Could Vitamin B replace Cholesterol Drugs?

February 9, 2010


A recent study found that niacin (vitamin B3), is far more beneficial to heart patients with high cholesterol than the most popular cholesterol drug.  Dr. Anthony DeMaria is a leading cardiologist and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and believes that these new findings will eliminate the need for such drugs.

Anti cholesterol drugs are aimed at reducing the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol”, but niacin is much more effective at boosting the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good cholesterol”.

Niacin significantly reduces plaque build up on arterial walls, improving blood supply to the brain, while cholesterol drugs can slightly increase such arterial plaque build up.  In addition, niacin is considerably cheaper than such drugs and can be bought over the counter.
Studies consistently show that therapeutic doses of niacin alone can raise HDL levels by up to 35 percent and lower LDL levels by 20 percent. When incorporated into a well-balanced diet with regular exercise, the benefits increase even more. Proper diet and exercise will actually cause arterial plaque to dissipate over time, unlike statin drugs which have never been proven to break up arterial plaque.

Niacin is naturally found in dairy products, lean meats, fish and poultry, nuts, eggs, and whole-grain or sprouted breads. Diets rich in plant-based sterols, soluble fibre, and balanced sources of omega-3 and omega-6 oils will also contribute significantly to maintaining proper cholesterol levels and a healthy heart.

Precautions when taking niacin are given for those suffering from diabetes as it can increase blood sugar and anyone with a history of liver or gallbladder disease or peptic ulcers need.  Side effects associated with niacin are usually mild and are redness and flushing of the skin, particularly the face.

Health Bite:
There is another reason why your face may flush, and that is one to seriously pay attention to if you are a regular drinker.  Doctors at the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that when drinking results in facial flushing, it’s time to call your doctor to schedule an endoscopic cancer screening.

It could be that you have an inherited deficiency in an enzyme known as ALDH-2 which prompts facial flushing after just a couple of drinks.  This warning sign suggests a much higher risk of oesophageal cancer compared to the general population and as it has a very low survival rate (less than five years) it is worth paying attention.

If you regularly experience flushing after drinking go see your doctor, and monitor your intake because flushing can also occur with the additives in some wines so keep a record of what causes your face to go red so you can eliminate that first.


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