Niacin Detox Sauna Therapy

The Niacin detox program is my favorite detox method.  Not only is it extremely simple and extremely cost effective, it’s also one of the most powerful detox protocols out there.

How powerful you ask?

Ok, let’s just say that, this is the SAME detox program that the 911 firefighters were put on to professionally and successfully treat their extreme overexposure of toxic dust (a wide array of poisons, including lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins) from the WTC buildings collapsing.

iacin Detox Program - 911 fire fighter with his purple manganese towel

Severe Example:  One of the firefighters who had an extreme case of toxicity developed severe Parkinson-like tremors with many other serious cognitive problems.  He was treated with a Niacin Detox program with a high dose of Niacin (Slowly built to 5000 mg for 30 days).

After his detox, his sweat left a purple – blue residue on his towel. This residue was Manganese (Not magnesium) which is a type of metal known to onset tremors and cognitive issues.  After his detox, he was clear of his symptoms.

Also, this is the same detox method used to professionally treat veterans with Gulf War Syndrome or Golf War Illness (GWI) . Look up Gulf War Syndrome Project headed by David Carpenter.

First Off, Why Should You Detox?

We are CONSTANTLY exposed to toxins and heavy metals from our environment and the food that we consume.  Toxins are stored in our fat and brain tissue which directly impacts us physically and mentally. While eating healthy can help detox your body, it isn’t extremely effective.  Dr. George C. Yu, MD recommends that a Niacin detox program become part of our weekly regimen in order to stay healthy and remove harmful toxins that attribute to illnesses.

Based on the Biosphere 2 Studies, Dr. Yu said,  “We also noticed that for the average person now, they are doomed to having lots of chemicals inside their bodies, from 500 times up [compared to their blood level results]” – this means that when you get a toxicity test done on your blood, it might show that you’re fine but in reality the toxins in your fat  will show that you are 500 times more toxic!

My Results

After my first session, I felt great, refreshed, and rejuvenated. It makes me excited for the next detox session every time – maybe I’ll get addicted! After doing this for a month (2-3 times a week), I noticed some big improvements after three sessions I completed. I noticed that my skin looks tighter and brighter, acne flare ups went away. Another big improvement is the overall feel the day after the detox.

I’m a pretty stressed person, and I did not feel any stress throughout the day.  There is also a great increase of clarity and a “happy go lucky” type attitude.  When I thought about doing something, there was not a thought about the fears associated with that – for example “what if I see someone I don’t want to run into?”  I also play basketball in the mornings with a group of guys and I noticed that I didn’t care what people might be thinking of me and this allowed me to play with more confidence.  It was a weird feeling, good obviously.

How Does it Work? What’s the Science Behind it?

Niacin is Vitamin B3 and is created naturally in your body.  The premise behind the Niacin Detox is to take a high dose of Niacin paired with moderate to heavy exercise.  This combination mobilizes and stimulates lipolysis (break down of fats).  When you take Niacin, it induces a flushing effect that feels and looks like a sunburn.  Reaction time is different for each person but normally experienced in 5-10 minutes.

As the fats break down, the toxins stored inside the fat are released to your blood stream and then you can remove it.

If you don’t remove it, you reabsorb the toxins back into your body.

There are two main ways to eliminate it from your body:

  1. Sweat – Sweating the toxins through the skin via exercise and sauna
  2. G.I. Tract – Excreting them out the G.I. tract by binding them with one of the following:
    • Activated Charcoal
    • Zeolite Clay
    • Oils
    • Even some fibers

Dr. Yu and Dr. Mercola Explain a Little More

What Toxins are Removed?

  1. Heavy Metals: Mercury, Manganese, Lead, Aluminum etc
  2. Pharmaceutical Drugs: Pain Killers, Prozac, etc
  3. Other Drugs: LSD, heroin, marijuana, PCP, cocaine, alcohol
  4. Formaldehyde, chlorines, Harmful PCBs
  5. Food Preservatives
  6. Pesticides & Herbicides
  7. Anesthetics
  8. and a lot of others

Is the Niacin Detox Safe?

