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How Does Niacin Lower Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat that’s carried through the bloodstream on molecules called lipoproteins. The liver is responsible for manufacturing cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, or cholesterol that’s carried on low density lipoproteins, is the cholesterol that causes the most problems in the body. This sort of cholesterol puts fat into the body, while HDL cholesterol, or cholesterol that’s carried on high density lipoproteins, brings the fat back to the liver. Because of their different mechanisms, LDL cholesterol is thought of as the “bad” cholesterol and HDL is thought of as the “good” cholesterol. An elevated level of LDL is a risk for cardiovascular disease and is caused by diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol, or by genetic factors.
One treatment for high LDL cholesterol levels is Vitamin B3, also called niacin. Niacin seems to be much better at reducing cholesterol than conventional drugs. Niacin also lowers triglyceride levels and fibrinogen, a blood protein that helps with clot formation. Niacin not only lowers the levels of these substances, but raises the level of HDL. The effects of taking niacin are long lasting and even persist when the patient stops taking the vitamin in therapeutic doses. Long term studies showed that niacin worked as well or better than conventional drugs in lowering LDL, and it worked much better than conventional drugs at raising the levels of HDL.
However, niacin isn’t without its drawbacks. Some of the patients in the studies had to stop taking niacin because of the uncomfortable skin flushing that sometimes occurs about a half an hour after the vitamin is taken. Other patients who took niacin for cholesterol control suffered from nausea and stomach upset. In large enough doses, niacin can cause liver damage. In response to the skin flushing, at least, some vitamin manufacturers have developed a slow release type of niacin, which lets the vitamin be absorbed gradually.
Niacin can also play havoc with blood sugar control and diabetics should be careful when taking it. It should also be avoided by patients with liver disease like cirrhosis or hepatitis. These patients are better off taking pantethine, or vitamin B5.
The safest type of niacin to take for cholesterol control seems to be inositol hexaniacinate, which patients tolerate much better than usual niacin. The incidence of flushing is reduced and so are the more serious side effects like liver damage. Still, the patient should be monitored by their doctor if they’re taking a course of niacin to control cholesterol. Usually, doctors will start their patients with a dose of 100 mg of pure, standard niacin three times a day, then increase the dosage over a period of a month to a month and half to 1.5 g to 3 g a day, taken in smaller doses. A doctor would begin a patient on 500 mg three times a day of inositol hexaniacinate and after two weeks increase it to 1,000 mg a day. Both forms of niacin should be taken with meals.
Serving Size: 2 Vcaps®
Suggested Use: As a dietary supplement, take 2 Vcaps® daily as needed, preferably with meals or as directed by your health practitioner.
Free of: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg or preservatives. Vegetarian Formula.
Other Ingredients: Cellulose (capsule), Rice Flour, Cellulose, Guar Gum, Magnesium Stearate (vegetable source) and Silica.
Warnings: Caution: Not to be used by pregnant/lactating women or those with liver problems, stomach ulcers or diabetes unless recommended by your healthcare practitioner.
Niacin (Vitamin B-3) is an essential B-vitamin necessary for good health. Many Niacin supplements cause a temporary Niacin flush or tingling red rash on the skin when taken in large doses. This flush-free Niacin is formulated to avoid such reactions. Inositol Hexanicotinate is a stable, non-flushing source of Niacin. This superior source, and lower potency, of Niacin works to reduce the problems associated with mega doses of Niacin supplements.