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How Does Niacin Lower Cholesterol

Dosage Of Niacin Required To Lower Cholesterol

Lower Cholesterol – Niacin vs. Statins

This effect is dose related. The dosage required is 1 to 4 gms per day. Immediate release and long acting formulations are available OTC. Sustained release niacin 500 mg tablets are available. See my article best niacin 500 mg tablets on the best brands available in the market.

Do not use nicotinamide in place of niacin because it is ineffective.

Niacin And Other Cholesterol Lowering Supplements Which Route Is For Me

Niacin for cholesterol is one of the most effective cholesterol lowering supplements, but there are also many cholesterol treatment options, cholesterol medications, and ways to lower cholesterol using the natural route.

If your doctor looks at your cholesterol readings after a cholesterol check and you see a worried frown, your next question should be, So, Doc, what do I need to take to regain normal cholesterol levels?

Interested in finding out more about using niacin to lower cholesterol? If so, below you will find all the information you could want on niacin and cholesterol both.

Niacin Vs Niacinamide Vs Nicotinamide

Niacin is found in three different forms, including:

  • Nicotinic acid
  • Nicotinamide/niacinamide
  • Inositol hexaniacinate

Nicotinamide, also sometimes called niacinamide, is one of the most common forms of vitamin B3, found in both food and supplement sources. Nicotinamide is often preferred over other supplemental forms of niacin because its less likely to cause flushing and can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including treating pellagra, acne and arthritis. However, unlike niacin, nicotinamide is not as effective at lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health.

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What Is Niacin Used For

  • High cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Lower risk of recurrent heart attack in people with a history of heart attack and high cholesterol
  • Slow plaque buildup in the arteries of people with a history of coronary artery disease and high cholesterol when taken together with a bile acid binding medication , cholestyramine )
  • Additional treatment option for people with severe high triglycerides levels who are at risk of pancreatitis

Can Niacin Help Control Your Cholesterol

Does niacin lower cholesterol levels?Niacin Lowers LDL ...

Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is considered good cholesterol.

Higher levels of HDL are associated with lower risks of heart disease and stroke.

Certain foods, like those high in fiber, can help boost your HDL numbers.

Niacin, a B vitamin, has been shown to help increase HDL and lower both the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood and triglyceride levels.

In this article, Ill talk more about what niacin is and its impact on cholesterol, as well as other benefits and risks from supplementing niacin.

Ill also outline when you should talk to your doctor about niacin and your cholesterol levels.

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Plant Sterols And Stanols

Plant stanols and sterols, such as beta-sitosterol, are naturally-occurring substances found in certain plants. Stanols are also found as dietary supplements. Some are added to margarine, orange juice, and dressings.

Research suggests that plant stanols and sterols may help to lower cholesterol. They are similar in chemical structure and may help block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends you take in 2 grams of plant sterols and stanols each day.

The FDA allows an approved health claim on phytosterols stating, “Foods containing at least 0.65 gram per serving of vegetable oil plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 1.3 grams, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Stanols and sterols appear to enhance the effects of other methods to lower cholesterol. In studies, people taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol had an additional improvement in their cholesterol levels with stanols/sterols.

Supplements To Lower Cholesterol And Live A Happy Life

High cholesterol is hard to treat because symptoms are often invisible. The human liver can produce cholesterol fat. Humans can also get cholesterol from food sources such as dairy, meat, and fish. While a little cholesterol is good, too much can cause a stiffening, narrowing, and clogging of blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Some supplements like niacin, bergamot, and omega-3 fatty acids can aid in lowering cholesterol.

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Are There Any Side Effects Or Precautions

Niacin side effects are generally mild. The most common reaction is itching and flushing of the skin. However, niacin can increase blood sugar levels and elevate liver enzymes, so diabetics and patients with liver or kidney problems should take extra precaution. As with all supplementation, make sure you consult your physician or qualified medical professional before you take niacin for cholesterol or any other purpose.

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Who Can Take Supplements

Niacin Does It Work To Lower Cholesterol

Researchers are still seeking to confirm the benefits of supplements in treating high cholesterol. For this reason, it remains unclear who can or cannot take them. In general, they are considered safer to use in younger people with no history of serious heart-related illness or risk.

However, all people should speak to a healthcare provider before taking supplements.

One reason for this is because your own medical history may include other health conditions that may be affected by taking an herb or nutritional supplement.

Another concern may be the potential for interaction with any drugs you already take.

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Why Was The Aim

The trials were halted early because the researchers could see no significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events between the control group taking statins only and the trial group taking both statins and niacin.

Although their final conclusions have yet to be released they state in their press release that:

While lowering LDL decreases the risk of cardiovascular events, it has not been shown that raising HDL similarly reduces the risk of cardiovascular events.

