When it comes to the functions of these elements inside the body, cholesterol, and niacin are not related. One of them helps in keeping the body functional while the other does bad things to it. Niacin is a nutritional substance or a vitamin that helps regulate the level of cholesterol inside the body.
In fact, it is the most efficient and oldest method used to treat cholesterol. There are a lot of clinical trials and tests to prove its efficacy.
What Is Niacin?
Niacin is Vitamin B3. While it is considered as a vitamin, it cannot be absorbed from the foods that you eat. This vitamin can’t be produced by the body either. This is why Niacin supplements need to be administered orally so that the body can use its nutritional properties.
But even if this vitamin is effective against cholesterol, it could also affect the liver and other vital organs when not properly used. As such, Niacin became a prescription drug regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Niacin breaks down fats and cholesterol. It also works to lower down the substances called as the Very Low-Density Lipoprotein or VLDL and the more popular LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein. These harmful substances can be found in the bloodstream of affected patients.
Both LDL and VLDL are substances that are more commonly referred to as bad cholesterol. They thrive in the blood and then cause plaques. The plaques would thicken the blood and eventually cause clogged arteries. When the blood can’t flow freely to the different parts of the body, the heart tends to work twice as hard. In which case, the heart gets prone to malfunctions and failures. That is why heart diseases occur.
But more than just controlling bad cholesterol, niacin can also increase the HDL level of the body. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, and like LDL, it is present in the blood. HDL is referred to as good cholesterol and helps in eliminating LDL. The HDL serves as the watchdog of LDL. Niacin helps the body inhibit the formation of bad cholesterol and boost the production of good cholesterol instead.
How Much Niacin Should You Take:
Doctors prescribe one gram or more of Niacin to be taken daily to patients. The right dosage depends upon the individual’s triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Triglycerides are very much like cholesterol. They are yet another form of fats present in the bloodstream that can cause high blood pressure in a patient as well. Triglycerides may cause heart diseases and heart attacks if not addressed accordingly.
Niaspan is a popular brand name of supplemental Niacin. Health experts consider this drug to be safe and efficient. However, patients should work closely with their respective doctors when taking this medicine. Niacin does have side effects, but with the right administration, they can easily be prevented.
Niacin is said to trigger skin rashes. It may even aggravate gout. In rare cases, it can cause diabetes and peptic ulcer. It may also be normal for patients to experience facial flushing within minutes of taking the drug. However, this is only encountered in the earlier parts of the therapy. The most noted severe side effect of Niacin is liver abnormalities.