Is Niacin Safe, or Not?…
You may want to hold off on taking niacin for cholesterol until you know the whole story…
Some say that niacin is a natural cholesterol cure.
That niacin is an effective, safe alternative to deadly cholesterol drugs.
As for me … I'm not on the niacin bandwagon.
And neither are other diligent researchers who have looked into this.
Why is there such a varied opinion on using niacin for cholesterol?
You see, most people (even doctors …. maybe even, especially doctors) don't take the time to read the "fine print" on these studies.
If they did, they'd discover some pretty disturbing information.
Keep reading. You'll see what I mean in just a minute…
Does niacin even work?…
Yes, niacin can lower cholesterol in certain individuals.
But there are a couple catches that you might want to be aware of.
Catch #1: Many studies have shown that anywhere between 33-50% of the participants see little-to-no improvement in their cholesterol while taking niacin.
So it's not exactly a sure-fire treatment.
But that's not what should concern you the most.
Catch #2: Niacin has only been shown to work with mega doses between 3,000-6,000 milligrams. (3-6 whole grams.)
In case you're wondering, that's a whopping 150-300 times higher than the recommended daily allowance.
For niacin to even have a chance to make a dent in your cholesterol, you'd have to take VERY large amounts.
Want to take a guess what happens…
… when you take niacin in these 3+ gram per day mega doses?
As you might suspect, it comes with a long list of risks and side effects.
And here's where it gets REALLY interesting…
These are many of the exact same side effects and risks you get with deadly cholesterol drugs.
More on what those side effects are and the inherent dangers in just a minute.
For now, you might want to check out this warning from Oregon State:
- Excerpt from Oregon State findings
The most common niacin side effect…
Niacin is well-known for producing a flushing effect.
This is where the skin gets red and many times there can be a prickly sensation associated with the redness.
Since this often appears on the face, many find this effect to be embarrassing or a nuisance. But some are willing to tolerate this to try and get the results they're looking for.
Don't do this & make it worse…
Many users now take aspirin along with niacin to help offset the flushing effect.
Friend, it's never a good idea when you take a second drug to offset the symptom of another drug. (Yes, aspirin is a drug.)
Taking multiple drugs to offset and minimize symptoms is a crystal clear sign that your body is getting alarmingly out of balance.
But as you may have suspected, the niacin flush is just one common side effect of using niacin.
Did you know about these other common side effects and risks?…
- Liver toxicity
- Worsened glycemic control in diabetics
- Aggravated ulcers
- Irregular heart beat
- Liver inflammation
- Increased liver enzyme production (This can 'fry' your liver!)
And remember. These are just the common side effects.
Less common side effects include things like anaphylactic shock.
Here's what one reader reported recently…
I have a lot of back pain and flank pain. It's very unusual back pain.
The health food store guy told me to take 500mg. My first time ever taking it and I definitely went into shock and was in excruciating severe gut-wrenching pain for about 2 hours."
– B.L., San Mateo, CA (name withheld for privacy)
Here's the thing…
I'm sure the guy at the health store meant well.
But most the time, these guys are just store employees. They're not digging into the studies and research. They just don't know enough to separate the facts from marketing hype.
What's the bottom line on using niacin?…
All indications are that it's perfectly safe to take niacin for general health. Provided it's at or around the daily RDA of 20 mgs.
But again, don't expect to see any improvement in your cholesterol numbers at 20 mgs a day.
It's just not going to happen.
That's why most niacin users end up disappointed. Because they aren't taking enough for it to affect cholesterol.
And those that do take 3,000+ milligrams a day?
Most aren't able to continue for long because of the discomfort of the 'minor' side effects or the consequences of the more serious toxicity issues.
Others are less fortunate than that, and have to be rushed to the Emergency Room.
Statistically speaking, there is a chance that niacin could work for you. That you could get off it before the serious side effects kick-in.
Personally, I don't think it's worth the risk. (Granted, I'm very risk averse when it comes to my health.)
Especially when other natural treatments work like crazy with no side effects at all.
But if you're more of a 'riverboat gambler' on things like this, who am I to try and change your mind? At least now, you have more facts to make an informed decision.
About the Author: Colin Carmichael has a passion for helping people improve their health with natural alternatives. If you agree that our bodies crave natural (not artificial) solutions, you'll appreciate the tips he shares at this site.