Sunday, January 15, 2012

Is Niacin Safe for Lowering Cholesterol? by Dr Sam Robbins

Niacin or Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid is an important member of the Vitamin B Family of Vitamins essential for metabolism of fat in the body. Vitamins are necessary for many body processes, but are not naturally found within the body. Therefore, they must be procured from outside sources. Niacin in its nicotinic acid form has been found to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. The other form of niacin is the amide or niacinamide which does not affect cholesterol levels at all.

IMPORTANT WARNING: Click here to know the SAFETY of using Niacin to lower trigycerides and high cholesterol.

Niacin and cholesterol are closely linked because of the former’s ability to break down fats. The ratio of HDL to LDL is a measure of risk of heart disease. There are proteins called lipoproteins in the blood, which engulf fat particles and carry them through the blood.

The high density lipoproteins (HDL) are small in size and very dense. Therefore, they travel efficiently through the blood stream, scooping up cholesterol particles and carrying them to the liver to be disposed of as fit. The low density lipoproteins are less dense and larger in size. They travel through the blood stream slowly and are more susceptible to dissipation, thereby depositing the fat they are carrying on the walls of the arteries. So, it is better to have a high HDL and low LDL so that there is no plaque formation and cholesterol lining the artery walls.

While most statin drugs lower the LDL levels, they don’t affect the HDL and so reduce cardiovascular risk by 25%. Increasing HDL plays a critical role in reducing heart problems. Niacin increases HDL and thus, therapeutic doses of niacin along with statins may bridge this gap.

Regular vitamin supplements contain about 20mg which is needed for regular health functions. However, the therapeutic dosage of niacin is about 3g which is about 150 times greater. While such high dosage supplements are available over the counter, it is not advisable to take these without doctor’s supervision. High doses of niacin give rise to side effects like flushing, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) and may even be toxic.

It also causes gout, high blood sugar, liver problems and kidney problems. It is not recommended for people with liver and kidney troubles, high blood pressure and for children. High dose niacin causes flushing and itching of the skin, so no-flush niacin is being marketed which is inositol hexaniacinate. This complex has no effect on humans and taking it does not reduce cholesterol at all.

Risk of complications increases as dosage of niacin increases. Therefore, it is unsafe to take niacin without continuous monitoring by the doctor. Normal doses do not significantly lower cholesterol and people risk toxicity and long-term side effects by taking higher doses unnecessarily.

There are a number of other natural ingredients that have been proven to reduce cholesterol without side effects. It is better to take such supplements than taking risky doses of niacin.

To know the answers to FAQs about niacin and its effectiveness and safety, please visit

Dr Sam Robbins is a leading authority on Niacin Cholesterol, who maintains his own website with all the latest information on Heart Diseases and Cholesterol. He is also a distinguished author, a speaker, and most renowned for his knowledge about natural ways to fix and maintain perfect and healthy lifestyle. Be sure to visit his website Click Here.