Niacin (Vitamin B3) Nasty Flush/Rash


Junior Member
Jun 9, 2008
My multivitamin (ProSource MegaMax) recently reformulated with "higher end B vitamins." Unfortunately, the B3 is now pure Niacin. Apparently, pure Niacin can cause a major allergic reaction.

My reaction was somewhat minor with rashes dotted along my arms, neck and legs. I also had a painful itching and burning sensation as though I had a horrible sunburn.

If you are curious, I ended up taking around 600% of the RDA by eating 2 scoops of protein powder (100% dose of Niacin per scoop so 200% of RDA), a lot of peanut butter (approximately another 100% RDA) and the vitamin (300-350% of daily dose). In other words, my body cannot handle 600% of the daily dose in one sitting. I have consumed the peanut butter and protein powder for years. The only change was the reformulated vitamins.

Anyway, I need a new multivitamin that is not full of pure Niacin. Anyone have suggestions?


Here's some background I found about Niacin. Apparently, a reaction is fairly common:

From the Mayo Clinic (

"Most people taking niacin experience skin flushing and a warm sensation, especially of the face, neck, and ears when they begin treatment or increase dose. This reaction is usually mild, but has been intolerable enough to cause up to half of participants in studies to stop therapy. Dry skin and itching is also commonly experienced. Taking aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Naprosyn®), or indomethacin (Indocin®) can reduce the flushing. Use of an antihistamine 15 minutes prior to a niacin dose may also be helpful. Slow-release niacin products may have less skin flushing than regular release niacin preparations or may simply delay the appearance of flushing. The flushing response often decreases on its own after one to two weeks of therapy. Mild stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea also may occur when beginning niacin therapy; these symptoms usually resolve with continued use.

More serious side effects include liver toxicity, worsening of stomach ulcers, and altered blood sugar or insulin levels or uric acid concentrations. Numerous case reports describe liver toxicity, including increased liver enzyme levels in the blood, skin yellowing (jaundice), fluid in the abdomen (ascites), or liver failure. Monitoring of liver blood tests while using niacin is recommended. While slow-release niacin products may have less skin flushing than regular release niacin preparations, they may worsen stomach and liver side effects. High doses of niacin may also cause low blood pressure." (

According to, (

"Large doses of niacin can cause liver damage, peptic ulcers, and skin rashes. Even normal doses can be associated with skin flushing. It can be prescribed as a treatment for elevated total cholesterol and other types of lipid disorders, but it should only be used with medical supervision due to its potential for severe side effects." (


Background on me (since I am new to this forum and if you are curious):
I used to compete as a drug-free bodybuilder until I learned that for other people, drug-free meant not getting caught. So, I retired from bodybuilding a decade ago. I now lift for health and fun. I have been in the gym on and off for 14 years.

Current major lift stats

-Bench: 365lbs * 8 reps (yesterday afternoon, well down from my bests last year)
-Bent Row: 495lbs * 8 reps (two weeks ago and my personal best)
-Squat: 635lbs * 6 reps (way down from last year but I already "waddle" due to large thighs so no need to continue growing thighs)
-Leg Press: ~1300+ lbs * 6 reps (I don't know exactly what the carriage weighs)