New Study: Vitamin B3 May Help Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration

New Study: Vitamin B3 May Help Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration

Making sure you get enough avocado, mushrooms, peanut butter, turkey or chicken means getting enough vitamin B3. Essential for breaking down carbohydrates into glucose for energy, vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) helps you maintain a strong liver and nervous system while supporting skin, hair and nail health. However, recent research reveals the potential for B3 to also help treat eye problems.

When studied in rodent models, the effects of vitamin B3 applied to several vision diseases shows good science on using this simple supplement for beneficial results. A new study has claimed that B3 prevents glaucoma in mice and previous studies show positive effects when used to prevent or treat macular degeneration and possibly cataracts.

Note: Taking too much vitamin B3 (niacin) can affect the liver and interact with certain medications so check with your doctor before using.

A Grand Effort

It is always impressive when the combined efforts of many talents work toward a common goal. This was the case of a study recently published in the journal Science (2/17/17) titled,

‘Vitamin B3 modulates mitochondrial vulnerability and prevents glaucoma in aged mice’

Work for this study was compiled by researchers from:

  • The Jackson Laboratory
  • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • University of North Carolina
  • Tufts University of Medicine
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute

This integrative research shows great promise for using an inexpensive, easily applied supplement to battle the irreversible vision loss associated with glaucoma and macular degeneration.

The study states,

“…vitamin B3 prevents eye degeneration in glaucoma-prone mice. Supplementing the diets of young mice with vitamin B3 averted early signs of glaucoma. Vitamin B3 also halted further glaucoma development in aged mice that already showed signs of the disease. Thus, healthy intake of vitamin B3 may protect eyesight.”

Easy H2O 

One challenge for patients suffering with health issues is to get them to take their medicine. Most don’t like pills, liquids and injections because they are pharmaceuticals with side effects. When a proper dosage protocol is determined, B3 can be added to water for an easy, no stress, no side effect delivery.

The Daily Mail reported on the Science study describing that researchers added B3 to the water of glaucoma prone mice stating that,

“Results revealed it kept their eyes healthier for longer and provided remarkable protection against glaucoma compared to those given plain water.”

Dr Pete Williams, study author, commented on the results,

“Because these (eye) cells are still healthy, and still metabolically robust, even when high pressure turns on, they better resist the damaging processes.”

B3 for AMD

Some vision conditions or diseases are the result of extra pressure causing damage to the various mechanics of the eye while others are the result of stilted circulation to the area and some are caused by both. Age-related macular degeneration showed positive blood flow results in response to a vitamin B3 application.

Pinnacle Health cites how this vitamin may also help AMD,

“Niacin may benefit the choroidal blood vessels, which underlie the region of the retina called the macula. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may result from disrupted blood flow in the choroidal vessels. Studies suggest that niacin may be used to treat AMD,”

Vitamin B3 dilates blood vessels which means it opens them up allowing more flow. Often used for temporary relief of high blood pressure, consumption of vitamin B3 may cause a person to go red in the face also known as ‘flush’.

If you think you may be a candidate for using vitamin B3 to help prevent glaucoma or macular degeneration talk to your doctor about setting up a possible protocol. Even though studies on humans are not complete, when regulated taking B3 as a dietary supplement probably can’t hurt.  As mentioned, vitamin B3 taken on your own could have negative health effects if the proper dosage isn’t applied so keep vigilant to your doctor’s recommendation. However, consuming more foods high in B3 may be just as good as supplementing without the possible side effects.