by John P. Cleary, M.D.

Vitamin B3 occurs in two forms, nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. They were first isolated from liver in 1937 by Conrad El-vehjem and shown to be what was then called the PP factor or pellagra preventative factor. The name was later changed to vitamin B3, commonly called niacin for the nicotinic acid form and niacinamide for the amide form. Soon after, a synopsis of the early research on the compound was published in 1941 by the Merck Company. The coenzymes NAD and NADP which niacin makes are essential for many enzyme reactions in the energy production systems of all cells. Before a total picture of the importance of NAD could be discussed, research was apparently interrupted by World War II.

Low cell energy levels cause disease. Multiple etiologies cause low cell energy; for example, low NAD levels, lipophilic toxins like HCB, DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons, and the newly discovered w3EFA deficiency, are known causes of energy deficiency at the cellular level. Cellular transport of hydrogen ions and electrons across lipid membranes like the cell membrane and mitochondrial membrane can be damaged by the presence of large numbers of HCB or DDT molecules. These act as insulators to the transmission. Likewise the absence of w3EFA would impair electron and hydrogen ion transfer. However, several diseases can be cured at their early stages by raising NAD levels, which corrects impaired cellular energy production caused by low NAD. These diseases include what are now diagnosed as alcoholism, pellagra, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and some early porphyrias.