Niacin is something that you already create in your body.  It is converted from your amino acids, tryptophan.  When detoxing, most people use niacin above its RDA value and don’t experience any problems other than the flushing effect.  Since you build up a tolerance to niacin, most people can start at 100 mg and slowly build up to taking 1000 – 1500 mg per session.  I personally don’t go above 2000 mg.  You can slowly build a tolerance by increasing the niacin dosage by 100 mg per detox session.  For some extreme conditions of toxicity like the 911 firefighters, you can reach up to 5000 mg per detox session – however you should still consult your doctor on this.

The only caveat here, is if you take too much niacin too quickly, you will throw up.  Some people talk about liver toxicity which is only attributed to niacinamide – sources below.

Is activated charcoal safe? In an interview from Dr. Yu and Mercola, activated charcoal is extremely safe and effective in pulling and removing toxins from your G.I. tract.  In fact, you can’t overdose on it.

Below are PubMed articles supporting the health and detoxing benefits of saunas:

What You Need & Brands I Recommend:

  1. Niacin: This is important. Make sure you get the flushing form of Niacin. Do not get niacin that has niacinamide as its active ingredient. This won’t make you flush and it’s shown to be toxic to your liver.  Start out with the 100 mg tablets. I use this Niacin – it has great flushing effects.  You can move to the 500 mg later.
  2. Activated Charcoal: Any type of active charcoal will work, however, I use this brand if you’re interested in exactly what I took.
  3. Purified Water: You’re doing a detox, make sure you’re drinking plenty of purified water. I use a water purifier since plastic water bottles have harmful BPA and BPS in them.  If you have fluoridated water, you’ll want a good filter to get this out. Regular Carbon filters like Pur or Brita won’t cut it.
  4. Purified water with a ½ teaspoon of Himalayan Salt. While in the sauna, you’ll want to replenish electrolytes (Himalayan Salt – 1 TBSP) and water (32 Oz).  Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and also recommend it if you want to spend the money on it.  It’s fairly inexpensive.
  5. A good multi-vitamin: You’ll be flushing and sweating many things out, it’s important to get a good multi-vitamin or eat a diet with high nutrition. I really like this brand.
  6. Access to a Sauna: Your local fitness club will most likely have one.  Also try day spas, though these will more likely be more expensive.  Infrared Saunas are great too because they make you sweat faster.

A Brief Overview of the Program:

Purpose: A simple and extremely powerful detox method used by doctors to eliminate toxins.

Consult your doctor:  With any diet, exercise, or supplement change, you should consult your doctor first before attempting to make sure this is right for you.  Everyone is different.

Brief Overview:  Start with 50-100 mg of Niacin on empty stomach, start exercising for 30 min, enter sauna for 30-60 min, take 4-5  capsules of activated charcoal (500 mg), take shower.

For your convenience, get my printable Niacin Detox Program PDF.  It’s condensed on 1 page, extremely helpful, and easy to take with you anywhere on your detox.

Download the Easy PDF

Duration: 2 times a week.

Tips to increase a Niacin flush response:

  1. Crush Niacin into powder
  2. Take with hot or warm water
  3. Take on empty stomach

Niacin Detox Program (Detailed):

