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 not trying to pitch you some over-hyped supplement. Instead, I’m talking about an incredible vitamin 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 supplements and bodybuilding work well together and what niacin does.
What is Niacin?
Before we get into whether or not niacin and weightlifting mix well, let’s take a quick look at niacin itself. Niacin is actually another name for vitamin B3. You might also hear about niacin referred to as nicotinic acid.
This water-soluble vitamin is in many types of foods. That’s why it’s often difficult for someone to experience a niacin deficiency.
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?
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 Bodybuilding and Niacin Supplements Make a Great Pair?
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 Are the Health Benefits of Niacin Supplementation?
I discussed how niacin can help improve your workout performance. However, it’s also important to discuss a few niacin benefits regarding how it might improve your overall health.
Lowering Your Cholesterol Levels
It’s important to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels throughout life. With that in mind, there is both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Fortunately, niacin lowers your LDL cholesterol which is the bad kind.
Nicotinic acid can also help lower triglycerides, which can also contribute to a heart attack and heart disease.
According to the FDA, niacin has also been shown to treat pellagra. This is a disease that is extremely rare.
Potentially Lowering Blood Pressure
Nicotinic acid can also help lower blood pressure in certain people with hypertension. When you improve your blood flow, it can contribute to lower overall blood pressure levels. Niacin helps convert carbohydrates into energy, which can also help regulate your blood pressure.
Everyone wants healthy skin. If that’s your goal, start taking niacin. Studies show that niacin can help prevent skin damage associated with sun exposure.
Improving Your Mental Health
So far, you learned a lot about how niacin can benefit everything from your digestive system to your red blood cells. However, you might not know that regular niacin can also benefit your mental health.
That’s because niacin can also improve cerebral blood flow. This improved flow can help people with conditions, including depression and anxiety.
Increasing the Release of Growth Hormone
Another one of the many proven benefits of niacin involves growth hormone. Our bodies naturally produce these types of hormones. However, not everyone releases enough growth hormone to aid in muscle growth.
New studies are finding that niacin supplements can help certain people with GH release.
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 as niacin-rich foods:
- Brown rice
- Red meats (ground beef, pork, etc)
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.
Are There Any Niacin Side Effects?
While niacin is great for muscle growth, you might experience certain side effects if you go overboard with niacin supplementation.
Here’s a quick look at what might happen if you experience side effects of too much niacin.
The Niacin Flush
If you begin taking niacin, something can happen that’s known as the “niacin flush.” Don’t worry, this is a common side effect of taking niacin. It’s not life-threatening.
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, a niacin flush will pass in about 15-30 minutes or soon after you start working out.
You can avoid this uncomfortable experience by lowering your daily dose of niacin.
Potential Liver Damage
Understandably, you want a healthy liver. If you’re taking an extreme amount of niacin, as in the kind available by prescription only can become dangerous if you’re also getting a lot of niacin from food other supplements.
If you take between 2,000 to over 6,000 milligrams of niacin a day for a long time, it can cause liver toxicity issues.
There you have it, now you know why niacin supplementation and bodybuilding work so well together.
Not Great to Take a Lot of With High Blood Pressure
Many people deal with high blood pressure. If you have this condition, it’s best to avoid taking large amounts of niacin. Therefore, someone with low blood pressure would only be dealing with a worsening problem by going overboard with niacin supplements.
The 3 Best Niacin Supplements of 2023
Supplemental niacin is available from many different companies in the supplement industry. Whether you have problems with human growth hormone or have another reason to need more niacin, check out these products.
Nature’s Bounty Flush-Free Niacin
As mentioned earlier, one of the drawbacks of taking too much vitamin B3 is experiencing a tingling sensation. Personally, I’m in the group that doesn’t mind the tingles. It at least lets me know that a vitamin B3 supplement is working.
However, I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to experience this tingly sensation. Fortunately, Nature’s Bounty offers a “flush-free” niacin that promises to not cause you to feel tingly.
If you want to improve your recovery time without the tingling effect of niacin, check out this product. This supplement contains 500 milligrams of niacin in each serving, including 400mg niacin of and 100mg of inositol hexanicotinate.
By trying this supplement, you should notice a beneficial effect that can help improve your athletic performance or niacin’s other benefits.
If you’re dealing with a growth hormone deficiency, Nutricost’s niacin product might be the product you need. This product notes that you’ll want to avoid consuming this supplement on an empty stomach as it can increase the niacin flush effect.
NOW Supplements Niacin
You can also experience a significant increase in your niacin levels with this supplement from NOW Supplements. If you haven’t heard of this company, it produces a wide range of vitamins and similar types of supplements.
To help users avoid niacin flushes, this supplement is available in a sustained release form. These sustained release capsules can also help spread out your dose instead of using high doses all at once.
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.