Compromised brain function is a health concern for millions around the world.  Nearly 18 million people worldwide have some form of dementia which is defined as the progressive deterioration of cognitive and intellectual function.  While dementia is primarily associated with the aging process, many millions more of all ages suffer from neurological malfunctions which lead to depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders and a variety of other ailments.  Some diseases associated with malfunction of brain and central nervous system tissue result from specific breakdown of such tissue. 

       Alzheimer’s disease is the leading form of dementia.  It is currently the fourth leading cause of death in America after heart disease, cancer and strokes.  With Alzheimer’s disease, a sticky protein, called beta-amyloid, forms a plaque that gets in between and inside brain cells and virtually chokes them to death.  This results in interrupted communication between neurons and actual damage to the neurons resulting in cognitive failure. The formation of beta-amyloid appears to result from the activity of a class of enzymes called secretases. Current research is focusing on producing drugs that will inhibit secretases.  Alzheimer’s disease primarily strikes the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain.  This disease results in increasing deterioration of cognition and memory. 

       Scientists are currently testing over 90 drugs to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.  Five drugs are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Four of these drugs, Reminyl, Exelon, Aricept and Cognex, act in different ways to delay the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that facilitates communication among nerve cells and is important for memory. Alzheimer's disease is associated with inadequate levels of this neurotransmitter.  Unfortunately, at least half of the people who take these drugs do not respond to them.


       Recent research conducted by Dr. Kim Green and a team of researchers at the University of California at Irvine used niacinamide in the treatment of mice having been specially bred to get Alzheimer’s.  This research produced encouraging results in restoring cognitive function.  Niacinamide is a buffered form of vitamin B-3 (niacin).  While the niacinamide didn't have any effect on reducing the beta-amyloid already formed, it did cause a 60 percent decrease in tau protein. Tau protein is found in neurons, primarily in the central nervous system. In 2002, a group of Northwestern University neuroscientists reported evidence showing that tau protein must be present to enable beta-amyloid to induce the degeneration of brain cells that occurs in Alzheimer’s disease.

       Niacinamide was also found to increase the number of microtubules which carry information inside brain cells. Microtubules are like highways inside cells. Niacinamide appears to make these “highways” wider and more stable.  In Alzheimer's disease, these highways break down. Niacinamide appears to prevent this from happening.

       The mice in this study, within four months of the beginning of treatment, showed remarkable recovery of cognitive function when being given niacinamide.  They performed as though they never had the disease.  Although there haven’t been any completed human studies to date (there are some studies in progress), the results of the animal research are strong enough to suggest niacinamide may provide the same result in humans. Results obtained in animal research have often been demonstrated to cross over to humans.  Niacinamide has been used extensively for many purposes for over 60 years, and has a record of being very safe. 

       Naturopathic doctor Jonathan V. Wright has had success in giving 1,000 milligrams three times a day to patients with Alzheimer’s for a total of 3000 milligrams per day.  This dosage is based on the experience of another doctor whose clinical work showed that spreading out the total amount was significantly more effective than using it all at once. This dosage is also the human equivalent of the amount given to the mice who recovered from the symptoms of Alzheimer's in the study mentioned above.

       When trying niacinamide, be sure it is niacinamide you take and not niacin. Niacin in high dosage will cause flushing of the skin and can be hard on the liver.  Niacinamide is very affordable and can be obtained in a variety of dosage amounts.  We carry several brands and dosages amounts of niacinamide at Milk ‘N Honey.