Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Niacin: The Depression Cure

Niacin (or vitamin B-3) has been a long-standing known cure for chronic depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, most of us have never heard of the potential emotional benefits to Niacin. Though the reason for secrecy surrounding vitamin therapy has a complicated and deep-rooted past, a simple explanation is that natural remedies are not supported by the U.S. medical field.

A Brief Niacin History

One of the most publicized cases of Niacin used as a cure for depression surrounded Bill Wilson (the founder of AA). Bill struggled with chronic depression much of his life, and after being introduced to psychiatrists Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer in the late fifties, he began participating in a study including the use of Niacin for depression.

Bill supported Niacin so strongly, that he attempted to introduce its use to the AA organization, but the idea was fully rejected by the fellowship. Bill published several articles, and detailed his experiences with depression and his cure, in the book, “Pass It On.”

Since the research in the fifties, various nutritionists (and very few enlightened doctors) have prescribed high doses of Niacin for chronic depression. Unfortunately, treatment of serious illnesses with vitamin therapy has become dangerous ground for most doctors to walk on. In fact, in the United States, it is against the law to prescribe nutrition or vitamins to treat cancer patients (promoting natural cures landed Juice Master, Jason Vale in prison).

The Myth That Vitamins Are Dangerous

OK, so this may not be completely a myth… In the “Annals of Emergency Medicine” there were 2 documented cases of serious reactions to high doses of Niacin. These patients had taken the Niacin to clear their system of Cocaine in order to pass drug tests. So how does this compare to conventional medicine? Over 783,936 people die EVERY YEAR from medical mistakes and approximately 100,000+ of those deaths are people taking prescription drugs as directed.

Treating Depression and Anxiety Naturally

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that depression and anxiety can actually be enhanced by poor diet and stress. Niacin itself should not be the first option to treatment if nutrition, exercise and stress are not being addressed. Simply improving your diet, exercising regularly and taking time to meditate or relax, could greatly improve problems with depression and anxiety.

It is also important to note that many prescription medications for emotional illness have their own side effects. Taking these drugs can actually enhance emotional distress, or have other adverse effects.

If depression and anxiety are severe enough however, you should probably seek out medical care from a doctor who is familiar with natural remedies and treatments. Niacin has not been known to cause death, but should be taken in carefully managed doses and supplemented with other vitamins (especially the other B vitamins).

Most doctors will prescribe Niacin in small frequent doses, and slowly increase these doses daily. Large amounts of Niacin will cause your skin to flush, but a slight niacin flush should end in about ten minutes or so and is considered normal. A doctor will most likely suggest that Niacin be taken after each meal in a small dose (such as 25 mg), and may increase that dose each day (such as 50mg at breakfast, then 25mg for lunch and dinner). These doses will not usually exceed 3,000 to 9,000 mg a day, and will be reduced if the patient’s skin continues to flush.

Niacin not only treats depression, but has also been shown to aid with sleeping problems, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and high cholesterol.

Choosing the Right Type of Niacin

Sufficient research has not been performed on the effectiveness of No-Flush and Flush-Free varieties of Niacin for depression, however research has shown that they have no impact on patients with high cholesterol. We suggest taking pure nicotinic acid (if you cannot find this at the grocer, try your local organic store or purchase it online).

Natural Sources of Niacin

Some foods Niacin can be found in, include almonds and seeds, wheat products, beans, rice bran, green leafy vegetables, carrots, turnips, celery, lean red meat, fish, organ meats (kidney, liver), prawns, and pork.


Annals of Emergency Medicine
Pass It on: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A. A. Message Reached the World by Alcoholics Anonymous
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition by Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno

Poem: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy By John le Carre,

"I knew what it was like…to be brought up by a man so oversized that your only resort as a child was to subterfuge and deceipt. And I knew how easily the anger and inwardness thus born could turn themselves into a love-hate relationship with the father images of society, and finally with society itself, so that the childish avenger becomes the adult predator."

Imago Relationship Therapy: Harville Hendrix, PhD

Imago Relationship Therapy is a form of marriage therapy founded by Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of Getting The Love You Want: A Guide For Couples, Keeping The Love You Find: A Personal Guide, and Giving The Love That Heals: A Guide For Parents.


IRT claims to integrate and extend western psychological systems, behavioral sciences, and spiritual disciplines into a theory of primary love relationships. Its basic premise is that:

We were born whole and complete.

We became wounded during the early nurturing and socialization stages of development by our primary caretakers (usually inadvertently).

We have a composite image of all the positive and negative traits of our primary caretakers deep in our unconscious mind. This is called the Imago. It is like a blueprint of the one we need to marry someday.

We marry someone who is an Imago match, that is, someone who matches up with the composite image of our primary caretakers. This is important because we marry for the purpose of healing and finishing the unfinished business of childhood. Since our parents are the ones who wounded us, it is only they who can heal us. Not them literally, but a primary love partner who matches their traits.

Romantic Love is the door to marriage and is nature's selection process that connects us with the right partner for our eventual healing and growth.

We move into the Power Struggle as soon as we make a commitment to this person. The Power Struggle is necessary, for embedded in a couple's frustrations lies the information for healing and growth.

The first two stages of marriage, "Romantic Love" and the "Power Struggle," are engaged in at an unconscious level. Our unconscious mind chooses our partner for the purpose of healing childhood wounds.

With conscious effort and dialogue, our Imago love partner is most compatible with us and able to help us to resolve unfinished issues of self-wholeness.

Practice of Imago Therapy

The goal of Imago Relationship Therapy is to align our conscious mind (which usually wants happiness and good feelings) with the agenda of the unconscious mind (which wants healing and growth). Thus, the goal of Imago Therapy is to assist clients in developing conscious, intimate, and committed relationships.

The core practice of Imago Therapy is the "Couple's Dialogue," in which a couple engages in a structured conversation, with or without an Imago Therapist.

The Couple's Dialogue consists of Mirroring (repeating) each statement, Summarization, Validation ("That makes sense because ...") and Empathy ("I imagine that makes you feel ..."). This enables each partner to extend himself or herself to understand the experience of the other as different from his or her own.
The process of trying to help one's partner to heal his or her childhood wounds ends up growing parts of one's own personality that need the most growth. This is largely due to the unconscious process of finding a partner that matches one's Imago. As partners help each other to heal, they are also helping themselves to grow, moving them both closer to becoming whole and complete again.