  1. Take Niacin (Flushing Version):
    1. Take small dose of 50 mg with 4-8oz of water on empty stomach– This is to see how you react. Everyone is different. I didn’t flush my first time at 50mg and the next time I executed the program, I took 200mg and certainly flushed.
    2. Monitor Your Flush – It’s important to flush. Within 5-10 min you should feel a flushing effect starting in your face that moves down to your chest.  This feels and looks like a sunburn. If you don’t feel anything, this means that you’ll need to take more niacin next time you execute the program.  I find that I can help kick start the flush with some push ups and moderate jogging for a couple minutes of warmup.
      • Please Note: You might experience Your Flush Later when you’re in the Sauna
      • If you still do not flush – More than likely, your brand is the slow release niacin or Niacinamide or you had a meal with your niacin.
    3. Next time Increase the Dose – You build a tolerance to Niacin. Every time you execute the program Increase the dose by 100mg to 200mg depending if you feel a flush effect from the niacin or not. You can max out at 1000 to 1500 mg.
    4. If you took 300mg of niacin your first time, you would be fine, but it would be really uncomfortable for an hour – extremely tight skin, your skin feels itchy EVERYWHERE. It’s not the end of the world but it’s annoying.
    5. Wait 10 minutes after taking the Niacin to begin Step 2
  2. Exercise for 20 – 30 min: The goal here is to get your body in motion as much as you can and to exercise so that you’re building a sweat. Most people go with a moderate jog, however,  I find that any form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gives me the best results.  I usually go with simple wind sprints, push-ups and lifting weights.
    1. Caveat: This is what I do, which doesn’t mean you should do this. This is also dependent on your level of health and age. If you’re overweight or older, try jogging and some simple, lighter weights. As long as you’re moving, and sweating, you’re good.
    2. My Exercise Routine
      • Wind Sprints – 50 Yards sprint as hard and safe as you can. Right after you’re done sprinting, perform 10-15 push-ups. Rest 30 seconds.  I repeat this combo for about 5-7  times.  Obviously this won’t add up to 30 min so I finish it off with lifting weights – 1 to 2 sets of 10 reps trying to hit major muscle groups using 10-15 seconds rest in between.
    3. Sauna for 30 – 60 min (traditional):
      1. The goal is to get a good sweat going, eliminating as many toxins through the skin. I bring a towel to wipe the sweat off to encourage production of more sweat. I also use a card to scrape the sweat off the skin.
      2. Drink plenty of fluids inside the sauna. I drink a mixture of Himalayan salt water for electrolytes.
      3. Some people stay inside a traditional sauna for up to 4.5 hours. You can use an infrared sauna which you can achieve the same results for 4.5 hours in only 1 hour!
      4. Make sure that it’s hot when you enter. You should be sweating 5-10 min in.
      5. If you’re light headed from HIIT, avoid the sauna for a bit or closely monitor yourself. Elevated heat can cause you to faint if you’re already dizzy.
    4. Take Activated Charcoal: Take 2-4 capsules (500 mg) with 2-4 glasses ( 8 oz) of purified water.
    5. Shower: Rinse off sweat to prevent your skin from reabsorbing the toxins.  For the best effects, Dr. Yu recommends a cold shower.
    6. Vitamins: This amount of sweating depletes a lot of minerals and vitamins. Make sure that you take a multivitamin or have a high quality diet consisting of high nutritional value and vitamins.

Further Reading, Studies, Support Resources, and Niacin Information

Professionally administered Detox Programs:

Self-Aided Detox Support Group:

  • Daniel Ba

    do you take the activated charcoal before the sauna, or after?

    • Zack

      Hey Daniel! You’ll want to take the activated charcoal (anywhere from 2-5 pills) after the Sauna and drink plenty of purified water. If you don’t, you’ll get a lot of gas. Time frame is 0-10 minutes after the sauna. If you try it out, I’m interested to see how it works for you, so let me know! Good luck!

  • Felix Mueller

    Hey, since the rebound lipolysis of niacin only starts several hours after dosing- why is it that we dont wait some hours with going into the sauna? A specific timing for the lipolysis effect would be great to assess when best to get into the sauna. Thanks for writing this up!

