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Niacin Helps to Lower LDL Cholesterol
- High LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease
- Niacin, one of many natural cholesterol lowering supplements, can help in reducing cholesterol by increasing HDL cholesterol levels, or good cholesterol levels
- Niacin can also be a relatively inexpensive addition to any diet geared to reduce high cholesterol, especially when compared to leading LDL cholesterol drugs such as Crestor and Lipitor
Whether you’ve heard it from countless commercials or your own physician, you know that high levels of LDL cholesterol can increase your risks of heart disease. While you could take one of the numerous prescription drugs on the market to lower LDL cholesterol, another option is taking niacin. Niacin has been shown to decrease these levels. Before you choose which treatment method is right for you, you need to consider the benefits of niacin.
What is Niacin?
Niacin is actually one of two components of Vitamin B3. Tryptophan, which is found in turkey and some dairy products, is converted into niacin in the body. You can find niacin in many of the foods you consume, including fish, green vegetables, and grains. Niacin is often available with supplements. Sometimes these supplements include other B vitamins, such as riboflavin and folic acid.
While many supplements have not been proven effective in producing health results, this is not the case with niacin. Mayo Clinic gives niacin an “A” (the highest ranking) for the scientific evidence that it helps lower LDL cholesterol. According to the studies, the benefits of niacin also include increasing levels of HDL, also known as good cholesterol, and providing results superior to those of some prescriptions.
When compared to the cost and reduction of some of the leading LDL prescriptions on the market today, niacin seemed to pull its own weight in terms of offering health benefits. Niacin has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to 30% and that’s for a standard dose. In comparison, Crestor and Lipitor reduced LDL levels by 30% when taken at the standard dosage. Where niacin costs only $100 per year, those two drugs cost more than $750 per year.
Potential Side Effects
Another difference between niacin supplements and prescription cholesterol medication are the side effects. With niacin, you might experience a flushed face, chills, or tingling shortly after taking the supplement. You could also have heartburn, nausea, or diarrhea. There is also a small risk of more serious side effects, including fainting, migraines, and persistent vomiting. These problems can be reversed by no longer taking niacin.
Many of the prescription medications have fewer effects on HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels but pose some serious complications in some patients. Renal failure, for example, has been linked to one of the leading cholesterol medications.
Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
If you’re wondering how low your levels need to go, the answer depends on your risk of having a heart attack. Individuals who have numerous risk factors, including a family history of heart disease, should get their numbers below 70 mg/dL. A higher level – 100 mg/dL – would be fine for people without such a great risk. People who need to drop their LDL levels greatly should consider choosing niacin or one of the prescription medications on the market, as well as taking lifestyle changes that can also help. Losing weight and increasing exercise can have positive effects on your total cholesterol levels but these changes take time.Click here to discuss this article on forum
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Cholesterol Diets8 Dec 2008|