We have already published an article on niacin and you can refer to the previous article for more information on this vitamin.
Niacin is a B vitamin that can increase levels of good cholesterol, but the side effects may outweigh the benefits for most people.
Niacin has been used for many years to increase the good cholesterol in the blood. The good cholesterol in the blood can help lower the bad cholesterol . But you should keep in mind that niacin is not good for everyone.
People who take niacin with common cholesterol medications will benefit less from it. Niacin can cause discomfort and sometimes have dangerous side effects.
Niacin is the B vitamin that the body uses to convert food into energy. Helps maintain a healthy nervous system, digestive system and skin . This is why niacin is often part of your daily multivitamin.
Most people get enough niacin from the foods they eat. When used as a treatment to increase good cholesterol in the blood or correct vitamin deficiencies, it is sold in high doses as prescribed by your doctor.
This substance is also available as an over-the-counter supplement. Over-the-counter supplements are not modified like prescription medications. Ingredients, formulation and effect of non-prescription niacin will be highly variable.
Do not use niacin without consulting your doctor because it can have dangerous and severe side effects when taken in high doses. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, niacin can increase the good cholesterol in the blood by up to 30%.
Recently, there has been a debate about the exact role of HDL in the body and the development of heart disease. But HDL can stop the bad cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter or millimoles per liter:
- For men, good cholesterol levels (HDL) below 40 mg / dL increase the risk of heart disease
- For women, HDL levels below 50 mg / dL can increase the risk of heart disease.
Despite niacin’s ability to increase HDL, recent research shows that niacin treatment is not associated with reduced rates of death, heart attack, or stroke. High doses of niacin can cause abdominal pain and itchy skin. Most importantly, niacin can increase the following risks:
- High blood sugar or type 2 diabetes
- Liver damage
In the past, people believed that HDL levels would rise further if niacin was added to cholesterol medications . But recent research shows that niacin does not provide many additional benefits when compared to a statin alone, and it may increase the risk of severe side effects.
Most clinicians do not recommend niacin as a first line treatment for cholesterol control (except for those who cannot tolerate statins).
In these people (those who cannot tolerate statins), the benefits of niacin outweigh the severe side effects and risks. Lifestyle changes can be both beneficial and effective in increasing HDL. These changes include:
- Quit Smoking
- Follow a healthy diet
- Start an exercise program in consultation with your doctor.