Osteoarthritis, Blood Sugar and Revisiting Vitamins

I have been spending time reviewing individual nutrients recently.  Sometimes relearning feels far more important than the first time I learned; it feels familiar and the importance of the details can really be driven home.  Let me explain myself.

Today, I am reviewing about niacinamide.  This is a well know B vitamin.  Now we all need it, but if you are a person who is dealing with osteoarthritis (OA), metabolic syndrome or diabetes then this is of higher relevance to you.

SUP older man - ABlajanIn medicine, we seem to have a fondness for new evidence; but sometimes we seem to forget what we once knew and this is the case here.  Dr William Kaufman published a book in 1949, (almost 70 years ago) where he painstaking detailed how he relieved OA pain in many of his patients (about 90% of them).  He did not understand at the time how this was working, just that it was working and the world should know about it.

Now in more recent times, we are making a connection between OA and imbalanced blood sugar levels in conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Up to 80% of people with OA have been shown to have challenges controlling blood sugar. This is where we seem to see the link.

Niacinamide is a factor that supports the energy production in cells.  When the cells have enough niacinamide they function at a higher level.  One cell type that specifically benefits is the stem cells that are precursors to pancreatic eyelet cells where insulin is produced.  Just to close the loop for you, insulin is the signal that reduces blood sugar.

This one nutrient taken at around 3 g through the day after 3-4 weeks can improve or resolve OA pain and help control diabetes as long as you continue to take the vitamin. We knew this all along and nobody told you until now.


Kaufman W. The Common Form of Joint Dysfunction: Its Incidence and Treatment.Brattleboro, VT: EL Hildreth and Company, 1949.

Qi Zhuo et al. Metabolic syndrome meets osteoarthritis Nature Reviews Rheumatology 8, 729-737, 2012.