Niacin to increase your HDL, ‘good,’ cholesterol

Niacin is an important B vitamin that might increase your HDL, (“excellent”), cholesterol. Uncover out if you really should chat to your medical doctor about taking niacin by yourself or with cholesterol drugs.

By Mayo Clinic Team

Niacin, a B vitamin, has prolonged been utilised to boost large-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “excellent” cholesterol that allows eliminate very low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “poor” cholesterol from your bloodstream.

But niacin just isn’t for anyone. Men and women who get niacin in addition to widespread cholesterol drugs see really tiny more advantage. And niacin can lead to unpleasant and in some cases perilous aspect effects.

What is niacin?

Niacin (nicotinic acid) is a B vitamin that’s utilised by your human body to switch food items into electricity. Niacin also allows retain your anxious technique, digestive technique and pores and skin healthy. Which is why niacin is frequently a component of a day-to-day multivitamin, however most folks get enough niacin from the food items they try to eat.

When it is utilised as a cure to boost your HDL cholesterol or suitable a vitamin deficiency, niacin is sold in bigger doses that are recommended by your medical doctor. Prescription-toughness niacin involves these kinds of drugs as Niacor and Niaspan.

Niacin is also obtainable as an about-the-counter complement. Supplements sold about-the-counter are not controlled like prescription drugs. The ingredients, formulations and effects of about-the-counter niacin can fluctuate commonly.

Never get niacin without the need of discussing it with your medical doctor initially mainly because niacin can lead to serious aspect effects when taken in large doses.

What impression does niacin have on cholesterol?

Niacin can increase HDL cholesterol by a lot more than thirty p.c. There is presently some debate about the actual position HDL plays in the human body and in the advancement of heart condition. But HDL has frequently been considered to select up extra “poor” cholesterol in your blood and get it to your liver for disposal, which is why HDL is dubbed the “excellent” cholesterol.

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

  • For males, HDL degrees less than forty mg/dL (1. mmol/L) boost the possibility of heart condition.
  • For ladies, HDL degrees less than 50 mg/dL (1.three mmol/L) boost the possibility of heart condition.

Irrespective of niacin’s means to increase HDL, new exploration suggests that niacin remedy just isn’t joined to reduced premiums of demise, heart assault or stroke.

What else can be done to boost HDL?

Life style adjustments are practical in boosting HDL:

  • Stop smoking if you happen to be a smoker.
  • Try to eat a healthy diet program.
  • Start an workout method, with your doctor’s Alright.

What aspect effects are affiliated with taking large doses of niacin?

Substantial-dose niacin can lead to tummy upset and make your pores and skin flush or itch. Far more importantly, niacin can boost your possibility of:

  • Substantial blood sugar degrees or type 2 diabetic issues
  • An infection
  • Liver harm
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding

Who may well think about taking niacin?

In the earlier, it was considered that HDL degrees would boost even a lot more if niacin was added to cholesterol drugs called statins, these kinds of as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor). But new reports reveal that niacin provides tiny more advantage when in comparison with statins by yourself, and might boost the pitfalls of serious aspect effects.

Most doctors no extended endorse niacin for initially line cholesterol manage — besides for folks who are not able to tolerate statins. In those folks, the advantages of niacin might outweigh the possibility of perhaps serious aspect effects.