The Niacin Treatment for improved capillary circulation ★
Cold hands, cold feet? When out in the wild, in the cold, some people have trouble keeping their hands and feet warm and functional, and some people don’t. The Niacin treatment is a way to improve your peripheral circulation and maximize the control your body has over this important function. I know of no scientific backing for this treatment, but it has worked for me and several other people, and was explained to me in a way that makes sense… (though it may just be good B.S.). My own experience is that 25 years after doing this treatment, I still have distinctly better hand and foot circulation than my peers. My hands maintain function and hurt less than the hands of other people, when doing cold canyons in the winter. I have done a few weeks of touchup every five years, just for fun. This treatment is NOT recommended for people with compromised circulation systems – aka, if you have heart or stroke problems, don’t do this!
Niacin is a very basic vitamin, and extremely cheap to produce. Thanks to the Mega-Vitamin fad, it can be difficult to get small dose pills. The 100mg pills I have used are 5 times the RDA. You might also find Niacinamide, which is the same thing (essentially).
Niacin acts as a vaso-dilator. Taking a dose of niacin on an empty stomach will cause a niacin flush – a hard flush of the capillaries that will turn your face, head and hands red, and is somewhat painful, though it fades after about 15 minutes. This is not part of the Niacin Treatment, but is a fair test of where your capillary control is at.
The TREATMENT is to take a dose of niacin just below the flush level for many days in row. Three to six months. This sub-hard-flush level exercises the small blood vessels and arteries that control flow through the capillaries, whipping them ‘back into shape’, so they are flexible and responsive to the body’s control system. There is some talk about little bits of crap getting flushed out of them, too.
100mg Niacin tablets
All stages of the treatment MUST be done on a fully empty stomach. As in, first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking, and give it 15 minutes before slurping your first cup of coffee.
First, do a test, to figure out what is your “flush dose”. Start one morning with 100mg and see how that works. If you don’t get a hard flush, try again the next morning with 200mg. To quote one of our ‘favorite’ actresses, “Oh, you’ll know it when you flush!”.
Next, do the treatment. Back off from your flush dose by 1/3 and take this, on an empty stomach, every morning for three months. Not real important to get EVERY day. I find my body reacts differently on different days, for no apparent reason. Perhaps hydration matters, perhaps… something else. Don’t sweat it. If you start getting a consistent flush, reduce the dose. I ended up going to 50 mg, by biting the pills in half (and throwing away the smallest half).Did I mention that Niacin is cheap?
Finally – you can do another test. Not sure what this proves. Enjoy your improved circulation.
Tom is the progenitor of Tom's Utah Canyoneering Guide, Utah's premier canyoneering information resource, and Imlay Canyon Gear, America's #1 maker of canyoneering-specific gear. If he's not canyoneering, he's probably snuggled up with a good book.
Posted on Jan 31st, 2015