Science: Association between Daily Niacin Intake and Glaucoma: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
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Nutrients. 2021 Dec; 13(12): 4263. Published online 2021 Nov 26. doi: 10.3390/nu13124263 PMCID: PMC8709149 PMID: 34959814


Background and Aims: To determine the relationship between dietary intake of niacin and glaucoma using the data from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Methods: Subjects aged 40 years and older who participated in the dietary intake interview and vision health questionnaire of NHANES were included in the study. Glaucoma diagnosis by self-report was utilized. Additionally, glaucoma diagnosis by fundus imaging and International Society Geographical and Epidemiological Ophthalmology (ISGEO) criteria was used in subjects with available qualified retinal imaging. Survey logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between daily niacin consumption and glaucoma. Results: A total of 5768 participants were included in the study. There was a significant decrease in the crude odds of self-reported glaucoma in the third (OR 0.57, 95% Cl 0.43–0.76; p < 0.001) and fourth (OR 0.57, 95% Cl 0.37–0.90; p = 0.018) quartiles of daily niacin consumption, which equated to 21.01 to 28.22 mg/day and greater than 28.22 mg/day, respectively. A similar trend was found using fundus imaging of subjects with niacin intake in the third (OR 0.42, 95% Cl 0.25–0.72; p = 0.002) and fourth (OR 0.36, 95% Cl 0.20–0.67; p = 0.002) quartiles. After adjusting for covariates, the odds of glaucoma based on fundus imaging remained significantly lower for niacin intake in the third (OR 0.49, 95% Cl 0.28–0.87; p = 0.016) and fourth (OR 0.48, 95% Cl 0.26–0.89; p = 0.022) quartile levels. Using ISGEO criteria, there was no significant association between glaucoma and daily niacin consumption. Conclusions: Greater niacin intake may be associated with a lower chance of developing glaucoma.

Conclusion In conclusion, we found that an increased level of daily niacin intake was associated with a lower likelihood of glaucoma, by self-report and fundus imaging, in the US population. Our study also suggests that a certain threshold of niacin dosage is required for the potential effect of glaucoma prevention to be the greatest. Further research is needed to determine the precise dose and time relationship in which the possible beneficial effect on the optic nerve is optimal.

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