Niacin to enhance your HDL, ‘good,’ cholesterol

Niacin is an essential B vitamin that could elevate your HDL, (“very good”), cholesterol. Uncover out if you should really talk to your medical doctor about using niacin on your own or with cholesterol remedies.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Niacin, a B vitamin, has very long been made use of to increase substantial-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “very good” cholesterol that can help clear away low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “poor” cholesterol from your bloodstream.

But niacin is not for absolutely everyone. Individuals who choose niacin in addition to typical cholesterol remedies see really minor added profit. And niacin can cause uncomfortable and sometimes perilous side outcomes.

What is niacin?

Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that is made use of by your overall body to flip food items into vitality. Niacin also can help hold your anxious procedure, digestive procedure and pores and skin healthier. That’s why niacin is generally a component of a daily multivitamin, even though most persons get more than enough niacin from the food items they consume.

When it’s made use of as a treatment method to increase your HDL cholesterol or suitable a vitamin deficiency, niacin is sold in greater doses that are prescribed by your medical doctor. Prescription-toughness niacin incorporates these kinds of medicines as Niacor and Niaspan.

Niacin is also offered as an above-the-counter supplement. Health supplements sold above-the-counter are not regulated like prescription remedies. The components, formulations and outcomes of above-the-counter niacin can range broadly.

You should not choose niacin without having talking about it with your medical doctor very first simply because niacin can cause critical side outcomes when taken in substantial doses.

What impact does niacin have on cholesterol?

Niacin can elevate HDL cholesterol by far more than 30 p.c. There is certainly at this time some discussion about the precise part HDL plays in the overall body and in the progress of heart condition. But HDL has commonly been believed to decide on up excess “poor” cholesterol in your blood and choose it to your liver for disposal, which is why HDL is dubbed the “very good” cholesterol.

Cholesterol degrees are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L):

  • For males, HDL degrees below 40 mg/dL (1. mmol/L) increase the risk of heart condition.
  • For females, HDL degrees below fifty mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) increase the risk of heart condition.

Despite niacin’s means to elevate HDL, new analysis implies that niacin treatment is not connected to reduce prices of demise, heart attack or stroke.

What else can be completed to increase HDL?

Life style improvements are valuable in boosting HDL:

  • Stop cigarette smoking if you are a smoker.
  • Take in a healthier diet regime.
  • Start off an work out system, with your doctor’s Alright.

What side outcomes are linked with using substantial doses of niacin?

Superior-dose niacin can cause belly upset and make your pores and skin flush or itch. Much more importantly, niacin can increase your risk of:

  • Superior blood sugar degrees or kind 2 diabetes
  • An infection
  • Liver harm
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding

Who may well take into consideration using niacin?

In the past, it was believed that HDL degrees would increase even far more if niacin was extra to cholesterol remedies called statins, these kinds of as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor). But new research reveal that niacin delivers minor added profit when in comparison with statins on your own, and could increase the dangers of critical side outcomes.

Most doctors no for a longer period suggest niacin for very first line cholesterol management — other than for persons who can’t tolerate statins. In those persons, the added benefits of niacin could outweigh the risk of potentially critical side outcomes.