Those participants who had taken the combined high dose, slow release niacin and statin did have increased HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels compared to the control group. But statistically the combined treatment did not show any significant reduction in fatal or non-fatal heart attacks which was why the study was halted early.

Susan B. Shurin, MD, the acting head of the NHLBI, is quoted as saying:

Seeking new and improved ways to manage cholesterol levels is vital in the battle against cardiovascular disease Although we did not see the expected clinical benefit

She goes on to say that:

Patients who were not in the AIM-HIGH trial should not stop taking high dose, extended-release niacin without talking to their doctor first.

The researchers and doctors involved in the research seem to be disappointed by the results. Saying that it was unexpected and a striking contrast to the results of previous trials and observational studies.

Which Niacin Medicine Is Right For You

There are different brands of niacin medicines. Most of these also come in a less expensive, generic form.

Niacin may be prescribed along with other medicines, such as a statin, to help lower cholesterol. Combination tablets that include nicotinic acid plus other medicines are also available.

Niacin is also sold over-the-counter as a supplement. You should not take OTC niacin to help lower cholesterol. Doing so could have serious side effects.

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Hdl Fats And Scavenger Receptors

One of the main reasons HDL levels tend to drop on the Pritikin Eating Plan is because the diet is low in saturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats suppress the production of scavenger receptors called B1.

At first glance, squelching these scavengers seems like a good thing. Thats because they latch onto HDL particles in the blood, extract their cholesterol, then release the emptied HDL particles back into circulation, which tends to lower HDL cholesterol levels.

But this process also allows the HDL particles to return more quickly to the artery wall and pick up more LDL bad cholesterol, and, of course, thats a very good thing.

Lowering Cholesterol With Niacin Or Nicotinic Acid

cholesterollevelschart how much niacin does it take to ...

Last Editorial Review: 12/30/2004niacin

Doctor’s Response:

There are two types of nicotinic acid: immediate release and timed release. Most experts recommend starting with the immediate-release form discuss with your doctor which type is best for you.

Nicotinic acid is inexpensive and widely accessible to patients without a prescription but must not be used for cholesterol lowering without the monitoring of a physician because of the potential side effects.

All patients taking nicotinic acid to lower serum cholesterol should be closely monitored by their doctor to avoid complications from this medication. Self-medication with nicotinic acid should definitely be avoided because of the possibility of missing a serious side effect if not under a doctor’s care.

Patients on nicotinic acid are usually started on low daily doses and gradually increased to an average daily dose of 1.5 to 3 grams per day.

Nicotinic acid reduces LDL-cholesterol levels by 10 to 20 percent, reduces triglycerides by 20 to 50 percent, and raises HDL-cholesterol by 15 to 35 percent.

Three other major adverse effects include liver problems, gout, and high blood sugar. Risk of these three complications increases as the dose of nicotinic acid is increased. Your doctor will probably not prescribe this medicine for you if you have diabetes, because of the effect on your blood sugar.

Thank you for your question.

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Preventing High Ldl Cholesterol Levels

Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a significant first step toward overcoming the effects of high cholesterol. Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes every day can also reduce LDL concentration in the blood. Supplements are a last form of defense against the damaging effects of LDL accumulation.

Raising Hdl With Niacin

Normally, niacin is derived from foods like chicken and tuna. It helps your body use energy from food as well as promotes healthy eyes, hair, and skin. It also supports good digestion and your nervous system.

Niacin is most commonly used in people who have high cholesterol but cant take statins. Niacin should not be used by people with liver disease, stomach ulcers, or active bleeding. It is sometimes used in people who have already had a heart attack. Doctors are currently debating whether niacin should be used in patients who have a high risk of heart disease.

Niacin can also be used to boost your HDL cholesterol levels and decrease your levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that increases your risk of heart disease. The Mayo Clinic estimates that taking niacin supplements may increase HDL levels by 30 percent or more. However, the amount of niacin needed to have this effect is much higher than the amount normally found in the diet. At these high levels, there can be some undesirable side effects, so be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning to take high doses of niacin.

Niacin is widely available in vitamin stores, as well as in the supplement section of drugstores. Some doctors recommend prescription forms for those who may benefit from high doses.

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Muscle Breakdown That Can Lead To Kidney And Heart Damage

  • Risk factors: Taking niacin with statins | Age 65 years or older | History of diabetes, kidney problems, or low thyroid levels

Although rare, taking niacin together with a statin medication can cause a serious condition called rhabdomyolysis. This is when damaged muscle tissue is broken down in your body and releases proteins into the bloodstream, which can cause very serious and sometimes deadly kidney and heart damage. Talk to your healthcare provider if you develop sudden unexplained muscle pain, weakness, and tenderness, especially after you first start taking niacin or after your dose is raised.

