Niacin For Cholesterol

Niacin is an organic compound that along with nicotinamide builds up the group known as vitamin B3 complex. Supplemental Niacin is used to treat high blood pressure and pellagra (Niacin deficiency). It’s important to maintain Niacin level in the body as its deficiency can lead to various health issues such as anemia, tiredness, nausea, headaches, skin and mouth lesions etc.

Why should you take Niacin?

Niacin boosts HDL cholesterol levels and reduces LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Your doctor prescribes Niacin in combination with statins for cholesterol control, such as Crestor, Lescol, or Lipitor. Add Niacin to your diet, only if your doctor recommends you. This is because Niacin is only effective when given in high doses. However, the high dose could lead to potential risks, such as liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, or glucose intolerance.

What kinds of Niacin are available?

The different types of Niacin are listed below:

  • No-flush Niacin – You don’t need a prescription for this.
  • Extended-release Niacin (e.g., Niaspan) – You must have a prescription to buy extended-release Niacin.
  • Short-acting Niacin (e.g., Niacor) – These are available with or without a prescription in the U.S. (e.g., Niacor).
  • Long-acting Niacin (e.g., Slo-Niacin): Also known as controlled-release, sustained release, or time-release Niacin. No prescription is required.

How much Niacin should you take?

Since Niacin can be used in different ways, talk to your health care provider about the best dosage for you. Everyone needs a certain amount of Niacin for the body to function normally. The maximum daily intake for adults is 35 mg. However, the dietary reference intake (DRI) for Niacin varies with age and other factors:

  • Children: between 2-16 mg daily
  • Men: 16 mg daily
  • Women: 14 mg daily
  • Women (pregnant): 18 mg daily
  • Women (breastfeeding): 17 mg daily

When should you talk to your health care provider?

  • High dose of Niacin can lead to various side-effects.
  • It can cause flushing of the face and upper body. Flushing is skin redness, warmth, itching, or tingling. It often happens within four hours of taking a dose. It may last a few hours.
  • Diarrhea – It can make your stomach upset and increase the risk of gout.
  • Liver problems – Let your prescriber know if you have stomach in your pain, light color stool, dark color pee, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • You may feel weakness or pain in your muscles.
  • High blood sugar – Call your prescriber if you have increased thirst or hunger, blurry eyesight, or needs to pee more often. Your prescriber will do blood tests to help check for serious side effects.

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