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4 Reasons to Choose Niacinamide over Niacin

4 Reasons to Swap Niacin for Niacinamide


For decades, longevity enthusiasts have explored various means to enhance health and extend life span, focusing particularly on boosting Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) levels. NAD is a crucial coenzyme found in all living cells, vital for energy metabolism and maintaining cellular health. The journey began with niacin (vitamin B3), moved to niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), and now includes more modern derivatives like Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN). Many biohackers use these compounds to elevate NAD levels, albeit with differing mechanisms and outcomes. With so many different options, you’re probably wondering which one is best. Niacinamide is my top choice and here’s why: 

  1. It’s safer

Doctors used to recommend high dose niacin to lower cholesterol levels; however, they found that their patients did not have a lower risk of heart attack or stroke. When your body processes high levels of niacin, it breaks it down into two metabolites called N1-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxamide (2PY) and N1-methyl-4-pyridone-3-carboxamide (4PY). 2PY and 4PY cause inflammation in the arteries, which can cause plaque buildup and an increased risk of cardiovascular events. You can avoid this by taking niacinamide instead.  

  1. You’ll avoid uncomfortable side effects

If you’ve ever taken niacin, you may have experienced a niacin flush. This is a side effect of taking higher doses of niacin resulting from blood capillary dilation. Some people describe it as uncomfortable burning and tingling. While it’s harmless, it’s annoying and very unpleasant. You might also get some questions from your colleagues about why your face is suddenly becoming beet red.  

  1. It’s more efficient

Niacinamide’s structure is closer to NAD than niacin’s, which means it has to go through less “steps” to become NAD, the compound you’re going for when it comes to longevity. 

  1. It’s cheap and accessible

Niacinamide is widely available and cost-effective. A 30-serving bottle of niacinamide may run you anywhere from 10-20 dollars. 

Going Further 

Compounds like Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) are emerging as the next generation in NAD boosting. These novel NAD+ precursors may offer benefits over niacin and niacinamide due to their unique properties and mechanisms in raising NAD levels. That said, they are a bit more expensive than niacinamide.  

NR and NMN increase NAD+ levels effectively, potentially offering benefits related to aging and metabolic health. These compounds are more recent discoveries in the field of longevity research and have garnered attention for their promising results in preclinical studies. 


The science behind increasing NAD levels in the human body is still evolving. We know that nicotinamide, NR, and NMN all increase NAD levels without the side effects and risks of taking niacin. Scientists believe each of these three NAD precursors feed into the NAD pool through unique pathways. That’s why it’s probably best to take all three if you can. 

As research continues to unfold, it’s clear that the quest for optimal NAD boosting strategies is far from over. However, the journey from niacin to niacinamide, and now to NR and NMN, highlights the progressive nature of this field. Each step brings us closer to understanding how to best harness the power of NAD for health and longevity. 

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