According to drugs.com, niacin is a B vitamin that doctors use to treat the lack of natural niacin in the body, and doctors use it to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as reduce the risk of heart attack in someone who has already had a heart attack. Doctors sometimes use niacin to treat coronary artery disease, too, according to drugs.com. So, how does niacin work to help manage cholesterol?
According to webmd.com, niacin comes in high-dose prescriptions (such as Niaspan and Niacor), and it lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and raises your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Too, niacin tends to lower your triglycerides that are too high. Lowering your LDL cholesterol, raising your HDL cholesterol, and lowering your triglycerides all together serve as the key to a healthier heart.
Niacin comes in extended release, time release, and controlled release form, according to webmd.com. Drugs.com suggests taking the medicine with a glass of cold water because warm water increases the risk of side effects. Too, drugs.com warns against taking niacin in any other way than how the doctor orders because a person could deliver too much niacin to the system at one time.
Taking niacin does come with some side effects, but side effects often resolve themselves over time. Some of the side effects that a person taking niacin could experience are flushing, itching and tingling, but aspirin could help with such side effects, according to webmd.com. It is important to take niacin exactly as directed in regards to time, dosage, and frequency to maximize the medicine’s effectiveness, while minimizing the side effects a person can suffer from taking niacin.
Drugs.com advises against taking niacin if any of the following are present: allergy to nicotinic acid, stomach ulcer, liver disease, or active bleeding. Drugs.com also cautions against drinking alcoholic drinks or warm beverages too soon after taking a dose of niacin because these seem to increase niacin’s side effects. Too, check with the doctor before taking any other medications with niacin because this could endanger your health.
Relying on niacin in food alone doesn’t always work when trying to reduce LDL, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides. According to drugs.com, niacin is only one component of the overall plan to lower the bad cholesterol in the body. Such a heavy job also requires proper diet, regular exercise, and sometimes additional medication, so visit with the doctor to find the proper plan for bad cholesterol reduction.
*Drugs.com warns that niacin could be harmful to an unborn baby, so check with the doctor in case of pregnancy.