to b3 or not to b3

10Nov13

I’d say the answer is… NOT, for those of us dealing with chronic pain.

I was lecturing on alcohol use and abuse not too long ago to my health class. I found a great youtube video on hangovers, and how to deal with the effects. It specifically said to replenish B vitamins, but to avoid B3 (niacin), as it is a vasodilator–this means that it widens blood vessels, causing more blood to rush into areas that already hurt (say, your head), and creating more of a painful, pulsating sensation.

Which made me think: what’s one of the things I’ve been doing every night since my diagnosis? Headache or not, I’ve popped a multivitamin. I’ve been doing this because I’ve worried about my wimpy immune system. And guess what–the nights that I’ve had headaches, they pound even more! Not that the B3 is the only cause, but I’m sure it hasn’t helped.

Since I watched that video, I stopped with the multi. I eat plenty of produce to get my vitamin C to bolster my immune system, and I get B vitamins from the beans I eat almost daily, the dairy I have a few times a week, and the chicken I eat a few times a week. Low levels of niacin, from naturally occurring sources, don’t seem to cause the pain like that from supplements.

So, if you have chronic migraine or any sort of localized chronic pain, check the label for your multi–you may want to try and switch that up for a while. Give it a month or so before you really judge the results, but small changes can make a big difference.

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3 Responses to “to b3 or not to b3”

  1. What kind of Chronic Pain do you suffer from? I have COPD, so I have breathing problems.

    • Wow, so young to have COPD! Yikes… sorry to hear that.

      I think maybe some of my chronic pain stems from my MS, but I was also rear-ended really hard last year by someone who failed to notice stopped traffic. I try not to whine about it too much, because what’s that going to change? I was having daily headaches for a while, but found the right massage therapist and reached critical mass, in terms of number of massages, for my body, I guess… I don’t get headaches so often anymore. Which is a good thing, because while I try to stay positive, it’s tough to be cheerful when you’re in pain! 🙂

      Hang in there!

      • Wow, I am sorry about the collision. That is never a good thing. I am so proud of you for keeping positive. I am all about that. I know that God has a plan for me with COPD and I know he has a plan for you with MS. I love to exercise, and this actually helps me breath better and help keep my lungs clearer. I would love to support you daily, if you need the extra motivation. I am on Facebook also: http://www.Facebook.com/MichelleMacFarland
        Thank you again for sharing with me.


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