Low-Dose Niacin Supplementation Improves Motor Function in US Veterans with Parkinson's Disease: A Single-Center, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Biomedicines. 2021 Dec 10;9(12):1881. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9121881.


A six-month double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study was conducted to ascertain whether low-dose daily niacin supplementation would improve motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. A total of 47 PD patients were assigned to receive low-dose niacin or a placebo. At the end of the double-blind phase, all participants received open-label niacin for the next six months. All patients were evaluated at baseline, after six months, and after one year of treatment. The primary outcome measure was the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale III (UPDRS III) scores. Secondary outcome measures were depression, sleep quality, mental flexibility and cognition, and physical fatigue. Niacin treatment was well-tolerated by forty-five subjects. The mean [95% CI] change in UPDRS III scores at six months of placebo was -0.05 [95% CI, -2.4 to 2.32], and niacin was -1.06 [95% CI, -3.68 to 1.57]. From six to twelve months when both groups received open-label niacin supplementation, the average UPDRS III scores significantly decreased for the placebo group by 4.58 [95% CI, -0.85 to 8.30] and the niacin group by 4.63 [95% CI, 1.42 to 7.83] points. Low-dose niacin supplementation is a well-tolerated adjunct therapy and may improve motor function in PD when taken over a longer period.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; UPDRS III; fatigue; movement disorder; niacin.