Niacin to strengthen your HDL, ‘good,’ cholesterol

Niacin is an essential B vitamin that may increase your HDL, (“excellent”), cholesterol. Uncover out if you really should speak to your physician about taking niacin by itself or with cholesterol drugs.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Niacin, a B vitamin, has extensive been utilised to enhance superior-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “excellent” cholesterol that aids clear away reduced-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “poor” cholesterol from your bloodstream.

But niacin is just not for every person. Men and women who get niacin in addition to common cholesterol drugs see really very little supplemental gain. And niacin can trigger not comfortable and from time to time dangerous side results.

What is niacin?

Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that is utilised by your entire body to change food stuff into electricity. Niacin also aids keep your nervous program, digestive program and pores and skin healthier. That is why niacin is frequently a section of a every day multivitamin, although most people get ample niacin from the food stuff they try to eat.

When it’s utilised as a remedy to enhance your HDL cholesterol or correct a vitamin deficiency, niacin is marketed in better doses that are approved by your physician. Prescription-strength niacin consists of such medicines as Niacor and Niaspan.

Niacin is also obtainable as an more than-the-counter complement. Supplements marketed more than-the-counter are not controlled like prescription drugs. The ingredients, formulations and results of more than-the-counter niacin can change extensively.

Do not get niacin without discussing it with your physician to start with mainly because niacin can trigger severe side results when taken in superior doses.

What effect does niacin have on cholesterol?

Niacin can increase HDL cholesterol by far more than 30 %. There’s presently some discussion about the exact position HDL performs in the entire body and in the progress of heart sickness. But HDL has usually been assumed to decide on up extra “poor” cholesterol in your blood and get it to your liver for disposal, which is why HDL is dubbed the “excellent” cholesterol.

Cholesterol stages are calculated in milligrams for each deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles for each liter (mmol/L):

  • For gentlemen, HDL stages below forty mg/dL (1. mmol/L) enhance the threat of heart sickness.
  • For gals, HDL stages below 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) enhance the threat of heart sickness.

In spite of niacin’s ability to increase HDL, recent exploration implies that niacin therapy is just not joined to reduced charges of demise, heart assault or stroke.

What else can be performed to enhance HDL?

Life-style alterations are helpful in boosting HDL:

  • Halt cigarette smoking if you might be a smoker.
  • Eat a healthier diet.
  • Get started an physical exercise method, with your doctor’s Alright.

What side results are connected with taking superior doses of niacin?

High-dose niacin can trigger tummy upset and make your pores and skin flush or itch. Far more importantly, niacin can enhance your threat of:

  • High blood sugar stages or type two diabetic issues
  • Infection
  • Liver harm
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding

Who might look at taking niacin?

In the previous, it was assumed that HDL stages would enhance even far more if niacin was extra to cholesterol drugs known as statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor). But recent studies indicate that niacin gives very little supplemental gain when when compared with statins by itself, and may enhance the challenges of severe side results.

Most medical doctors no extended advocate niacin for to start with line cholesterol handle — apart from for people who cannot tolerate statins. In all those people, the benefits of niacin may outweigh the threat of probably severe side results.