How Megadosing On Vitamin B3/Niacin Saved My Life

It’s time for people to stop being afraid of being stigmatized and start having a real conversation about mental illness. This article is the first step for me.


To say that the last year of my life has been the most challenging year ever would be a drastic understatement. There was 3 months where every single day I wanted to end my life. I constantly fantasized about suicide, I would have done anything to ease the pain. It started like most tragic stories start, with a girl.

Her name was Elise and I was madly in love with her. The courtship lasted a year and it was the most intense set of experiences I’ve had in my life. We were like two reactive chemicals, when we were together something unpredictable would always happen. The energy was insane in every way, and there was no boundaries, nothing was off-limits. Like most passionate romances, after a year it came to an equally spectacular ending. For a month after we separated I was elated, then I unwisely spent time with her again and the turmoil began. Half of me knew I could never have anything remotely functional with this woman, the other half was completely convinced that I could somehow make it work. I became a man at war with myself.

Each day was a downward spiral, my grip on reality started slipping further and further from my reach. It wasn’t uncommon for me to take 4 or 5 hours just to get out of bed. There was no joy in anything that I used to do. Even when I would kiteboard, I would end up crying hysterically. Everything became a pointless distraction. I had no direction, felt no control and nothing seemed to matter anymore. For 3 months I constantly wanted to end my life every single day. The only thing that got me through the day was the hope that the next day would be better. It never was, and I was giving up hope. There seemed like there was no way out.

Things got frighteningly bad. For a week I started shaking uncontrollably, I couldn’t walk, and brushing my teeth became impossible. I was so afraid and felt like there was no one I could turn to. Then the voices started. There had always been a kind gentle voice in my head that quietly told me what I needed to do to be satisfied. Suddenly the little voice got very, very loud. It kept telling me to do things that were absolutely out of character. It kept repeating “Just end it now, end it NOW”.

After 3 months of hell, something happened and I started to pray. I had never believed in a god, I was praying to something inside of me. I prayed to the part of me that honestly believed that things could be better. I wasn’t present for my son or anyone else in my life. My closest friendships had self-destructed under the stress of my mental illness and my relationship with my child’s mother was far more stressed than it had ever been. I was desperate to heal myself.

Somehow the praying changed something in me. Subconsciously I think I knew a lot of the problems I was experiencing but consciously I was without a clue. On a whim I bought a blood sugar meter and started testing my own blood sugar. For 6 years I had used a gallon of OJ a day to regulate my blood sugar whenever I was hypoglycemic. It turns out I had developed Reactive Hypoglycemia and my pancreas was producing far more insulin than it needed to. On top of that I had also developed something called Adrenergic Postprandial Syndrome. This meant when my blood sugar would spike and I would produce way too much insulin causing it to drop very quickly. My body would freak out thinking my brain was going to get starved for sugar and an adrenaline surge would start. This surge of adrenaline would cause the liver to start burning Glycogen which would regulate my blood sugar again. These constant Adrenal reactions were taxing the entire system and causing me to act like a speed junkie. I was spiraling out of control so I decided to cut all sugar and starches out of my diet.

In the span of the next 3 months I spent almost $5000 on doctors and tests to figure out what was happening with me. This was a leap of faith, as I hadn’t been able to work for almost 4 months and I knew that it would be several more months before I could work again. It turns out my Adrenal Glands were massively overactive and producing about twice the amount of Cortisol that they should have been. On top of that I found out I was also Gluten intolerant. I switched to a diet of mostly beans and squash and started feeling much better. For about a month I was fine, then I saw Elise again and started spiraling out of control again. I tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as EMDR and both helped a little but not as much as acupuncture. When I did acupuncture I would cry the entire hour or two I was in the chair, but I would get one or two days of relief. I started to do acupuncture two or three times a week.

In my prayers the reassurance I constantly received from myself was the message that if I believed that my body could heal itself. A big part of this healing was through dance. I danced 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes for over 15 hours a week. I danced like a man possessed by demons, I danced like a monster, I danced like a god. I danced because I believed that my body needed to move to heal. I danced because it really helped.

The entire time I was trying to heal myself I was reading constantly. I read over 50 books on depression and mental illness. I can’t convey how strange it was to be so sick and to be working so hard just to comprehend what was happening in my own mind. After 8 months of struggle I finally stumbled on the solution.

A few sentences in an obscure book on Depression talked about experiments that were done in the 50’s in mental wards all over America where patients with extreme depression and schizophrenia were given regular megadoses of Niacin (B3) and Vitamin C. They had found amazing results by giving doses of 3000mg of Niacin which is about 12,000% USRDA.

