Why should we take niacin?
As a cholesterol treatment, there are good studies showing that niacin can increase good HDL cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides. Niacin also moderately reduces bad LDL cholesterol. It is sometimes used in combination with statins to control cholesterol, such as rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor), simvastatin, fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), and pravastatin (Pravachol ).
However, niacin is only effective as a cholesterol treatment at relatively high doses. These doses may pose risks such as liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, or glucose intolerance. So don't treat yourself with over-the-counter niacin supplements. Instead, seek advice from your healthcare provider, and if recommended, they can prescribe the FDA-approved dose of niacin.
In addition, niacin is a drug approved by the FDA to treat pellagra, which is a rare disease caused by niacin deficiency.
How much niacin should you take?
Since niacin can be used in different ways, please consult your healthcare provider to find out which dosage is best for you.
Everyone needs a certain amount of niacin-from food or supplements-for the body to function properly. This amount is called the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), which replaces the earlier and more familiar RDA (Recommended Daily Intake). For niacin, DRI varies with age and other factors, and is given in milligrams of niacin equivalent:
- Children: 2-16 mg per day, depending on age
- Men: 16 mg per day
- Women: 14 mg per day
- Women (pregnant women): 18 mg per day
- Women (breastfeeding): 17 mg per day
- Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 mg per day
Most people can get the amount of niacin they need through a healthy diet.
If your doctor prescribes niacin, you may want to take it with food. This can prevent stomach upset. To reduce flushing, a harmless but uncomfortable side effect of niacin, describe redness and warmth on the face and neck-your healthcare provider may recommend niacin and aspirin, and avoid alcohol and spicy foods.
Can you get niacin naturally from food?
Niacin is naturally found in many foods, including vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, although a small amount of its dose can change cholesterol. Many products are also fortified with niacin during the manufacturing process.
What are the risks of taking niacin?
- side effect. Niacin can cause flushing, especially when you first start taking it. Your healthcare provider may recommend increasing the dose slowly to reduce this problem. They may also provide sustained-release prescription formulations to control flushing. Niacin can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. However, all these side effects will subside over time.
- risk. Niacin does have risks. It can cause liver problems, stomach ulcers, changes in blood sugar levels, muscle damage, low blood pressure, changes in heart rhythm and other problems. People with any health conditions (including liver or kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular problems) need to consult a doctor before using niacin supplements. Do not self-treat high cholesterol with over-the-counter niacin supplements.
- interactive. If you take any medications or supplements on a regular basis, please consult your doctor before starting to use niacin supplements. They may interact with medications such as diabetes medications, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, thyroid hormones and antibiotics, as well as supplements such as ginkgo biloba and some antioxidants. Alcohol may increase the risk of liver problems. Although niacin is often used with statins to treat high cholesterol, this combination may increase the risk of side effects. Seek advice from your healthcare provider.
At low DRI doses, niacin is safe for everyone. However, if the dose used to treat the disease is higher, there may be risks. Therefore, unless advised by a doctor, pregnant or breastfeeding children and women should not take niacin supplements that exceed the DRI.