Vitamin B3 Niacin

Vitamin B3 Niacin

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  • 2 Answers
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    A , Family Medicine, answered
    Niacin is less effective at lowering high cholesterol levels and most effective at lowering triglyceride levels. Additionally the potential side effects of niacin and the benefits of other medications that have fewer side effects has caused niacin to be prescribed far less.
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    Niacin is one of five nutrients (together with thiamin, riboflavin, iron and folate) whose addition is mandatory in all enriched flour and flour products. The enrichment is required under the law because flour products, particularly bleached white flour products, lose a lot of essential vitamins and minerals during processing. The standardized flour enrichment dramatically reduces the occurrence of inadequate intake of these five nutrients. Among all Americans over 2 years of age, less than 2% get too little niacin or riboflavin; 6% get too little thiamin; 7% get too little iron; and 11% get too little folate. The low occurrence of inadequate intake of the nutrients added to processed grain products testifies to the success of the currently mandated flour enrichment policy. However, food manufacturers add much higher amounts to many processed foods than is required by law. As a result of this excessive fortification, nearly 5 million children ingest niacin in amounts exceeding the tolerable upper intake levels set by the Institute of Medicine.
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    A , Emergency Medicine, answered
    Your doctor will need to do liver function tests before starting treatment. If you have impaired liver function, niacin may not be a good option for you. If you take niacin, you should limit alcohol consumption and avoid alcohol around the time you take your dose.

    If you have heart disease, diabetes, gout, or kidney disease, niacin may not be a good option for you.

    If you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, you should not take niacin.

    Niacin is passed into breast milk and may not be a good option for breastfeeding mothers. 

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    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the addition of certain micronutrients to processed grain foods such as breads, corn meal, flour, macaroni and rice to compensate for the loss of these nutrients during flour bleaching and processing. The typical micronutrients added to enrich cereal grains are thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron and folic acid. For niacin, the legally required enrichment amount is 15-34 mg/pound, which provides 8-15% of the adult daily value per serving, depending on the food. Breakfast cereals are often fortified to much higher levels, up to 100% of the adult daily value for niacin in a single serving.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    I recommend taking 100 milligrams of niacin four times a day to increase your (good) HDL cholesterol level. Regular (and over-the-counter) niacin is much cheaper than prescription niacin, and there seems to be a beneficial effect of extended-release doses. Sometimes higher doses are needed, in which case your doctor needs to peek at your liver function to ensure that you avoid the uncommon toxicity.

    To reduce flushing (feeling hot and light-headed), take an aspirin a half hour ahead of time and take the niacin as you go to bed.

    Do not increase the dose above this level without talking to your doctor, and check with your doctor before using niacin at any dose if you have a history of liver problems.
  • 1 Answer
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    Nicotinic acid or niacin, the water-soluble B vitamin, improves all lipoproteins when given in doses well above the vitamin requirement. Nicotinic acid lowers total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL-cholesterol levels. There are three types of nicotinic acid: immediate release, timed release, and extended release. Most experts recommend starting with the immediate-release form; discuss with your doctor which type is best for you. Nicotinic acid is inexpensive and widely accessible to patients without a prescription but must not be used for cholesterol lowering without the monitoring of a physician because of the potential side effects.

    All patients taking nicotinic acid to lower serum cholesterol should be closely monitored by their doctor to avoid complications from this medication. Self-medication with nicotinic acid should definitely be avoided because of the possibility of missing a serious side effect if not under a doctor's care.

    Nicotinic acid reduces LDL-cholesterol levels by 10 to 20 percent, reduces triglycerides by 20 to 50 percent, and raises HDL-cholesterol by 15 to 35 percent.

    A common and troublesome side effect of nicotinic acid is flushing or hot flashes, which are the result of blood vessels opening wide. Most patients develop a tolerance to flushing and, in some patients; it can be decreased by taking the drug during or after meals or by the use of aspirin or other similar medications prescribed by your doctor. The extended release form may cause less flushing than the other forms. The effect of high blood pressure medicines may also be increased while you are on niacin. If you are taking high blood pressure medication, it is important to set up a blood pressure monitoring system while you are getting used to your new niacin regimen. A variety of gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, indigestion, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, and the activation of peptic ulcers have been seen with the use of nicotinic acid.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
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    A answered
    Niaspan is a long-acting niacin. It is the same active ingredient as niacin. It does require a prescription from your physician. Niacin has been shown to be effective in reducing cholesterol. Niaspan may cause less flushing than regular-release niacin in some patients.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Pellagra was a common disease in Spain and Italy in the eighteenth century. In Italian, pellagra means "rough skin". It is characterized by the "three Ds" of pellagra: dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. The skin develops a cracked, scaly dermatitis; the brain does not function properly, leading to confusion and dementia; and diarrhea results from the impaired manufacture of the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Pellagra is now known to be due to a severe deficiency of niacin and tryptophan.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Although the RDA for niacin (vitamin B3) is based on caloric intake, an intake of at least 18 milligrams per day is recommended by most authorities. However, additional niacin has been shown to exert a favorable effect on many health conditions. Supplemental niacin is available as either nicotinic acid or niacinamide. Each form has different applications. In the nicotinic acid form, niacin is an effective agent for lowering blood cholesterol levels, while in the niacinamide form, niacin is useful in treating arthritis. In the field of orthomolecular psychiatry, large doses of niacin, in the form of nicotinic acid or niacinamide, are often utilized in the treatment of schizophrenia. Doses in excess of 50 milligrams of niacin as nicotinic acid produce a transient flushing of the skin. However, high doses -- two to six grams per day -- of either nicotinic acid or niacinamide should be monitored by a physician as they may result in liver disorders, peptic ulcers, and glucose intolerance.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Fish, Liver, and Eggs

    Rich food sources of niacin (vitamin B3) as nicotinic acid include liver and other organ meats, eggs, fish, and peanuts. All of these foods are also rich sources of tryptophan. Good sources of niacin include legumes and whole grains (except corn).


    Fish, Liver, and Eggs