Confusion About Niacinamide
Last updated: July 2021
My dermatologist said to take 500 milligrams of niacinamide, twice a day, because studies show that this form of Vitamin B3 cuts down the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, such as the squamous cell carcinomas to which I am prone. Getting the right products can be a little confusing, especially when there are different types of Niacinamide.
Types of Niacinamide
First of all, she said, don’t make the mistake of buying niacin, because it is not the same thing, and niacin can cause flushing. That was easy to understand, but when I went shopping and looked up some studies, I saw that niacinamide and nicotinamide were used interchangeably. She said not to worry, they are the same thing.
More confusion about Niacinamide and skin cancer
Then something ELSE confusing popped up. It was a product called Tru Niagen that makes itself sound like the fountain of youth. This kind of thing makes me suspicious. I first got niacinamide for my skin cancer at my local Whole Foods. When I ran out, I checked it out on Amazon, and there are so many manufacturers I wasn’t sure which one to get.
I settled on one, and then below it I saw a bottle of Tru Niagen and this line: Sponsored products related to Nutricost Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) 500mg, 240 Capsules… (What's this?) Clicking on “what’s this” takes you here: “Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold on Amazon. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. The full name of the sponsored product is TRU NIAGEN Nicotinamide Riboside - Patented NAD Booster for Cellular Repair and Energy.”
So what is a NAD, and what is a NAD booster?
You’ve probably been wondering, right? That’s a joke. You probably have NOT been wondering. Well, here you go, anyway. The product description boasts: "ELEVATE YOUR BODY’S NAD: NAD is a vital cellular resource which helps fuel many of the body’s essential functions. But our NAD levels decline over time and under metabolic stress, leaving our cells with a dwindling supply. Tru Niagen replenishes your body’s NAD, every time you take it.”
They don't make it easy. Every time you look something up, you have to look up a word in the definition. OK, so, drumroll...NAD stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide.
According to my research, Niagen is a supplement that has Nicotinamide Riboside, which is a different types of Niacinamide/Vitamin B3. This type of Niacinamide (for skin cancer) supposedly raises NAD levels, which I guess can provide minor benefits. They claim that it can change how we age, but no evidence has proven it yet.
There are side effects of Niacinamide for skin cancer
Other problems seem to be reported side effects and a higher cost. I started to do a price comparison with niacinamide but stopped because with discounts, the prices are all over the place. I asked my dermatologist. She said it was all the same and added that she wondered how long it would take for someone to try to make a buck off this. Enough said. I decided not to buy it and am sticking with niacinamide.
Many companies make niacinamide. I have used a few brands; the bottle I have now is Nutricost Niacinamide. It adds more pills to my daily dosage, but if Niacinamide cuts down on skin cancers, it’s worth it to me.
Do you sunscreen in the fall?