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Niacin: Flushing Out Your Toxins
To review, there are eight coexisting B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), which can be found naturally in foods such as bananas, turkey, tuna, whole grains, molasses and potatoes. Foods with all eight vitamins are said to be “vitamin B complex.” The eight B vitamins are chemically distinct, synergistic and play important roles in maintaining healthy skin, immune function and cell growth. Deficiencies in B vitamins can lead to a whole range of general health problems like acne, anemia, depression, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea and high cholesterol amongst others. Now, let us focus on a particularly valuable member of this vitamin team: niacin.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, is a water-soluble B vitamin known for many of its functions and misunderstood due to its powerful ability to help your body detoxify. Many laypersons using a dietary supplement containing niacin become worried when “vasodilation” (otherwise known as the “niacin flush”) occurs. These health-conscious people usually assume something has gone awry when histamine causes their skin to become red, hot and itchy for a period of 10-20 minutes. NOTE: This does not happen to everyone and chances are increased if niacin is taken on an empty stomach.
Actually, this temporary “flush” is merely the widening of blood vessels and capillaries for increased blood flow throughout the body. It is a healthy and necessary process so the niacin can reach and attack toxins residing in fatty tissues and cells near the surface of the skin. The resulting feeling is nothing to be worried about and is usually no more serious than a common “hot flash” for a woman experiencing menopause.
To help explain the necessity of widening capillaries, consider this old but fitting excerpt from www.menstotalfitness.com, “Arteries are the “highways” of your body and capillaries are more like the small town road that you exit off of the highway from in order to get to your house. Your house, in this example, would be a cell somewhere in a remote part of your body that is full of toxins. Without sufficient blood flow (oxygen, and everything that comes along with it), this cell cannot rid itself of its toxins. Now, imagine your city widening the road that leads by your house — the traffic would increase right and they would probably increase the speed limit from 25 to say 45 or 50 right? Well, the same is true for your capillaries! They will carry more blood, and at a faster rate. The end result is that your cells now have more blood to rid themselves of toxins throughout your body as the capillaries get wider!”
Niacin, as it relates to the reduction of cardiovascular risk factors, is also very important. Time and again, a significant number of clinical trials have shown that niacin can lower LDL cholesterol by roughly 20 percent and triglyceride levels by about 10-25 percent. And, that’s not all. HDL, or “good,” cholesterol is actually boosted by the application of niacin supplementation. In addition, products containing niacin are usually a relatively cheap alternative to the inevitable complications of statin drugs.
To conclude, there is a lot of unsubstantiated mythology surrounding niacin and its powerful utility. The reality is simply that this wonderful B vitamin represents a healthy, reliable and often inexpensive approach to well-being.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.