My Cholesterol Health

Niacin: Advantages and Disadvantages

Niacin, or its generic name nicotonic acid is generally found in plants and animals it is also added a vitamin supplement to various foord products. Nutriitonal supplemnts and multi vitamins also contain niacin in small amounts. A water soluble vitamin of the B complex it helps in various aspects of health, growth and reproduction.

Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid) is found in dairy products, lean meats, nuts, poultry, fish, eggs etc. It is also found in leguminious plants, breads and cereals. Niacin derivatives which are coenzymes in oxidation-reduction reactions. They are vital in cell metabolism.


Niacin helps in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, nerves and helpful in the process of converting food into energy. Herein lies its benefits to the human body. Niacin helps people with low levels of HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides. It has the ability to increase HDL cholesterol levels thus lowering triglycerides.

A recommended dose of nutritional diet enables us to get the necessary vitamins we need.

Niacin – Advantages

A deficiency of niacin causes pellagra. Symptoms include skin rashes,digestive problems and sometimes mental impairment.


Large doses of niacin result in liver damage, peptic ulcers and skin rashes. Even normal doses sometimes show skin flushing.

It is prescibed as a treatment to elevated cholesterol levels along with the diet changes (restriction of cholesterol and fatty intake) and to lower fatty acids in the blood stream. It is also prescribed for various other lipid disorders,but should be taken under medical supervision because of its considerable side effects.

Side effects:

Although side effects from niacin are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • heartburn
  • itching
  • burning of the skin
  • blurred vision
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • bloating
  • dizziness
  • yellowing of the eyes
  • drowsiness
  • increased heartbeat

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