Niacin, You're Making Me Blush

12.03.2012



Every food documentary has a different spin. Each one is interesting in its own way. When you've seen most of them, it's hard to decide what direction to go in. If you don't have the time to watch them or just don't care to - I'd like to summarize them in a sentence and let you decide.

Forks Over Knives : Eat more vegetables - meat is ruining your life.

Supersize Me:  McDonald's is ruining your life. 

Food, Inc. : Eat more whole foods - corn is ruining your life.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead: Juice everything - processed food is ruining your life.

Food Matters: Take more vitamin C - pharmaceutical companies are ruining your life.

Basically, it's hard these days to have as much control as we'd like over what goes in to our bodies.

The bottom line that I keep coming back to is that I am going to try my best. Eating more vegetables is always going to be a good idea. Sugar really is poisoning us all slowly. Drinking more water is a hobby worth trying. At the end of the day, WE ARE ALL STILL GOING TO DIE.

After watching Food Matters, Bryan and I decided to take more Vitamin C, and we were going to take a niacin supplement, too. Bolstering our immune systems and warding off anxiety seemed like a great endeavor.

One night at dinner, we took our new supplements and went about our business.

We were watching Modern Family and my feet felt warm. While that sounds particularly cozy on a warm and quiet night in, it was disconcerting to me because I've grown really accustomed to my very cold reptile feet.

"Bryan, does it feel warm in here to you?"

The words spilled out of my mouth and I knew instantly that the room did not feel warm to him.

I ran (yes, ran - because I am dramatic) into the bathroom and gasped.

In that moment, had I stood in front of a fire engine I would have disappeared. My face was the color of  rubies. Only I looked more like a mutant and less like a gem. It was worse than any sun burn, and I watched as my chest and arms followed suit. 

"BRYAN I NEED A DOCTOR."

"BRYAN I THINK THE NIACIN POISONED ME."

"BRYAN?"

He walked slowly into the bathroom and hugged me. 

"You're fine - it's not so bad." He said nonchalantly - as if he wasn't witnessing his wife spontaneously combust before his eyes. I was basically waiting for him to ask me if I wanted to go to Taco Bell. If you know what I mean.

As it turns out (after some extensive googling and phone calls to my nursing student sister) - niacin has a flushing effect. It also has a relaxing effect.

Had anyone been present in our home that evening, they would have witnessed a case study of two dweebs trying it for the first time. Bryan was uncharacteristically calm, and I was experiencing THE FLUSH. 

I took Benadryl and prayed I would make it to the morning. 

Bryan declared his allegiance to the supplement and I swore I'd never take it again.

Then I fell asleep.

Now, in the comments - please tell me something that medicine did to ruin your body! GO!


22 comments:

  1. I'm sure this isn't a surprise to anybody else, but benedryl.
    For most of my life, I've had awful allergies, especially in winter and spring. A few years ago, while I was still in high-school, they were particularly bad and I found benedryl in the medicine cabinet. One pill had me passed out about 15 minutes later, and I stayed that way until about 8 hours later (this was in the middle of the day) when my worried mother woke me up. At which point I was still delirious.
    <3 Kiersten

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    1. Oh man, Benadryl is just too good. You are lucky that you don't have the opposite effect! I have friends that say it leaves them wound up all night when they take it. I'd rather sleep, I think :) Though the fact that one pill left you incapacitated for eight hours is pre-tty crazy!

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  2. I had a CT with iodine contrast done a few years ago, and the tech warned me that a few seconds after the contrast was put in my system, I'd feel like I peed myself. I did, and I looked down- luckily it was just the contrast, not my bladder.
    Then as soon as I sat up from the CT I began coughing uncontrollably and my face turned bright red- turns out I was having a reaction. Apparently this means someday I'll develop an allergy to shellfish, so I'm eating as much shrimp as possible before then.

    Glad you lived!

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    1. That's BIZARRE. And, Gesci - I hope you're eating shellfish for every meal. Okay, maybe not every meal because that would get gross. I don't understand these things. How you have a reaction and they're like, "Some day you will be allergic to this?" It's things like this that make me wish I was Dr. Quinn, medicine woman.

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  3. Oh this is hilarious! Once I had an allergic reaction to something put into my eyes at the optometrist office.Your eyes are supposed to feel weird and extra dilated but the rest of me felt weird too. When I was paying I needed to throw up so I just walked off mumbling to find the bathroom. Everyone followed me asking what was wrong...My tongue felt huge...I burst into what I assumed was the bathroom and passed out on the floor blocking the doorway. I was in a janitor closet :) Crazy embarrassing haha!
    I guess the reaction was pretty uncommon.

    Yours must have felt so Twilight Zone, ya?! With Bryan calm and you having a sort of Violet Beauregarde moment...too funny!

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    1. Ahhh, Hannah! That is so scary. But kind of hilarious now in hindsight, hopefully? It made me laugh pretty hard. I would have just been so relieved that I didn't vomit in front of strangers. That's a weird phobia of mine. Bryan recommends niacin to everyone now. It's really funny :)

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  4. I became an absolute monster troll when I took my birth control for months on end without going off of it. I know you're definitely not supposed to do that, but I did it and I had a break down of reality tv proportions where I felt like I was bursting out of my skin! It was horrible. I guess that's not a funny story, more like, "Jessica went insane" story, but seriously, it was the pits! So the moral of that story is never take birth control for months on end without taking a break or you will cry on your uncomfortable couch in your college dorm room to a younger male friend who will be terrified for his life because he's never seen anything as insane as you (in that moment).

