MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: How are nicotinamide and niacin different and how exactly can it help MS?

Date: Tue Jan 29 08:41:14 2008
Posted By: Gabriel Keith Harris, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 1200169571.Bc

Thanks for your question.

Nicotinamide is one form of the B-vitamin niacin, also know as vitamin B3.

Niacin is also found in a second form (nicotinic acid).

In terms of how any form of niacin might help prevent or help in any way with regard to multiple sclerosis, I am honestly not sure.

I searched the medline database, which contains most of the current information on health and disease. Here is the link, in case you want to check it out for yourself.

There I found one article from the 1950's that indicated that niacin had been used to treat multiple sclerosis, but since I do not speak Polish (the language in which the article was written) I could not find how effect the treatment might have been. I have included the reference below.

Your question clearly shows that there are many things we as scientist do not know, and many things that we will need to study in the future.

That's part of the fun of being a scientist, really.

Good Luck!

1. General vitamin reference c-center/otc-medicines/863.printerview.html

2. Nicotinic acid therapy of multiple sclerosis. Neurol Neurochir Psychiatr Pol. 1954 Mar-Apr;4(2):145-52. (article in Polish)

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