Niacin, or Vitamin B3, has long been used to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol that helps remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol from your bloodstream.
- Raise HDL (good) cholesterol
- Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Lower triglycerides, another type of fat in your blood
Niacin can raise HDL cholesterol by more than 30 percent. HDL has generally been thought to pick up excess “bad” cholesterol in your blood and take it to your liver for disposal, which is why HDL is dubbed the “good” cholesterol.
Despite niacin’s ability to raise HDL, recent research suggests that niacin therapy isn’t linked to lower rates of death, heart attack or stroke.
However,niacin is only effective as a cholesterol treatment at fairly high doses, from 250 mg up to 6 g a day, much higher than the recommended dietary intake.
There are side effects to notice if you consider to take high-dose niacin.
High-dose niacin can cause stomach upset and make your skin flush or itch. More Himportantly, niacin can increase your risk of:
- High blood sugar levels or type 2 diabetes
- Liver damage
Niacin comes in tablet form. Do not break or chew tablets before taking the medicine.