Vitamin Niacin to Lower Cholesterol

Niacin is a vitamin that improves HDL levels in the body. It reduces the risk of heart disease. This article emphasizes on the role of this vitamin in reducing cholesterol, its food sources and side effects associated with excessive intake of this vitamin.

Role of Niacin in Reducing Cholesterol

It is also called as nicotinic acid. It Plays a vital role in reducing serum cholesterol. Taking this vitamin helps to reduce LDL(bad cholesterol ) by 10-20 % and triglycerides by 20-50%. It improves HDL by 15-35%.

Taking 1000 to 2000mg of this vitamin thrice a day prevents the breakdown of fats. Especially VLDL, the precursors of LDL( bad cholesterol). Due to this phenomenon, there is decrease of fatty acids in the blood. As there are no fats in the blood, there is decreased secretion of cholesterol by the liver.

Nicotinic acid is available in two different forms which are immediate release form and sustained release form. Immediate release form is introduced into the body at a time. Whereas, the sustained release form is introduced gradually. Immediate release form is avoided to prevent side effects.

Food Sources of Niacin

The important food sources include beef, eggs, dates, chicken, avocados, fish, liver, carrots, legumes, asparagus, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, mushrooms and whole grain foods. This vitamin can be obtained from dietary sources or in the form of prescribed drugs.

Side Effects of Niacin Overdose

The side effects include:

  • Taking this vitamin in large doses causes increased production of liver enzymes. Therefore, persons taking this vitamin should check their liver enzyme level.
  • Intake of this vitamin causes symptoms of flushing. This symptom can be pretreated by use of aspirin.
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin darkens
  • Inflammation of liver
  • Hot flashes
  • Itching
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Peptic ulcers
  • High blood pressure

This vitamin should be taken after consulting a doctor. Recommended doses should be taken. If any serious complications occur its better to visit a doctor.

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