I took 500mg which is about 2000% the USRDA and went to bed after the flushing. When Niacin flushes the blood vessels constrict, your skin turns bright red and it feels like a bad sunburn for 10 minutes to an hour. It was uncomfortable, but at this point I would have tried anything to make things better. I remember clearly waking up in the middle of the night to take a piss and feeling completely normal. I was floored, it was as if my life was a dream and I had suddenly woken up. I went back to bed and woke up the next morning and everything seemed fine. I was still thinking about Elise constantly but there wasn’t a desperation about it anymore, the sense of overwhelming hopelessness was gone.

I ended up buying about $50 worth of Flush-free Niacin which was enough to last 4 months at 3000mg/day. Over the next several months I would fluctuate my dosage between 2000-3000mg a day depending on my mental state. I also took 9000mg of vitamin C daily as well. If I forgot to take the Niacin for a day I knew it, the darkness would start creeping in again. In time the voices in my head became silent and I learned to trust my instincts again. When I saw Elise in the supermarket or on the street I would tell her how much I missed her and how much I loved her, but I wouldn’t spiral out of control for several weeks.

Niacin saved my life, and I don’t understand why the public is unaware that a simple vitamin might  help severe mental illnesses. The only conclusion I can come to is that there is no money to be made from selling a vitamin that costs only $10 a month to mega-dose on. When 1/2 of the undergrads at Cornell University are taking some form of medication for depression, that medication represents a HUGE amount of money. If you suffer from severe depression or schizophrenia you should know that there is a chance that your condition might be corrected by a simple vitamin.

What have you got to lose? You might gain a little bit your sanity back. I did.

Update 10/28/2013: I’ve been off Niacin for almost 6 months now. I slowly cut back and when things got bad I would just take more again. The voices stopped, the depression stopped. My brother passed away and I could deal with it. I saw my ex girlfriend and instead of spiraling out of control I was just fine. I am thankful for that short passage I found in that book on depression that talked about those Niacin studies in the 50’s. It really saved my life.


29 thoughts on “How Megadosing On Vitamin B3/Niacin Saved My Life

  1. God bless you my friend. Turning to God from being a complete Atheist has helped my schizotypal disorder substantially. It’s helping me to get out and face my fears for once, and to be less ashamed. I am dosing on Omega 3’s, Niacin, multi vitamins, Vit c, Selenium, Magnesium, Biotin, green concentrates, Zinc, and Vitamin A and feeling quite well. Exercising is key I can’t tell you enough. God bless though don’t forget to pray to God and talk to him daily and stay away from sin.


  2. That is great how you found this cure yourself and you are not caught up in the psychiatric system of treating “mental illness” with drugs. I wonder how you avoided that. And also, very interesting article.

  3. Get no-flush niacin and it is extremely difficult to overdose on vitamins. That being said I’m now off the Niacin and doing well. Taking a lot of Niacin releases toxins in your cells and can overload your liver if you take too much for too long.

  4. My life is amazing. I am celebrating my one year anniversary to an amazing woman and I have been very happy and well adjusted for a long time. Occasionally I get really sad for a day or two and I take only 500mg of Niacin and exercise for about 5-6 hours and all is right in the world again.

    I never thought I could feel so good. My life is like a dream I keep trying to wake up from.

  5. Beutiful story Karl! 🙂 So nice to hear your doeing good now!

    I myself, my mother and my brother want to try this because they also suffer from depresion.
    I Myself have allittlebit of psychosis and i want to use it for fitness. When did you take the Vitamins?
    All together or spread over the day?
    And are these ones good?

    I have tried these 2 but only 1 a day what would you reccommend me (70kilo 17years)
    And my brother and morher are (100kilo’s)

    So how much vitamins should we take? and all together, or spread over the day?

    P.S sorry for my really bad english 🙂


    1. I don’t know what brands are best, I bought the cheapest no-flush niacin I could get at Walmart, 500mg tablets. As for vitamins again I can’t say, I feel like Niacin and fish oil had the biggest effect on me. Vitamins never did that much for me.

      Best of luck, I hope you can find some relief.

  6. Dr Abram Hoffer was using Niacin to cure Schitzophrenia years ago. I believe there’s still a particular video of a conference with various former patients speaking of how Hoffer along with Niacin had cured them. . .

    One nurse spoke of her son who had tried every drug known, and seen many MD’s, and nothing helped until a colleague suggested Niacin, due to hearing Hoffer speak of it. The next morning, her son was “normal” after taking a entire bottle of Niacin.

    As Hoffer said, different people need diferent doses, but there are no known side effects other than Flushing (which is good for you). Google him, and get the info for yourself.

    Hoffer was a legend, who just passed away a few years ago ( . .He and Linus Pauling were friends and colleagues and both used Supplements to help 1000’s pf people.

