Chill Out with This Natural Remedy for Anxiety

Research suggests niacinamide is pharmacologically similar to benzodiazepines, exhibiting similar muscle-relaxing and hypnotic effects.

natural remedy for anxiety

Several case reports and many clinical anecdotes show niacinamide can be used successfully as a natural remedy for anxiety – at least for some people.

© Joanne Zh |

Xanax and other anti-anxiety medications are among the most-prescribed drugs in the country, but a vitamin has gained attention as a natural remedy for anxiety.

Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, has been used since the 1950’s as a popular anti-diabetes nutrient. It has even been touted to fight acne and improve aging facial skin; however, it was not until recently that the vitamin gained attention for its ability to mellow anxiety.

Research on niacinamide

Several case reports and many clinical anecdotes show niacinamide can be used successfully as a natural remedy for anxiety – at least for some people. In these cases, niacinamide appears to have the same effects of benzodiazepines, a class of anti-anxiety drugs that include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. While these drugs are often effective, they are also widely abused and have gained a reputation for being powerfully addictive, often causing withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. One also builds a tolerance to these medications, so increasingly higher doses are needed for the same effect.

In a case report, Jonathon Prousky, chief naturopathic medical officer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, described the experience of a 34-year-old male who was able to slowly transition from Xanax after several years of use to niacinamide to manage his anxiety. By maintaining niaciniamide use after weaning off Xanax, he was able to successfully remain productive and anxiety-free.[1]

Similar to benzodiazepines

Research cited in the report suggests niacinamide is pharmacologically similar to benzodiazepines, exhibiting similar muscle-relaxing and hypnotic effects, although it does not act on receptor sites in the brain in the way benzodiazepines do. Researchers also concluded that niacinamide worked by influencing the turnover of the brain chemicals serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine and GABA in the areas of the brain thought to be unbalanced in anxiety.

Side effects

It’s noted that few people can tolerate more than 6 grams a day of niacinamide, with nausea being the chief complaint if the dose is too high. The optimal dose appears to be that just under the amount that causes nausea. In one patient, a very large dose (9 grams) caused liver toxicity. Niacinamide also causes flushing in some people when they first start taking it. The most commonly reported side effect, however, is sedation, which, for some people, is exactly what they’re looking for.

Consider the underlying causes of anxiety

It is important to note that while niacinamide may be a useful as a natural remedy for anxiety, it may not correct the underlying root cause of your condition.  Although anxiety can be tricky, sometimes the underlying root causes can be surprising. For instance, intolerances to gluten or other foods, blood sugar imbalances, cortisol imbalances, hormonal imbalances, and chronic inflammation are all factors that contribute to anxiety.

Will niacinamide work for you?

Like any natural healing strategy, niacin for anxiety will work effectively for some people, but not everyone. It may be worth a try if you suffer from anxiety because it has a safe track record without the issues of dependence and withdrawal that come with the benzodiazepines. Another bonus is that it is very inexpensive and widely available.

Be sure to also read these other articles on natural remedies for anxiety:

*Never start, discontinue or change the dose of a medication without speaking with your doctor. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can cause severe and even life-threatening issues; one should never stop taking them abruptly and without the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner.

[1] Niacinamide’s Potent role in Alleviating Anxiety with its Benzodiazepine-like Properties: A Case Report. Jonathon Prousky. Orthomolecular Health. 10/28/2008.

Originally published in 2012 and updated.

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  • Based on the reading I’ve done about it, it’s very safe so you’re not at risk of overdosing within reason (stay under 6 grams a day to be safe). Too high of a dose may make you nauseous and some material says to dose just up to that point for maximum effect. In the case study the subject ended up taking 1000 mg in the morning, 500 mg in the afternoon, and 1000 mg at night.

  • It’s been 3 days for me. I take 1500 in 3 doses spread out throughout my day and I noticed today that my hands have stopped sweating and I haven’t been upset or in a state of panic. I’ve been hospitalized before because my husband thought I was having a food allergy reaction. I was hyperventilating so bad my throat sounded like it was whistling. It really works for me. I hope this helps someone else.

  • I was on 1 mg. of clonipin for over a year and am currently using niacin, gabba and vitamin c to help me reduce dose of clonipin. I think it may be helping but time will tell. Good luck to all who suffer with anxiety. It’s so horrible.

  • Niacin low dose helped my teen and I think I’m going to recommend it for others in my family as many have anxiety. Psychiatric meds proved not helpful at all. If anything detrimental. Highly recommend testing for MTHFR and also methy form of 12 as well as Folate ( not folic acid)…Why not start there instead of crazy pharmaceuticals.

  • LTheanine is also good for anxiety and depression.
    Natures Bounty has a formula with Ashwagandha and LTheanine for stress and anxiety.

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