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The B Vitamin that Treats Fungal Infections

By Dr. Kristie

Could a common vitamin found in meats such as chicken, beef, and seafood be used to treat fungal infections? People who suffer from common yeast infections, particularly vaginal yeast infections, are familiar with the fungus Candida albicans.


This ubiquitous little organism is known for causing yeast infections involving the vaginal tract and other areas of the body - but can also cause more serious infections when it gets into the blood stream.  A new study shows that vitamin B3, also known as nicotinamide, could help to treat common yeast infections – and more serious fungal infections as well.

Vitamin B3 to Treat Fungal Infections?

Researchers at the University of Montreal recently discovered that nicotinamide, also known as vitamin B3, slowed down the replication of the fungus Candida albicans in mice. Not only that, but this B-complex vitamin stalled the growth of other species of fungi that cause infection in humans. These fungi can be a particularly serious problem for hospitalized patients who have suppressed immune systems.

Antifungal drugs are usually used to treat fungal infections, but they have side effects including the potential for liver damage, allergic reactions, and, in women, changes in estrogen levels.

A natural antifungal treatment without these risks would be a safer option. In addition, some infection causing fungi become resistant to the medications used to treat them, which can make the infection more difficult to eradicate.

Nicotinamide to Treat Fungal Infections: How Does It Work?

University of Montreal researchers discovered that an enzyme called Hst3 is necessary for Candida albicans, as well as other types of fungi, to grow and replicate. They also found that vitamin B3, or nicotinamide, blocked this enzyme and reduced the ability of these unfriendly fungi to inflict their damage on the body.

This isn’t the first time that vitamin B3 has shown the potential to treat fungal infection. Another study showed that nicotinamide inhibited the growth of certain fungi that cause skin infections by blocking the action of important enzymes that help them grow, replicate, and penetrate tissues.

Could Vitamin B3 Be Used to Treat Fungal Infections One Day?

More research is needed since nicotinamide, as a natural antifungal treatment, was only tested in mice. Human studies are needed - because what works in mice doesn’t always have benefits for humans.

If vitamin B3 proves to be an effective way to treat fungal infections in humans, it would be a safer option to the antifungal drugs that are currently being used. In addition, it could be effective in cases where Candida albicans and other fungi are resistant to prescription medications.


Vitamin B3 is a molecule that the body recognizes, because it’s found in so many foods and is essential for good health. Hopefully, it will be a safer option for treating fungal infections in the future.


  • Medical News Today. "Scientists Demonstrate Antifungal Properties of Vitamin B3"
  • Mycoses. 2010 May 1;53(3):204-7. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

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