Niacin positive effects on lipid levels
05-31-2006 12:00 AM
Niacin positive effects on lipid levels
Arq Bras Cardiol. 2005 Oct;85 Suppl 5:17-9. Epub 2006 Jan 2.
[Pharmacology of niacin or nicotinic acid]
Niacin or nicotinic acid is a soluble vitamin with hypolipidemic properties. Niacin reduces triglycerides (20-50%), LDL-c (5-25%), and raises HDL-c (15-35%). The Coronary Drug Project study showed that the use of niacin was associated with reduction on coronary events and total mortality, and more recently it has been demonstrated that niacin combined with other hypolipidemic drugs can attenuate the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. Niacin appears to reduce the mobilization of free fatty acids from the adipocytes, acting on specific receptors, diminishing the liver formation of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. There are two forms of niacin, one of rapid absorption (crystalline), more commonly associated with flushing, and another of extended release, recently reported to be better tolerated. The use of niacin can be associated with dyspepsia, increased plasma levels of liver enzymes and also with a modest elevation in glucose and uric acid plasma levels, at least using the extended-release preparation up to 2 g/d.
This could be a good way to lower LDL and triglycerides and raise HDL levels post cycle. From this article, it also seems like it'd be tougher to lose fat while on niacin because it inhibits FFA mobilization from adipocytes.
05-31-2006 12:29 AM
Niacin for a Healthy Heart
Niacin (vitamin B3) offers good news to Americans, for whom cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and who continue to live at high risk because of high cholesterol levels. Research supports the use of niacin as a safe and possibly more effective alternative to conventional cholesterol-lowering medications. In addition, niacin is a very affordable option.
Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body. The body uses it to make vitamin D (required for the normal growth of bones and teeth) and various hormones, including the sex hormones. There are two kinds of cholesterol in your body: low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol. These two types are sometimes referred to as the "bad cholesterol" and the "good cholesterol," and here's why: high levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which kills approximately 1 million Americans each year. High levels of HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, appear to lower a person's risk for heart disease.
In clinical studies, niacin has been shown to both lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels. One trial compared the effectiveness of niacin to that of lovastatin (trade names Mevacor or Mevinolin), a commonly prescribed LDL cholesterol-lowering drug. In this study, 136 patients with high cholesterol received either lovastatin or niacin daily. After 26 weeks, LDL cholesterol levels were reduced more in the lovastatin group (32 versus 23 percent). However, HDL cholesterol levels were increased more in the niacin group (33 versus 7 percent). This is noteworthy because the risk for heart disease is reduced more by raising HDL cholesterol levels than by lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
However, there is a side effect from niacin use that discourages some people from taking it. High doses of niacin can cause flushing—a sudden tingling, itching, and reddening of the face, neck, and chest. This side effect is uncomfortable but not dangerous. Slow-release forms of niacin are available and may reduce this effect; however, these may also be harmful to your liver. One possible solution is to take niacin supplements that are in the form of inositol hexanicotinate (IHN). This form of niacin is metabolized slowly by your body, reducing the possibility of flushing. IHN has been used in Great Britain for years to lower cholesterol levels.
To get niacin's heart benefits you will need to supplement your diet with 1.5 to 4.0 grams daily, divided into two or three doses. While there are a number of dietary sources rich in niacin (such as foods high in protein, like meat, eggs, and peanuts), none of these contain more than about 20 mg of niacin per serving. As always, it is very important to work with your doctor to determine which cholesterol-lowering treatments are right for you. Some dietary supplements should not be taken if you have certain medical conditions or are taking particular prescription medications
05-31-2006 12:31 AM
Deficiency Diseases and Good Nutrition
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 was called nicotinic acid before it was called niacin. Under this name, the vitamin didn't sell very well. People thought they were buying something horrible like nicotine. So the vitamin manufacturers took the "ni" from nicotinic, the "ac" from acid, and the "in" from vitamin, and came up with the slang word "niacin". This name sold the vitamin a lot better.
Like the other B vitamins, niacin also helps in the metabolism of fats. Niacin is an essential ingredient in NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate). These two coenzymes are capable of receiving hydrogen atoms in the Krebs cycle. This cycle is one that unlocks the energy found in fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Without NAD and NADP, the cycle could not function properly and you couldn't use any of the energy from the food you ingest.
Niacin is a vasodilator, which means it increases the diameter of your veins. This produces a hot flush and itching sensation throughout your entire body. Because of its ability to dilate the veins, niacin can help in headaches and promotes free flow of blood. Because the itching and heat that comes with nicotinic acid medication is undesirable, it is preferred to take nicotinamide, another form of vitamin B3. Megadoses of niacin can help lower blood fat (cholesterol) and free fatty acids. When vitamins are taken in such large quantities, it becomes medical treatment and not supplementation. Do not try to treat yourself. When taking such large doses of any vitamin, you should be monitored closely by a doctor.
Niacin, like thiamin, was first discovered as the cure for a deficiency disease. Pellagra was rampant at the turn of the century claiming 10,000 lives a year. The symptoms of pellagra are known as the 4 D's: dermatitis, dementia, diarrhea, and death. The skin becomes cracked, scaly, and oddly pigmented in the areas that are exposed to sunlight. Lesions also attack the brain and spinal cord, making you confused, disoriented, and can lead to neuritis. Dr. Joseph Goldberger devoted his life to finding a cure for this frightening disease. He linked the cause back to food, and could cure it by changing the patient's diet. He noted that most pellagra sufferers ate mainly cornmeal, which has little available niacin. Adding meat, milk, and eggs to their diet, cured the disease. In 1937 Conrad Elvehjem discovered what it was in these foods that cured pellagra: nicotinic acid.
It was later discovered that pellagra is also a deficiency of the other B vitamins, and could be cured by them as well. Your body can manufacture some niacin from tryptophan, as long as you have adequate amounts of riboflavin, B6, and B12. Many times, the niacin content is listed on food labels, but does not include tryptophan content, thus underestimating the total niacin equivalent. Remember retinol equivalent? Niacin equivalent is basically the same thing, only it takes 60 mg of tryptophan to make 1 mg of niacin. Eggs are very low in niacin, but extremely high in tryptophan, making them high in NE's.
Foods High in Vitamin B3
FOOD NIACIN* TRYPTOPHAN* EQUIVALENTS*
Cow's milk 1.2 mg 673 mg 12.4 mg
Human milk 2.5 mg 443 mg 9.9 mg
Beef, round 24.7 mg 1280 mg 46.0 mg
Whole eggs 0.6 mg 1150 mg 19.8 mg
Salt pork 1.2 mg 61 mg 2.2 mg
Corn grits 1.8 mg 70 mg 3.0 mg
Corn 5.0 mg 106 mg 6.7 mg
Wheat flour, 2.5 mg 297 mg 7.4 mg
* mg/1000 kcal
Some cultures who eat mainly corn have learned to prepare their corn in such a way that it makes the niacin in it available. The Hopi Indians, for example, cook mature corn in an alkaline wood ash, releasing the niacin. Immature seeds contain available niacin, as it helps the seed's metabolism. As the seed matures, the niacin attaches to a carbohydrate, making it impossible for our bodies to absorb it.
You need about 6.6 NE / 1000 kcal and a minimum of 13 NE / day. (Remember that every body is different and needs slightly different amounts of every nutrient.) The average woman eats 27 NE's / day, and the average man eats 41 NE's / day, both well above the RDA.
Too much niacin can be toxic to your liver. Also, the flushing caused by a lot of niacin intake can be hazardous to sufferers of asthma or peptic ulcer disease.
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