Niacin: Is it really safe?
Niacin (Vitamin B3) has been in the headlines a lot recently – especially in categories such as body-building and cardiovascular health. There have been some studies done that have shown that Niacin can help to raise human growth hormone levels in the human body, as well as studies that have shown that it is quite useful as a tool for decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, it is said that Niacin can help to reduce the odds of a second heart attack in patients who have already suffered one.
But Niacin is also plagued by a list of supposed side effects – and these can appear particularly distressing if you don’t understand the context.
We found a very informative article on this exact subject, published on healthcentral.com, titled ‘Niacin: Myths and Facts.’ In this article, which was written by a Dr. named Dr. William Davis, we found some awesome information regarding the supposed side effect risks of Niacin. In the article, Dr. Davis makes a case for the vitamin that can basically be summarized in the following quote…
“In fact, I would argue that niacin is among the safest, most effective, and wonderfully inexpensive ways to correct the causes of heart disease and reduce the risk of future heart attack available today-when used properly.”
He goes on to explain that Niacin is actually one of the best cholesterol-reduction agents that we have at our disposal. This, coupled with the fact that Vitamin B3 is so readily accessible, are both facts that every doctor should take into consideration.
But, he goes on to say that many doctors remain unaware of the real benefits of Niacin. He actually blames this on the fact that doctors, after taking a look at the potential side effects, are sometimes simply too ignorant of how the vitamin works to take it very seriously.
He also says that statins are very, very easy to prescribe, while Niacin can take a little bit to explain. Niacin Flush, for example, can be a bit frightening to patients who don’t understand what it is… and many doctors seem to simply choose to avoid this entire discussion by choosing to prescribe statins when Vitamin B3 could actually be used to better effect.
What about ‘no-flush’ Niacin?
This article also points out the ‘scam’ that is no-flush Niacin. Apparently, there are a number of these products available that are said to offer the benefits of Niacin without the ‘dreaded’ Niacin Flush that sometimes comes when you take larger amounts of Vitamin B3.
But Dr. Davis points out that such products are truly nonsense – and that they are just fad products that were created for the sales pitch – not for your health.
No flush Niacin is actually a product called inositol hexaniacinate. It is, to put it simply, an inositol molecule that also contains 6 niacin molecules – and while it has been found to work in laboratory rats, the doctor who authored the aforementioned article says that he has seen no evidence that it really works on humans.
Information! So, in other words, if there is no Niacin Flush, there is a very good chance that it’s actually not doing what it’s supposed to do.
In the end, he goes on to say that the risks associated with Niacin are much smaller than most people make them out to be. Here’s a quote that he gives toward the end of the article that seems to summarize his viewpoints on the practice of taking larger doses of Vitamin B3 for medicinal purposes.
“Because of a small risk of liver and other more concerning side-effects, niacin treatment should be conducted with the help of your doctor, particularly if you take more than 500 mg per day.”
The moral of the story, in the end, is simply this…
Don’t be scared off by incredible side-effect warnings that you might see associated with Vitamin B3. Don’t be afraid to press your doctor for more information, and don’t be afraid to challenge the typical (though, unfortunately ignorant) viewpoint that Niacin is, for some reason, more dangerous than other types of medicines.
It is really a very safe vitamin – and you deserve to know the real facts about it. So don’t be afraid to ask.