    PS Hoffer was a was a Canadian biochemist, physician, and psychiatrist. Hoffer was hired by the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health in 1950 to establish a provincial research program in psychiatry. . .In other words, he was no quack as some anti nutrition morons will suggest.

  7. “Half of me knew I could never have anything remotely functional with this woman, the other half was completely convinced that I could somehow make it work. I became a man at war with myself.” Eloquently formulated. Seems your situation mirrored mine. Was the longest affair I’ve ever had, off and on though it was.
    I’ve never felt I was too far out of control, however, perhaps I should experiment with higher doses of niacin to see what happens to me

  8. Thanks for the info. I think niacin might be helpful for my dearest friend who is more like a big sister. She has suffered from depression for many years, and most drugs either don’t do much good or make her worse, and most of them cause horrible side effects in the process. I do my best for her, along with her other best friend who is also very dear to me, but it’s not enough anymore. I am hopeful that I can gently convince her to give this a try, knowing that it can’t possibly hurt her and may be the breakthrough we need.

  9. Madeleine Car

    Hi Karl, I’m so happy that you’re doing well. Thank you for sharing your story!!
    I’m just wondering – did you take the vitamin c in separate doses or one large one? If you took it in separate doses, how much did you take for each dose? I would really appreciate your response.
    – Madeleine

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  11. rcmrm

    Why don’t you put your story into book form? You could help a lot of people. I’ll edit it for you. I read Hoffer’s book on niacin. He also tells the story of spontaneous remissions from high dose niacin and had at minimum an 80% cure rate. Merry Christmas. RM

      1. rcmrm

        I don’t want to plaster my email on the internet, if there’s a way for me to contact you direct or you to contact me direct and you decide to proceed contact me.

  12. You wrote: “When Niacin flushes the blood vessels constrict, your skin turns bright red and it feels like a bad sunburn for 10 minutes to an hour. ”

    Uh, no. Niacin causes blood vessels to DILATE, that’s why your skin turns red. Why in the world would it turn red if your blood vessels constricted?

    Doesn’t. Make. Sense.

  13. gardenabbess

    Karl, congratulations. When I was in my twenties, I had a bout of mononucleosis. It triggered fierce headaches, totally disrupted my thoughts. After six years of psychiatric help, I tried niacin, and yes, it helped me. But I went further, and got tested for food allergies, of which I had plenty. As my allergist proved I was allergic to cereal grains, I went gluten free, and have been so for almost 40 years. But the niacin was my first clue. As I aged, symptoms came out. In my mid 60’s, I discovered that my thyroid was sensitive to the kale and cole crops. A few years later, it happened that I was diagnosed with pancreatitis. I reversed it by doubling down on cutting forms of sulfur in my diet..thiocyanates and sulfites. My thinking is that it is an inborn error of sulfur metabolism. Nonetheless, Dr. Hoffer was a GREAT thinker of his time, and correct, having the information that he had then.

  14. Iulia Iulia

    I have a weird theory on what might happen in cases similar with yours. This was a contextual psychosis and you must understand what triggered it. And here comes my theory. You believe that you fell in love with that girl because you lived the experience, but what if the euphoria and high that you lived for for a year were over the top because it was not really you who fell in love? It might have been a character in your mind that functions as your benevolent god, the source of that voice. Based on a person who lived, a grand (grad)parent most likely. For such a “chemistry” you need something dis-embodied, a pure mental representation. When you broke up with that girl, you pissed off your own god, who believed itself “alive” because something with that girl triggered something coded in that character. Think of it like lines of code in a program that match. When mental characters believe themselves alive in our mind they tend to “cause” an adrenal reaction cause they feed on adenochrome, and they need it. That also happens to be the basis for the perpetuation of occult rituals and sacrifices into modern times. It’s the same idea…idolizing dead characters as alive and a subsequent need for adrenaline by doing taboo acts.

    What niacin does is to cut the adrenochrome production and consequently puts your mental character back in line playing a supportive role, not taking over your whole mental space as . I believe psychosis is dis-embodied cognition activated by a mental character taking our mind space, the effect being what we call quantum computing. An alternative way of processing information. It feels weird and it alters our perception, thinking and functioning cause we normally use embodied cognition, based on interaction with physical space and our being in body experiences.

    The morale of the story is for you in the future to avoid such chemical attractions that are based on interactions between mental characters in people’s minds, not the people themselves. No wander you were not compatible. The over the top chemistry and high was the signal to get back from a false situation. But we have devolved to decode backwards our emotional signaling and to enjoy the rush of emotion, the higher the better, not to take the warning.

    These are my own insights, and in all modesty, it will take a lot of time until people will get it, so we’d better not wait out for the rest.

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