    • Josh Finlay

      Hey Felix, I suspect the writer didn’t reply because he realised his prescription didn’t make sense. Proper administration of the program requires you wait 3 hours after taking Niacin before getting in the sauna. Not doing so will actually increase toxin burden within the body…

      • Zack

        Hey Josh, thanks for taking the time to answer Felix’s question. I get pretty busy and his question slipped through the crack – as to why I didn’t answer it. Dr Mercola and Yu along with countless others have talked about the timing, so that’s why I chose the timing I did, So they’re wong? This really should be a question for them, as I’m not well-versed in the mechanics of lipolysis, Actually, I believe they mentioned that no one is quite sure how niacin and lipolysis works in the body – they have only noticed the results it produces through heavy metal testing. I’m mainly relaying information from them. Anyways your info is interesting and I would like to know more. Would you mind posting your sources to share with everyone? Also, you said there is an increase toxin build up within the body. Most of your toxins are expelled through your GI tract. Activated charcoal (that sweeps up all the toxins from your G.I) takes 3-6 hours to get through the body, so I don’t think you’ll have an increased burden from reabsorbing those toxins.

        • Josh Finlay

          Hi Zack,

          “So they’re wong?”
          Yes, Mercola is wrong – he’s wrong about quite a lot as it goes, despite good intentions. The original protocol, as proposed by Hubbard, works because the individuals spent 4-5 hours in the sauna and, thus, had been sweating for 2 hours already when the rebound lipolysis took effect, at which time they had another two hours of sweating to do, minimum.

          There’s a relative consensus that lipolysis is suppressed for 2.5-3 hrs post Niacin.

          Activated charcoal does not sweep up “all the toxins”. Regardless, not all toxins released from cells will reach the GI so, as I said, the amount of toxins the body is not able to sweat out and has to deal with would be increased. Also, given that in the protocol you listed above, the activated charcoal is taken approximately 1.5 hours after the niacin, then it will be well on it’s way through the GI (maybe passed the important upper small intestine where toxin-laden bile enters) before the rebound lipolysis takes effect.

          Timings matter.

          • Zack

            Good info Josh – makes sense. Looks like I’ll have to do some further research into this area. I’ll most likely append the article with an alternative method and caveat in regards to your info.

          • Josh Finlay

            Cheers Zack – nice to see some open minded writers about. J

          • jquest43 .

            gee,”josh”..dr yu,worlds greatest detoxologist says he does sauna as he takes niacin.
            Are you more of an expert than dr yu?

          • Zack

            Hi Jquest43 – Do you believe that ALL experts agree with Dr Yu? I’m sure there are experts out there who disagree with his approach. If you took the time to read Josh’s answer, he already gives you his source, Dr Hubbard. So now, it’s your turn to provide evidence to why you think Hubbard is wrong vs Dr Yu. Also, why did you put Josh’s name in quotation marks? Lol, did I miss an inside joke or something?

          • jquest43 .

            30,000 patients.thats why dr yu should be listened to.even david wolfe says he is probably the greatest detoxologist.
            the liposizing occurs during the flush and immediatly after.
            it requires clarification who is correct.
            dr yu was and is the ” go to guy” for 911 firefighters,and special forces exposed to chemicals.
            he does reccommend drug abusers go to narcanon for the 4 hour ( omg!) niacin sauna.
            so im going to look into it more.

        • jquest43 .

          youre not well versed in the liposalysis sciences?
          Then why are you changing dr yu’s directions?

          • Zack

            JQuest43, I’m changing Yu’s directions? Please elaborate. Also please read through the comments before commenting. I feel like you’re commenting before reading them. I’ve been contacted 2 other times by email from detox specialists telling me that Dr Yu is wrong. I’m not saying who is right or wrong, but I’m just making it known that experts disagree. I said in a prior comment, that I will most likely provide a two methods Dr Yu Method and a Dr Hubbard Method. From there, readers can decide what they want to do or where they want to spend more time researching.

      • jquest43 .

        BUT josh,what does dr yu say?

