Niacin and Bodybuilding: A Dream Pair for Looking Great in the Gym

To get in better shape and feel great, many people love lifting weights. If you’re a weightlifter (or even if you prefer cardio), there’s an ingredient you’ll want to learn more about. No, I’m trying to pitch you some over-hyped supplement.

Instead, this is an ingredient known as niacin.

You can find niacin in foods, energy drinks, and supplements. But, what makes it worth using. We’re about to take a closer look at niacin.

By reading this, you’ll learn about why niacin and bodybuilding work well together and what niacin does.

What is Niacin?

Before we get into whether or not niacin and bodybuilding mix well, let’s take a quick look at niacin itself. Niacin is actually another name for vitamin B3. This water-soluble vitamin is in certain types of foods.

It’s also possible to find niacin available as a supplement. Niacin supplementation is great for people who can’t get enough of this ingredient from foods and beverages.

What Makes Niacin a Beneficial Ingredient or Supplement?

One of the main benefits of niacin is that it can help improve cardiovascular performance. This means improving how you breathe or increasing your endurance. While it might sound like hype, the research I did for this article actually surprised me.

As it turns out, medical professionals have been giving niacin to patients for the past 40 years! Niacin is widely used in the medical community to treat cardiovascular conditions.

Another study found that niacin supplement can help slow cognitive decline and promote overall good brain health. Whether you’re 20 or 70, it’s always important to focus on having a healthy brain. Your mind plays much more of a role in your workouts than you might think.

Why Do Niacin and Bodybuilding Make Such a Great Pair?

niacin and bodybuilding

You might be here because you’ve heard about niacin for working out and want to find out more.

Traditionally, niacin can help you have healthier skin, eyes, and other organs. It can even help improve your nervous system. But, we’re looking at why bodybuilders and weightlifters love niacin so much.

One of the main reasons why weightlifters love this ingredient is because niacin increases vascularity. There have been many studies that link niacin to increased vascularity, especially those who engage in physical activities like weightlifting.

Another benefit of niacin for working out is that it can help increase growth hormone production. You might be unaware, but your body produces a certain amount of natural human growth hormone (HGH). While this might sound a little scary, the amount of potential HGH you would release with more niacin wouldn’t be anything to remotely be a cause for concern.

Oh, and there was also a recent study showing that niacin supplementation improves muscle performance. This is one reason why you’ll find niacin as a key ingredient in certain bulking stacks.

And, if you’re lifting weights, you want as much HGH naturally flowing around as possible. Fortunately, niacin use before working out can help ensure this happens and you benefit from it.

What Does Niacin Do in a Pre Workout Supplement?

When a bodybuilder uses a supplement that contains niacin, it can increase vascularity. This is a term for having more pronounced veins. For some people, it’s understandably scary to think about veins looking like they’re going to pop out of their skin. However, in the world of professional bodybuilding, this is a quality that judges look for.

Another reason niacin works so well in supplements is because it can help to increase your endurance. As your veins are getting a certain look, they’re also able to absorb more nutrients. As we mentioned earlier, niacin has a documented history of helping to improve cardiovascular performance.

If you don’t want to take a supplement, there are many other ways to increase your niacin intake.

Should I Get Niacin From Foods or Supplements?


As mentioned earlier, you can get niacin from a lot of sources. Your two main options for getting more niacin are through certain foods or supplements.

When it comes to getting niacin from food, you have lots of choices. A few notable foods that are rich in niacin include pork, turkey, and other lean meats. These foods are also great for packing on muscle. You can also get niacin from cereals and mushrooms.

Research from Harvard lists the following foods as good natural sources of niacin:

  • Brown rice
  • Nuts
  • Bananas
  • Red meats (ground beef, pork, etc)
  • Fish
  • Chicken

What’s good about getting niacin from food is that you don’t need to purchase any extra supplements. The unfortunate drawback of doing this is that you might need to eat quite a bit to meet your daily niacin requirements.

If you’re short on money, which is totally understandable, check out this guide I recently put together on how to get free supplements.

Tips for Using Niacin Supplements

If you begin taking niacin, something can happen that’s known as the “niacin flush.” Don’t worry, this is a common niacin side effect that happens if you use too much. Common symptoms of a niacin flush include feeling a tingling sensation that typically starts around your head and neck area, reddening of the skin, and feeling a bit warmer than normal.

The niacin flush is your body’s process of flushing excess niacin out of your body. It’s something that many people go through, especially if they use a lot of pre-workout supplements. Normally, niacin flushes pass in about 15-30 minutes or soon after you start working out.

I first experienced that sensation when I first started trying pre-workout supplements in my early 20s. Now, I would have researched this supplement or ingredient to expect that feeling before it happened. But this was during a younger time in my life where I wasn’t as wise as I am now.

There you have it, now you know why niacin and bodybuilding work so well together. If you’re new to working out, consider checking out my recent post about which supplements are best for new lifters! Also, make sure to check out the homepage where I’ve got all of my latest fitness-related content.