Niacin & Cardiovascular Health

 

Niacin, a specific form of Vitamin B3 (also known as Nicotinic Acid), has been reputed as a safe and cost-effective nutrient that can help to lower elevated levels or manage healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Several studies conducted on the effects of high-dose Niacin supplementation on individuals with elevated triglycerides and/or cholesterol have shown that over a varying period of time ( ranging anywhere from three months on up to one year), levels of triglycerides measured in the blood have been lowered substantially by as much as 52%. What’s even more impressive is that as a result of Niacin’s ability to inhibit the functioning of a key enzyme involved in the production of triglycerides, the amount of certain Low-Density Lipoproteins produced in the liver can also be decreased, while levels of High-Density Lipoproteins in the blood can increase by up to 30%. References to these studies are listed below.

 

In many of these studies an extended or timed-release form of Niacin was used in order to avoid the side effects associated with regular Nicotinic Acid (i.e. skin flushing, nausea, dry skin, diarrhea, Erythema). Unfortunately, although rare, it seems that there is some evidence that long term, high dose supplementation of the extended/timed release forms of Niacin can potentially lead to elevated liver enzymes and liver damage. There is also evidence that high doses of Niacin can also lead to elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood. It is always best to consult with your physician if you are considering using high dose niacin supplementation to lower elevated triglycerides or LDL-cholesterol levels.

 

I feel strongly that while Niacin may be a safer and more cost effective method to protecting against atherosclerosis and various cardiovascular diseases when compared to certain prescription medications, there are certainly safer and more natural methods to implement that can help to promote a healthy cardiovascular system through helping to modulate healthy lipid levels in the blood.

References:

 

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/niacin/

 

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Apr 17;101(8A):20B-26B. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.02.029.

 

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2000 Jan;2(1):36-46.

 

J Nutr Biochem. 2003 Jun;14(6):298-305.

 

Am J Cardiol. 2007 Dec 3;100(11 A):S53-61

 

Meyers, C. D., et al. Niacin therapy in atherosclerosis. Curr Opin Lipidol. 15(6):659-665, 2004.

 

Rosenson, R. S. Antiatherothrombotic effects of nicotinic acid. Atherosclerosis. 171(1):87-96, 2003.

 

Tavintharan, S., et al. The benefits of niacin in atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 3(1):74-82, 2001.

 

Canner, P. L., et al. Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin. J Am Coll Cardiol. 8(6):1245-1255, 1986.

 

Nutrition Care Practitioner Manual. Edition 4. 2001:35.

 

Altschul, R., et al. Influence of nicotinic acid on serum cholesterol in man. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 54:558-559, 1955.

 

Dorner, V. G., et al. The influence of inositol hexanicotinate ester on serum lipids and lipoproteins. Arzneimittelforsch. 11:110-113, 1961.

 

El-Enein, A. M. A., et al. The role of nicotinic acid and inositol hexaniacinate as anticholesterolemic and antilipemic agents. Nutr Reports Int. 28:899-911, 1983.

 

Birjmohun, R. S., et al. Efficacy and safety of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol-increasing compounds. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Coll Cardiol. 45(2):185-197, 2005.

 

Bays, H. E., et al. Comparison of once-daily, niacin extended-release/lovastatin with standard doses of atorvastatin and simvastatin (the ADvicor Versus Other Cholesterol-Modulating Agents Trial Evaluation [ADVOCATE]). American Journal of Cardiology. 91(6):667-672, 2003.

 

Futterman, L. G., et al. Lp(a) lipoprotein–an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease after menopause. Am J Crit Care. 10(1):63-67, 2001.

 

Elam, et al. Effect of niacin on lipid and lipoprotein levels and glycemic control in patients with diabetes and peripheral artery disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 284(10):1263-1270, 2000.

 

Tavintharan, S., et al. The benefits of niacin in atherosclerosis. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 3(1):74-82, 2001.

 

 

Fresh & Natural

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