Sometime last year we had a series tagged, “Diseases, foods and herbs to manage them.’’ Part of the diseases I discussed was haemorrhoids also called pile. I mentioned that the Pharmacognosy Department, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has a herbal product for it. Many people showed interest but unfortunately, they ran out of stock. I had to wait. So, this year, I was able to get the product for those who needed them.
At some point, I posted pictures of the herbal products on some WhatsApp groups I belong to because it was after the article that I realised that many adults suffer from pile and I wanted them to take advantage of the herb. In one of the platforms, men showed interest but I noticed a woman warned me to be mindful of what I post because they do not want casualties! Another woman followed suit. I was so embarrassed. I told another friend about the product and he burst into laughter and said, “Funke, you are not serious, so you want me to buy mokole (any herb that increases penis turgidity) from you.”
These people like many others felt I was marketinga libido enhancer. This is what I want to clarify now. Haemorrhoids or piles are swollen veins in the lower anus and rectum and can cause lumps in and around the anus. It causes discomfort, itchiness, swelling or bleeding. Jedijedi, on the other hand in Yorubaland, is when a man has lower back pain, does not have bowel movements and probably has a low sexual drive. To mothers, when a child experiences watery stool and stomach discomfort, he is also believed to have jedijedi. What is the link between an itchy, swollen, bleeding anus and symptoms of this ailment called jedijedi? Obviously, they are different.
The main problem here is that to most people, herbs for pile connotes sexual enhancing medications. The second problem is calling jedijedi, haemorrhoids (pile). This is a conflict of semantics. As a healthy living family, now that you know this, try to set people free with your knowledge. It is time to unlearn some of the things we have learnt.
It is time to discuss vitamin B3 (Niacin). Niacin as a dietary supplement is used to treat pellagra, a disease caused by niacin deficiency. Many countries mandate its addition to wheat flour or other food grains, thereby reducing the risk of pellagra. The key role of niacin in your body is to synthesise the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate which are involved in over 400 biochemical reactions in your body mainly related to obtaining energy from the food you eat. Niacin is water-soluble.
As with all B vitamins, niacin helps convert food into energy by aiding enzymes. It is primarily used to lower high cholesterol levels in the body. It is also used to treat respiratory or vascular disorders. It plays a role in cell signalling, making and repairing DNA, in addition to acting as an antioxidant. It may help treat type 1 diabetes. It improves skin health. It is often used to treat most disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. It regulates digestion. It aids in good blood circulation, normal functioning of the brain and boosting memory. It reduces the symptoms of arthritis. It may protect against Alzheimer’s. It may prevent birth defects. It may help manage migraines.
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, has been available for years as a vitamin supplement though its high dose usage to treat dyslipidemia is restricted by an undesirable adverse effect of flushing. Inositol HexaNicotinate is a niacin formulation known as “no-flush niacin” because of its better tolerability. Niacinamide or Nicotinamide is a form of Niacin found in food and used as a dietary supplement and medication. As a supplement, it is used by mouth to prevent and treat pellagra. While nicotinic acid may be used for this purpose, niacinamide has the benefit of not causing skin flushing.
There is much more to Niacinamide especially when it comes to general skin health. Its topical products are typically sold as a liquid serum or a cream moisturiser. I am aware it is in powdered form too and it is also for skin care. Niacinamide reduces inflammation, helping with acne, eczema and other inflammatory skin issues. Niacinamide helps build keratin in the skin, which helps keep your skin healthy and firm. It helps skin retain moisture, which is especially beneficial for dry skin or those with sensitive skin. It can help build proteins in the skin and lock in moisture to prevent environmental damage. Niacinimide can also help regulate the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce and prevent your glands from going into overdrive. It minimises pore appearance and keeps skin smooth and moisturised. Some research has found five per cent niacinamide concentrations can be helpful in lightening dark spots. It minimises fine lines and wrinkles. It protects against oxidative stress
Niacin is found in a variety of foods, especially fish, red meat, beef, beef liver, pork, chicken, turkey, Fish brown rice, nuts, seeds, legumes, mushrooms and potatoes (both sweet and Irish). Avocado pear, strawberry, mangoes, orange, cantaloupe, papaya, kiwi fruit, raspberry, pineapple and plum are some of the fruits rich in Niacin.
According to a Delhi-based nutritionist, Dr Simran Saini, “The prime benefit of Vitamin B3 is that it keeps your bones stronger by helping in the retention of calcium.’’ In the context of skin care, niacinamide is a topical version of vitamin B3, says the MD of a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, Rachel Nazarian, According to Lucy Chen, MD of a board-certified dermatologist with Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, “Niacinamide may be one of the active ingredients in some topical anti-aging products, especially serums. Generally, people can expect smoother, more hydrated skin when using niacinamide in their skin-care routine.”
People who are malnourished, which may stem from HIV/AIDS, anorexia nervosa, liver failure, alcohol abuse or other medical problems or poverty, are most at risk of vitamin B3 deficiency.
The conclusion is that Niacin supplementation during gestation prevented malformations in mice.In a study titled, “NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) deficiency, congenital malformations and Niacin supplementation,’’ by Hongjun Shi et al, disruption of NAD synthesis caused a deficiency of NAD and congenital malformations in humans and mice.
In a study titled, “Effect of niacin on erectile function in men suffering erectile dysfunction and dyslipidemia,’’ by Chi-Fai Ng et al, the conclusion is that Niacin alone can improve the erectile function in patients suffering from moderate to severe ED and dyslipidemia.”
In a study titled, “Dietary niacin and the risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and of cognitive decline,’’ by M C Morris et al, the conclusion is that dietary niacin may protect against AD and age related cognitive decline.
In a study titled, “The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer,’’ by T Hakozaki et al, the data suggests niacinamide is an effective skin lightening compound that works by inhibiting melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes. Watch out for discussions on Vitamin B5.
– Olufunke Faluyi @ Punch Newspaper