Drug testing has become so common that it is hard for anyone not to have to undergo a drug test. Getting a job and keeping a job both require drug testing in almost all types of industries and jobs but especially in those where public safety is involved such as with airline pilots, cruise ship captains, truck and bus drivers and law enforcement personnel. The military has strict limits for drugs whether to enter or to continue in the military and their requirements are even more stringent than for the general population.

Can you take Niacin for passing drug tests?

Suppose that you have a drug test coming up and you are thinking of ways to help you pass that test. Could Niacin be one of the things to help you pass the lab test? First of all, what is Niacin and how could it help you to pass a urine drug test? In this article, we will bring you up to date on how you might use Niacin pills for passing drug tests.

All about Niacin

Niacin or nicotinic acid is Vitamin B 3 and its chemical name is a 3-pyridine carboxylic acid. It is one of the members of the B Vitamin family and is essential for normal health. Niacin can be manufactured in your body from a protein containing foods such as meat, fish, milk, and eggs. The proteins are broken down to form tryptophan which is then converted to Niacin. Niacin, like all vitamins, is not an energy source itself but it is an enzyme which acts as a catalyst to promote the development of energy from foods. Specifically, it is an important component of two co-enzymes which are involved in cellular metabolism. It helps keep your nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy.

The B vitamins, including Niacin, are water soluble and not stored in the body so that a deficiency can occur unless Niacin itself or foods containing protein which can be metabolized to Niacin are taken on a regular basis. Niacin deficiency is rare in developed countries because sources of Niacin are found in commonly available foods and many foods contain Niacin supplements.

The recommended daily allowance of Niacin is 16 mg for adult males and 14 mg for non-pregnant adult females.
A deficiency of Niacin causes a condition called Pellagra which is now rare in developed countries. Pellagra is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea, and mental disturbance, and is often linked to overdependence on corn as a staple food. The symptoms of Pellagra are often called the three Ds, diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis. It was once common in the southern part of the United States and is still common in some under-developed nations.

In addition to its role as a required B Vitamin, Niacin pills are used for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, primarily based on its effects on increasing blood flow within the body. One of the main uses of Niacin has been to reduce elevated levels of LDL or low- density lipoproteins a form of “bad” Cholesterol. Niacin may also increase LDL or low- density lipoprotein levels of so-called “good” Cholesterol. Niacin works by inhibiting the formation of fats and triglycerides in the liver.

Niacin or nicotinic acid taken in fairly large doses causes a phenomenon called the “Niacin Flush” which is a result of dilation or opening up of blood vessels in your skin. The flush is a reddening of your skin much like what occurs when you blush from an embarrassing happening in your life. The flush with large doses of Niacin may be accompanied by an itching or burning feeling and while it is harmless it may be alarming to some people. Flushing normally comes on about 15 minutes after taking Niacin pills and lasts for about one hour.  A recent study confirmed that various doses of Aspirin could prevent the Niacin Flush. According to some sources, the Niacin Flush could be accompanied by a whole variety of health benefits.

At this point, it may be useful to discuss some confusing names where Niacin is concerned. Niacin or nicotinic acid is the primary form of Vitamin B3 and taken in food or in a usual over-the-counter daily vitamin preparation, causes no associated symptoms. Taken in high doses, however, Niacin or nicotinic acid will cause the so-called “Niacin Flush” which is a reddening of the skin much like blushing that occurs after an embarrassing personal incident. The Niacin Flush is often accompanied by an annoying but harmless sense of itching and burning of the skin of the face. How long does flushing last with Niacin? Only about half of the people who use large doses of Niacin experience the flushing sensation, but it usually subsides or disappears in about an hour after it begins.

Another Niacin product, Niacinamide is a form of Niacin which is not associated with the Niacin Flush but which does not have the beneficial effect of regular Niacin in reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. Finally, there is Inositol Hexanicotinate (IH) which is a slow release form of Niacin which also does not produce the Niacin flush but also does not have the same effect on cholesterol as plain Niacin. IH is actually a combination of vitamin B8 (inositol) and Vitamin B3 or Niacin. It has been suggested that IH can be used to support brain and liver health, help in mood regulation and nerve signaling, as well as improving insulin sensitivity for polycystic ovary syndrome, fertility, and weight loss.

