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Slow-Release Niacin Shown to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease and other serious heart problems. Statins are the drug of choice for many with high cholesterol, but they may have serious side effects. A recent study suggests that taking slow-release niacin (a form of vitamin B) may lower LDL (or "bad") cholesterol by 18%, total cholesterol by 11%, and triglycerides by 9%.

The study included 120 participants who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate high cholesterol. After a four week diet to regulate cholesterol, the participants were split into three intervention groups:

1) placebo

2) 1500 mg/d of slow-release niacin;

3) 1500 mg/d of inositol hexanicotinate (IHN), another form of niacin.

All participants also received instructions for a heart healthy diet, and were monitored for diet, medication side effects, blood lipids and dosage compliance002E

After six weeks of supplementation, the researchers found that the slow-release niacin had the cholesterol lowering benefits noted above. They also found that it resulted in a 12% increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol. No significant changes to cholesterol levels were seen in the placebo or IHN groups.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota. It was published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Lipidology.

Niacin, or vitamin B3, is involved in over 50 metabolic processes that turn carbohydrates into energy. Previous studies have linked niacin to helping to prevent atherosclerosis, maintain good circulation, reduce pain and fatigue in muscles, improve joint mobility and improve nutrient absorption.

Our bodies do not naturally synthesize niacin. However, it is easy to increase your intake of these essential vitamins by eating more niacin rich foods, such as swordfish, tuna, liver, peanuts, lean veal and sun-dried tomatoes.

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