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    1. I can always count on THE NOVELLO for a great comment. I just gave you that title. THE Novello. You realize you can NEVER give up that last name, right? See, I've never been on birth control because of your story. Not specifically your story - but because I've heard so many horror stories of people becoming emotional psychopaths and I know I'd be the worst. Because I'm a hormonal psychopath without it. I didn't know you weren't supposed to take it without stopping, either?

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  5. At the start of this pregnancy I was started on a combo vitamin supplement. Magnesium/calcium/iron. I felt like I got ran over my a truck...for realz. My skin hurt...my scalp hurt...muscles I didn't even know I had hurt...needless to say I stopped taking it!

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    1. Whaaaa! Your skin and scalp hurt? That would STRESS ME OUT. I feel sick even when I just take folic acid. Man.
      Also, the video of Inara talking to Santa made me lose it! Hahahaa she is just so funny. And smart!

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  6. i almost choked on my morning beverage as i laughed at this blog. i don't really have a good story about medicine. but my uber holistic mother believes that shoes that light up zap kids energy...as do any form of light up clothing. so when my nephew showed up to her house in his favorite diego shirt that had a light "that flashed. (brace yourself) right. over. his. heart". she proceeded to bribe him with whatever he wanted so she might confiscate the shirt and throw it away. that's all i got...flashing lights might ruin your life. but thanks for the laugh.

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    1. Ahhhhh hahahaha Cara Deeeee this is just too good! I am convinced if I keep spending my free time watching these documentaries that I will be just like that when I'm older. Bryan and I are trying not to be super paranoid and just eat HFCS every once in a while ;)

      "Right over his heart." hahahaah

      I love keeping up with you on social media. The internet is great in that way, don't you think?

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  7. I have totally watch all of those documentaries haha I would have freaked out if I was having a reaction like that haha

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    1. Tis true, it was all kinds of freakiness. But I've taken it since then and I only take half a dose each time ;)

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  8. ahahahah I want to take it and hope it has the calming effect on me. BUT REALLY.... I could use some calm in my life. I'm dying. I don't know if anything like this has ever happened to me. Nothing I can recall but i'll probably call 911 when it does.

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    1. I scaled back to half a pill and as long as I take it after a meal it doesn't really happen anymore. It happened again once but I was ready for it AND it's apparently completely harmless. I was reading this book about vitamins and the author was like, "I LOVE the niacin flush. Keeps me warm in the winter" and I thought - "SO DO SOCKS AND A SWEATSHIRT."

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  9. So this is a fun story. I was recently taking a prescription medication that makes you drowsy. I was supposed to take it for 7 days in a row. The last dose was supposed to be taken last Thursday night, which happened to be the first night I was in DC for a conference at work. Because of the change to my schedule/routine, I forgot to take it. I woke up at 5 am and realized I had forgotten to take it. But I was pretty sure I really needed to take that last dose. So, I took it at 5 am and went back to sleep. I was supposed to meet my group in the hotel lobby at 7:20 am. When my alarm went off, I unknowingly hit snooze until 7 am. Finally, at 7 I woke up. And I was a mess. I could barely stand up. I was running into walls and the room was spinning. I took a shower, hoping it would help. It didn't. When I had to bend over to put my pants on I nearly fell over. Miraculously, I met the group at around 7:25 in the hotel lobby and wasn't even the last one there. The whole walk from the hotel to our office I just looked down and focused on walking in a somewhat straight line and not falling over/running into people. Breakfast was waiting for us at the office. I got myself a bagel with cream cheese, some fruit and orange juice. And once I finished eating it, I felt fine. It was so weird. Lesson learned: When the doctor tells you take a medicine at night because it will make you drowsy, don't take it less than 2 hours before you need to wake up.

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  10. ahh omg i would've freaked out too!! one time i took a chewable pepto bismol tablet before i went to bed. the next morning after i spit out my toothpaste i noticed my spit looked brown. at first i didn't think anything because i drink a lot of diet coke and when i brush my teeth at NIGHT that will happen sometimes. but i was like, wait a second...this is morning. i was terrified to open my mouth but when i did the entire thing was black!! i was terrified!! i started hypervenilating. esp. bc i forgot that i had taken the pepto and i had just watched a thing on dr. oz about "hairy tongue" lol. but, after some extensive googling i realized that it's just a side effect of the drug and i scrubbed my tongue extra hard to get it off! hahah

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  11. I've watched all of those too and it make me feel really conflicted! But, like you, I've taken some things from each to follow and it has really made a difference in how I feel.
    My favorite medicines I take are digestive enzymes and pro-biotics. I went off of them for a while and it made a big difference in both my complexion and energy levels. They are primarily used to keep digestion regular but it's the secondary benefits that I missed the most.

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    1. I didn't explain that the big difference when I was off the tummy supplements was a negative one. I'm sick and words aren't making as much sense as I'd like them to today...

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  12. Actually, Niacin is also used on a prescription basis to treat high cholesterol. Some of the flushing effect can be avoided by 1) taking aspirin before, and 2) taking it at bedtime so you don't notice it as much :)

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  13. Oh, Fran, as a pharmacist, I laughed till I cried over this one. The flushing can be a little overwhelming...especially if you weren't expecting it! There are slow-release versions that have very limited flushing effects, so you could give that a shot if you were brave...

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