Niacin and drug testing: The Niacin Flush

So, with all of this information about Niacin how does it relate to helping you pass a piss drug test? Does Niacin really clean your system and if so, how fast can Niacin clean your system? Does it have a cleansing effect as part of a THC detox program? The so-called “Niacin Flush” is a method of using Niacin to help cleanse your body from drugs as part of a weed detox program and it is helpful only for urine tests which are the most common types of drug tests given by employers and the military, for instance. Niacin is not helpful with testing for drugs in blood, saliva, hair or sweat. Saliva tests though easy to administer mainly test for very recent drug use, between a few hours and a few days before the test. Niacin will not help to pass a saliva test. Therefore, do not try to use Niacin to pass a saliva test. Obviously, to use the Niacin Flush method, you will have to use regular Niacin or Nicotinic Acid, that is Vitamin B3, in large doses.

Before discussing the supposed mechanism by which Niacin can help you pass a drug test for cannabis, we should have an understanding of how drug tests work. The main drug test used by employers and others is the urine screening test which is easily administered and gives almost immediate results. This test is a so-called immunoassay test which is based on the interaction of drugs and their metabolites with your body’s immune system resulting in antigen-antibody complexes. It is this immune reaction not the actual drugs that the urine test for drugs actually measures.

In the case of cannabis products or pot, it is THC-COOH, the main metabolite of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that the urine test measures. THC-COOH is stored in fat tissue and can be measured in regular and heavy users of weed for several months after a period of prolonged abstinence. Even casual users of weed products can show a positive test up to seven days after their last use of such substances.

Niacin for a drug test

With this knowledge of the metabolism of marijuana and how the urine test works, how then is the Niacin Flush method thought to work, and how fast can Niacin work in cleaning your system? As mentioned earlier in this article, Niacin is thought to cause increased blood flow throughout the body and is responsible for the “flush” or reddening of the skin of the face which occurs with large doses of Niacin. It is assumed that this increased blood flow also occurs in fat tissue where THC-COOH, the metabolite of THC the psychoactive component of marijuana is stored. The increased blood flow is assumed to cause fat cells to burn which then releases the THC-COOH thus detoxing your system.

It seems as with other detox methods that the longer you can use Niacin before your test the more likely you will have a negative test result. How long fast can Niacin clean your system? Rare reports suggest that taking a single dose of 2000 mg of Niacin 24 hours before a drug test can result in a negative test. In general, though it is best to allow as much time as possible, perhaps 5-7 days utilizing Niacin along with all of the other techniques described in this article.

One source suggests that the niacin flush drug test idea seems to have started as a result of a book written in the ’70s by L. Ron Hubbard, called ‘Clear Body, Clear Mind’. In his book, Hubbard (who didn’t have any medical or nutritional training) laid out a detoxification program.  He claimed niacin would help people get rid of all the toxins in their bodies, including prescription and non-prescription drugs and pesticides. The same source suggests that the Niacin Flush is a myth and that if it really worked the testing industry would have found a way to identify excess Niacin in its tests.

The increased blood flow to fat tissue is thought to cause THC-COOH to be released from fat due to increased fat burning. The THC-COOH is then carried in the bloodstream to the kidneys where it is excreted in the urine. Although this theory is often put forward, there is, in fact, no scientific proof that Niacin works in this way in spite multiple internets claims to the effectiveness of Niacin in helping you to pass drug tests.

Because Niacin produces a “flush” or reddening of the skin due to vasodilation or opening up of blood vessels in the skin it has been assumed that a similar opening of blood vessels occurs in fat tissue. There is, however, no scientific evidence to back up this assumption.

Niacin is also claimed to directly promote the breakdown of fat cells due to its direct lipophilic or “fat breakdown” properties thus releasing marijuana metabolites which are then excreted by the kidneys in urine. Although Niacin is important for the breakdown and metabolism of fat in foods taken into your body there is no evidence that Niacin is involved in the breakdown of adipose or fat cells which already exist within your body itself.

How much Niacin should I take to pass a drug test?

Let us assume that you do have a drug test coming up and you are considering using Niacin to help you beat the test. How much Niacin should you take and for how long, and also, should you use other means to supplement the supposed benefits of Niacin? The main method is the so-called Niacin Flush Method. In this formulation, the word “flush” can refer to the facial flushing that occurs with large doses of Niacin but also to the supposed “flushing” effect of Niacin in ridding your system of drugs. Although there are those who feel that Niacin is not really helpful in trying to pass a drug test, others promote the Niacin Flush  Method and its effectiveness with careful suggestions about the need to follow a strict program.

How many Niacin pills to take to pass a drug test?

