzymes, so to say), without which the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates would not run smoothly. It participates in the citrate cycle and the respiratory chain. It is important for the regeneration of skin, muscles, nerves and DNA.
Symptoms of vitamin B3 deficiency may include
- Loss of appetite
- concentration and sleep disorders
- skin changes, inflamed, scaly, rough skin
- inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract
- Disease: pellagra (can lead to dementia, among other things)
In the 50’s and 60’s there was a lot of research on niacin, also on its good effect on alcoholics. Unfortunately, these results have been forgotten. However, even today you can read in the standard textbooks that alcoholics often lack this vitamin.
William Wilson is the most famous drunkard in the history of the world. Better known as “Bill W.,” he founded Alcoholics Anonymous with a fellow sufferer. One would think that he would have led a happy life from then on. Far from it. He suffered terribly even when dry.
“Bill was not well, even though he had been sober for so many years. He suffered from enormous anxiety, insomnia, tension and fatigue,” recalls Canadian physician Dr. Abram Hoffer. The physician was already treating alcoholics with nutrients. In 1958, Bill W. also joined the group. Hoffer recalls, “After he started taking niacin, his symptoms disappeared and they didn’t come back. He was determined to get the benefit of this vitamin to as many AA members as possible. Without telling me, he tried it on 30 friends and colleagues.
With Hoffer’s support, Bill W. enthusiastically wrote his work, “The Vitamin B3 Therapy.” Bill W. desperately wanted nutrients to become an integral part of alcohol therapy. He presented his ideas at three medical conferences – and met with massive rejection.
In the 1970s, American physician and researcher Russel F. Smith found confirmation of what had made Bill W. a niacin fan: the vitamin eliminated so-called “dry drunk syndrome” in almost all cases.
In 1981, Japanese pathologists published a study of 20 deceased alcoholics – all of whom had had pellagra, the fully developed niacin deficiency disease. And no one had noticed it before they died.
More information in the book “Bye bye booze!“