Monday 1 April 2024

Vitamin B3 that is used to lower cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke

Niacin Vitamin B3 High dose is associated with heart attack and stroke.

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including energy production, metabolism, and nervous system health. It's widely found in many foods and can also be taken as a supplement. However, recent research has shed light on a surprising twist – high levels of niacin might not be as beneficial for heart health as previously thought.

Niacin's Positive Impact on Cholesterol:

Traditionally, niacin has been used as a cholesterol-lowering medication. It demonstrably reduces LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and can increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. This initially led to the belief that niacin could significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

The Dark Side of High-Dose Niacin:

However, recent studies have revealed a potential downside to high-dose niacin supplementation. Research suggests a link between excessive niacin intake and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack and stroke. This risk appears to be associated with a byproduct of niacin metabolism called 4PY. High levels of 4PY are believed to trigger inflammation in blood vessels, which can damage them and accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in arteries.

Shifting the Approach to Niacin:

These findings have led health professionals to re-evaluate the use of high-dose niacin for cholesterol management. Statin medications have emerged as the preferred treatment option due to their effectiveness and lower risk profile.

The Recommended Intake:

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for niacin is relatively low, ranging from 14-18mg for adults. A healthy diet rich in niacin-containing foods like meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, and fortified cereals can usually meet these daily requirements.

Who Might Still Need Niacin Supplements:

While high-dose niacin supplementation is no longer recommended for heart health, it might be prescribed under specific circumstances. A doctor may consider it for individuals with severe dyslipidemia (abnormal cholesterol levels) unresponsive to statins or for those with specific genetic conditions.

Important Considerations:

  • If you're considering taking a niacin supplement, consult your doctor first. They can assess your individual needs and potential risks, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.
  • Niacin supplements can cause side effects, including flushing, itching, and nausea. It's crucial to discuss potential side effects with your doctor before starting any supplementation.


Niacin remains an essential B vitamin, but its role in managing heart health requires a more nuanced approach. While it does lower cholesterol, high doses can potentially harm the heart. Maintaining a balanced diet rich in niacin sources and following your doctor's guidance on cholesterol management are essential for promoting cardiovascular health.

No comments:

Post a Comment