How much Niacin should I take to pass a drug test? Various directions for using Niacin to pass a urine drug test have been recommended. You might want to know how many milligram Niacin pills to use. Niacin pills are easily available to buy at any pharmacy or health food store near me. The most common seems to recommend using a 500 mg dosage of Niacin or nicotinic acid tablets every six hours accompanied by at least 16 ounces of water. It is definitely dangerous to take more than 1500 mg of Niacin per 24 hours. Of course, abstinence from drugs especially in the case of using Niacin, marijuana and all weed products, is essential because nothing will help you pass a drug test if you continue to use drugs. The longer time you do without using drugs the more likely it is that you will pass a drug test,

In addition to abstinence and the use of Niacin and drinking large amounts of fluids, especially electrolyte-containing fluids such as sports drinks, exercise and a diet containing lean meats, fish and high fiber vegetables will go a long way to helping you pass a drug test.

One thing that definitely does cause fat to burn and release drugs is heavy exercise. Exercise is an excellent part of any weed detox program. Adding heavy cardiovascular exercise to your regimen to pass a drug test can be an excellent way of detoxifying your system using your body’s natural detox mechanisms. It is important to do the exercise well in advance of your drug test because heavy exercise close to the time of your test could release drugs and cause an actual increase in drug metabolites in your urine, rather than a decrease.

You might also want to know how long Niacin stays in your system. Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin and excess amounts beyond that which your body needs are excreted in your urine. Niacin is not stored in the body so regular Niacin intake is necessary to meet your body’s normal metabolic needs. Taking large amounts of Niacin to pass a drug test would result in high levels of Niacin in your urine but there is no evidence that Niacin is being tested for in the drug screening tests commonly in use today. Niacin should be completely cleared from your body in 2-4 hours from taking your last dose.

You might also want to know if Niacin is detectable in a drug test. It does not appear that, at least at this time, that urine drug tests can detect Niacin in the sample since the immunoassay urine tests detect antigen-antibody complexes and there is no reason to think that Niacin would produce an immune system reaction. Of course, the more sophisticated Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy test (GC/MS) would be able to detect Niacin if it was looked for but almost all screening test for drugs use the much more common urine immunoassay tests where Niacin would not be detected.

Does Niacin flush free work to pass a drug test?

Because some people find the facial flushing associated with large doses of Niacin to be bothersome a so-called “flush free” method has been suggested using Inositol Hexanicotinate (IH.) One heavy weed user described taking 2500 mg of “SloNicacin” a day and carefully recording his urinary levels of THC-COOH. It took 9 days of this regimen accompanied, of course, by abstinence for him to accomplish a negative test result. The risk associated with taking large doses of sustained release Niacin was demonstrated in this article in the Journal of Pharmacological Associates in 2003 where a case of severe liver toxicity was described. In spite of the lack of direct scientific evidence for the answer to the question: can Niacin help you pass a drug test there are many personal stories of both successes and failures of the Niacin method.

Test your urine at home

One excellent idea before your drug test is to get one of the commercially available test kits and test your own urine to be sure that you will pass the test before taking it. You can obtain inexpensive test kits from common internet providers or you can get the more slightly expensive exact test kits that employers often use and are approved by the FDA. These CILA (Clinical Laboratory Approved) waived tests were defined as simple laboratory procedures that are cleared by the FDA for home use and use methods that are so easy and accurate that it is unlikely that mistakes would occur. Another requirement is that they would pose no reasonable risk of harm to someone if they were performed incorrectly.

Side effects of Niacin

The primary side effect of taking large doses of Niacin is the so-called “Niacin Flush.” The flush is caused by the effect of Niacin in causing the blood vessel in your skin to open up and allow more blood to reach the skin surface causing it to appear bright pink or red. The effect is a little like a bad case of blushing after an embarrassing incident in your life! Along with the “Niacin flush” usually comes itching and tingling of the skin. Taking an aspirin about 30 minutes before you take a large dose of Niacin can reduce or even eliminate the flush.

Large doses of Niacin can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. You can read about a complication which resulted in an emergency room visit and hospitalization. This report also provides a valuable review of the medical literature related to potentially serious complications of high doses of Niacin. The primary risk of high doses of Niacin is temporary or even permanent liver damage. In another case report excessive Niacin intake, 22.5 gm in 48 hours in an attempt to pass a drug test resulted in severe toxicity including kidney failure requiring dialysis and a 10-day hospitalization. Niacin may also interact with certain medications, including aspirin, anticoagulants, diabetes medications, and nicotine patches. Talk to your doctor before taking niacin supplements, especially if you suffer from gout, diabetes or gallbladder disease. Drinking alcohol while taking niacin may lead to drowsiness. One opinion holds that unless one has experience in using niacin as a supplement or for health indications, stick with dilution methods with B-vitamins and creatine to pass cannabis drug tests