Niacin (vitamin B3) is a vitamin that occurs naturally in many foods and is also added to many processed foods. It is commonly found in many over the counter vitamins.
One of the many uses for niacin is to balance cholesterol levels (decrease LDL, increase HDL and reduce triglycerides).
In addition to altering cholesterol levels, niacin has been reported to be used in the treatment of migraines, both as abortive and preventive measures.
A paper written by Jonathan Prousky and Dugald Seely reports that controlled clinical trials of niacin (both orally and intravenously)have not been performed, but that the potential therapuetic effects of niacin in the treatment of migraines warrants more studies.
If niacin does prove to provide relief for migraine attacks, then this offers migraine sufferers a non-drug (and potentially safer) option in the treatment of migraines. This does not mean that there are no side effects in the use of niacin, but that the side effects may be far less severe or dangerous than many other available medications.
As we analyze the use of niacin in the treatment of migraines we still have to recognize that this is not a means to restore proper nervous system function, rather an attempt to to alter nervous system function so that the symptoms of migraines are less severe.
Being classified as a disorder of the nervous system, migraines are caused by an abnormally functioning nervous system. The introduction of high doses of niacin and reported relief of migraine attacks further suggests that there is a functional abnormality within the physiology of the migraine sufferer.
Niacin may merely act as a means to help patch a problem with the physiology of the human body.