Let’s take a look at Niacin, aka vitamin B3, in the new product form called NiacinMax; which I suppose refers to the dosage we are getting?! Right off the bat, I’ll agree that the application of this product is unique. It’s a strip that melts on your tongue. The idea with this makes sense; supplements at high dosages which are taken consistently and long term usually cause problems in the digestive tract, with upset stomach, or liver and kidney damage.
In the case of niacin, when it is present in foods, it causes absolutely no obvious problems. Then again, it is present naturally in a lot of foods, and many manufactured foods also fortify with niacin.
What B3 / Niacin actual does
In the body, niacin is involved in a lot of cardiovascular functions, including helping to treat atherosclerosis (hardening of the linings of the arteries), and even helping to increase HDL cholesterol. Interestingly, a lot of doctors prescribe it to folks who have high cholesterol problems. The only issue with this is that requires a relatively high dose, and we know that can cause intestinal problems. I suppose being a melting strip means niacinmax has figured that one out!
Intent of this supplement
The supplement company has made a lot of incredible claims on their site, which is typical, all products want to appear as the best of the best. They claim that niacin is going to boost red blood cell delivery of oxygen, and increase HGH, which is a really tall order. There is some research suggesting that there could be a link, but its not a direct cause and effect. Niacin helps the cardiovascular system function smoother, and thus a secondary effect is the improvement of oxygen delivery, red blood cells, etc.
Another interesting thing is that some supplements provide these massive dosages, which end up doing more harm than good, but people think more is better and buy into it. In this case, niacinmax is proud to have a lower dosage of 75mg per serving. Like proteins and some other vitamins, any excess, unused B3 is excreted through the urine, so it does have to travel through the kidneys at some point. I’ll just point out that the FDA recommends between 14 and 17mg per day, and recommends people do not exceed 35mg per day.
I haven’t seen anything comparable on the market when it comes to cost, simply because there aren’t any other Niacin strips on the market! You can get a bottle of 90 niacin caplets at 500mg for around $15-$20 but they are classic vitamin B3, and need to be ingested.
You’re looking at between CAD $1-$1.67 per dose, depending on how much you want to purchase in one shot. The price is steep, but the product is unique, so I suspect it’ll get a lot of a attention.
I actually think it’s really neat that this company decided to try out a new take on a supplement, because they solved a real issue. People want to take more niacin because of its benefits, but it can cause stomach problems and diarrhea. Fix: find a formula of it that is safe and natural and doesn’t have to go through the intestines to be absorbed quickly.
The supplement is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women because it is a natural product. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are actually recommended slightly higher daily doses of niacin.
Overall, it comes down to being a vitamin which is found in food, and which already exists in tablet form as a supplement. For this, it costs a fair amount.
Overall, my impression of the product leaves me more curious than ever to give it a try, because it a different, possibly more effective take on a supplement we already knew we needed.
FD Bulsara, BSc
FD Bulsara is a kinesiologist based in Montreal, Canada. She is currently studying Osteopathy and trains for Olympic-weightlifting.