Originally published August 3 2010
Niacin Increases Good Cholesterol
by Kerri Knox, RN
(NaturalNews) In the past decade doctors have declared an all out war on the high cholesterol levels by prescribing cholesterol lowering 'statin' drugs that have dubious safety records. What's not talked about very much, though, is that humans actually NEED cholesterol for good health. Interestingly, there are different types of cholesterol: 'bad' cholesterol that may be an overall contributor to the arterial plaque that doctors are so concerned about, and 'good' cholesterol that is an overall contributor to good health. What's talked about even LESS is the fact that niacin, one of the B complex vitamins, is well known as THE most effective way to improve cholesterol levels by INCREASING cholesterol levels- in a good way.
High Density Lipoproteins, known as HDL's, are the healthy cholesterol particles that are measured as a part of the total cholesterol level. While doctors generally say that high cholesterol levels are 'bad', nearly all health professionals and cholesterol researchers agree that high levels of HDL's are actually quite good and tend to be protective against heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses. This fact is not discussed much by the media or by doctors, however, because there is no financial incentive to educate people about HDL cholesterol when the only good ways to raise levels is with diet, exercise- and niacin.
Niacin, also called nicotinic acid and Vitamin B3, is an extremely common and inexpensive over-the-counter B vitamin that is present in small amounts in nearly all multivitamin preparations. In higher doses, however, niacin has been shown to be a formidable weapon in the war to RAISE the right kind of cholesterol. It's so effective that, in a rare harmony of opinion about a natural substance, the Mayo Clinic, the 'New England Journal of Medicine' and the 'Atherosclerosis Journal' all agree that niacin is, "the most effective drug available for raising HDL cholesterol."
That isn't niacin's only health benefit; it's also been shown to reduce 'bad' cholesterol, thin the blood and improve blood flow to the heart: each of which independently has been shown to be an important part of preventing and even treating heart disease. The short acting over-the-counter supplemental niacin, however, has one significant flaw- while extremely safe, it creates an uncomfortable, but harmless and temporary problem of skin flushing and itching. In answer to this inherent problem with niacin, Big Pharma created a long-acting niacin preparation called Niaspan that, while greatly decreasing the flushing that occurs, actually increases the incidence of liver problems. With a slap in the face to the supplement industry, the less safe drug Niaspan is allowed to make a 'Qualified Health Claim' for reducing cholesterol while the supplement industry is NOT allowed to make the same claim about safer over-the-counter niacin! In any case, even though your doctor isn't likely to tell you about it, niacin is an incredibly safe over-the-counter supplement that has an amazing ability to increase the good HDL cholesterol levels that we all need for good health- just watch out for the flushing.
About the authorKerri Knox, RN is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner.
With over 14 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in Conventional Medicine and being well versed in Alternative Medicine.
She can help you to to find and repair the UNDERLYING CAUSES of illness using cutting edge in home lab testing that finds nutritional deficiencies, hidden infections and chemical and metal toxicities that contribute to ill health.
She can be reached through her websites at:
Easy Immune System Health.com
Side Effects Site
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