    • Zack

      Hey Felix, sorry that you’re question slipped through the cracks. Great question through. On Mercola’s website, it talks about ” ‘Rebound Lipolysis’ first described by L.A. Carlsen of Sweden” and how it takes 1 to 2 hours for Niacin to switch from preventing lipolysis to inducing it. So your question makes a lot of sense as to why don’t we start the sauna later. I’m not sure if there are other variables like exercising that speeds up this process. I’m mainly relaying the information and results that Dr Mercola and Yu have specified in regards to timing.

      Please read Josh’s and my comments below for some more additional insights. Hopefully Josh can shed some more light and sources on the subject.

      What I would do, is I would experiment this yourself and see which one makes you feel better overall in the long run. Keep in mind that any sort of detox may induce flu like symptoms. I would stick to one for a couple weeks, note how you feel, and then try out the other.

      • Jason Hommel

        I recently read in a niacin detox group, they suggest waiting 3 hours between the niacin and the sauna for the reasons you discuss.

        • jquest43 .

          hey jason,what does dr yu say?

    • jquest43 .

      not true.
      you do sauna AS you flush.DO NOT WAIT 3 hours.that is false info.
      AFTER sauna take activated charcoal OR charcoal
      OR modified citris pectin
      apple or grapefruit pectin
      bentinite clay
      you will poison your brain

  • Jos van Oord

    Hey,can you get a panic atack from niacin.Itook onley 50 mg of niacin

    • Zack

      Hi Jos, generally speaking, no. 50 mg for the Niacin detox can cause a flushing effect. The only reason I see a panic attack happening is if you let yourself get paranoid over the flushing effect. The first time can be a little nerve racking because you don’t know what to exactly expect. You might be inducing the panic attack yourself and it’s not the niacin. You should consult your doctor if you’re concerned. Hope this helps!

  • Pierce

    Hi train a lot and when I tried doing the niacin therapy straight away it made me have a lot less strength when lifting weights and really making me slow in running and punching so it made me stop what can I do about this and why does it do it ? Thanks

    • Zack

      Great question Pierce. I’ve experienced something similar where I felt refreshed but at the same time felt pretty exhausted. My guess is that you’re feeling the effects of detoxing, When doing detoxes, people usually get sick for a couple days to a week from the toxins being released from their body. It’s pretty common. With that said, another side effect from these toxins being released could be onset fatigue which would impact your workout. I would space your detox time a couple days a way from your lifting / training times. Also, I would drink plenty of water to flush out everything, that could help you out a lot. Also it could be an electrolyte imbalance. with ALL that sweating, you sweat out a lot of minerals and you need to replace them. One ways is with a good form of sea salt and water – that’s what I use. Hope this helps you out! And sorry for the delay!

  • Cathy Floreen

    Can we sub out the sauna with the steam room on this?

    • Zack

      Yeah, I don’t see any issue with that if you can’t find a sauna. I’m sure there are different health benefits of both. But the main goal is to make you sweat and steam rooms make you sweat. Now that I recall, in another video of Dr. Yu, he uses a hot water bath, hot enough to make him sweat. So… simple answer is yes. Hope this helps

    • jquest43 .

      You exercise WITH Taking the niacin as you flush,20 min,THEN sauna.
      You DO NOT WAIT 3 HOURS,that is wrong info and is NOT dr yu niacin sauna info.

  • Ken Dodd

    Way too many myths being repeated in this article. The 9/11 detox program was a bunch of hooey with Scientologists at the helm. Niacin is NOT safe in large doses and can cause liver failure – people have require liver transplants after using it to detox for drug tests etc. And there is no credible evidence whatsoever that it really does speed up the detox process. It has been shown time and time again that you cannot speed up detoxification – the body has its own way of doing it, and takes its time. I’m not saying that niacin flushes can’t have health benefits if used sensibly and sparingly – there are many things that it helps. But the idea that taking large doses will help you detox is absolute hogwash and dangerous information to be spreading. Read this.