How To Take B Vitamins Together

Niacin, What Should People Know About This Medication? – Dr. Lyle

For most people, vitamin B3 can usually be obtained through a healthy diet in high enough amounts to meet your daily needs. However, if you are considering supplementation for a quick and easy way to bump up your intake, be sure to look for a high-quality supplement that is made using whole food sources. Not only does this allow your body to better absorb and utilize these nutrients, but it can also reduce the risk of unwanted vitamin B complex side effects.

Taking a B complex is a great option to ensure youre meeting your needs for the entire array of B vitamins that your body needs. Consuming B vitamins together in a quality B vitamin complex supplement also allows them to work better in the body, since the B vitamins interact with one another to help optimize digestion and absorption.

B vitamins can be beneficial in supporting metabolism and promoting heart, brain, muscle and joint health, but remember that its always preferable to consume plenty of whole foods that naturally contain all the vitamins and minerals you need instead. Try enjoying high-quality cuts of meat, including free-range and grass-fed poultry and beef, fish, beans, nuts and seeds, in order to make sure youre getting your daily fix of B vitamins. Unlike supplementation, eating plenty of foods that contain niacin should not result in levels high enough to cause any harmful niacin side effects.

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So If The Jury Is Still Out Should You Continue To Include Niacin For Cholesterol In Your Diet


Niacin is an essential B vitamin. It supports a healthy nervous system, gastrointestinal functions and has many other vital functions within the body.

But unless you have been told by your medical practitioner to take a high dose vitamin B3 supplement, then you should be getting all you need from your own balanced healthy diet.

Researchers are not saying you should stop if you are under medical supervision. They are saying consult your own medical doctor for advice regarding the dosage and use of niacin for cholesterol.

The Popular Tlc Diet As A Cholesterol Treatment Option

Most people requiring cholesterol treatment will try the TLC diet, also known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet.

This diet helps to cut back on the amount of cholesterol in your body, and will help you to prevent more serious problems from developing. The amount of cholesterol treatment that will be required will usually depend on how high your risks of having a heart attack are according to how high your cholesterol levels are:

  • Low Risk Most people with a low risk of heart problems due to low cholesterol will usually try the TLC diet for a few months, and this often helps to lower the cholesterol levels without the need for any drugs or medications. The heart healthy diet is usually followed by those worried about heart problems, but who dont have very high levels of cholesterol.
  • Moderate Risk Those that stand a higher risk of heart problems due to slightly elevated cholesterol usually try to get their LDL cholesterol level below 130. If the diet still hasnt worked after 3 months of eating right, your doctor may prescribe one of the above medications in order to prevent problems.
  • High Risk If you have a high risk of heart problems as a result of your high cholesterol, it is likely that you will try to get your LDL cholesterol below 100. The TLC diet should be able to help you achieve this goal, but medications will be prescribed when you start the diet if you have recently had a heart attack or have very high LDL cholesterol.

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I Heard Taking Niacin For Cholesterol Was Dangerous Didnt They Stop A Drugs Trial

You are thinking about the US study called AIM-HIGH, , which was sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute .

In this study the researchers were looking to see whether raising HDL with a drug based on niacin, while at the same time lowering LDL with a statin drug could prevent more instances of heart disease than by just taking the statin by itself.

This is an ongoing study that started in 2006 and was due to finish in 2012, but it was halted eighteen months early.

Risks Of Taking Niacin

Niacin Cholesterol Lower

Taking too much niacin for too long may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.

This happens because when niacin is present in higher amounts in tissues, it can prevent insulin from suppressing glucose synthesis in the liver.

This leads to higher circulating levels of glucose, causing elevated blood sugar.

Taking too much niacin, well over the tolerable upper limit, can result in a severe niacin flush that could also lead to organ failure.

Niacin interacts with some medications:

  • Medications to treat type 2 diabetes
  • Statins and other medications designed to lower cholesterol
  • Acetaminophen

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Niacin To Lower Cholesterol What Does The Future Hold

Without doubt more research is needed to make precise recommendations of niacin for cholesterol!

The correlation between niacin and higher levels of HDL is known, but the high dose required makes general usage difficult.

However, most studies conclude that niacin is an effective and inexpensive treatment that can improve the cholesterol-to-HDL ratio.

So at the moment, unless under medical supervision, high doses of niacin are not advised just keep eating a healthy balanced diet, take some exercise and make a few lifestyle changes the effects on your HDL levels will be just as good!

So Is Niacin A Good Choice For Lowering Cholesterol

The answer to that question is not cut and dried. There are doctors who have been prescribing a daily niacin dose for cholesterol for years who swear by the treatment as both effective and necessary. Others will take the results from these latest studies at face value and shy away from prescribing it to their patients.

The bottom line is that niacin therapy is likely right for some people and wrong for others, depending on their particular situation. Your best bet is to talk to your doctor/cardiologist and see if it makes sense for you. If you are currently on niacin and experiencing any flushness or other symptoms, consult your doctor and perhaps look into alternatives for lowering cholesterol.

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