There’s good news and bad news on the subject of vitamins in lowering cholesterol levels. The good news is that unlike prescription drugs that kill as many as 100,000 Americans per year, vitamins have not killed anyone in recent memory. The bad news is that very few vitamins have a direct, positive impact on high cholesterol levels. The only one that has proven capabilities in affecting cholesterol levels is vitamin B-3, also known as niacin.
Niacin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that has been known of, since the mid-1950s, as an agent with the power to lower cholesterol levels. In the early 1960s, controlled studies and research at the Mayo Clinic gave credence to the capabilities of niacin. One of its properties that assists in lowering total cholesterol is its ability to relax you, enabling you to fall asleep promptly when you retire for the night. Lack of adequate sleep has a detrimental effect on cholesterol levels.
Niacin’s direct effect on cholesterol levels is multi-layered and perfect: it lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol, increases HDL (good) cholesterol, and in so doing decreases the ratio of total cholesterol in your blood stream. As a bonus, it also lowers levels of triglycerides.
Is Vitamin B-3 Okay for Overall Health, Too?
Yes, vitamin B is part of the series of B vitamins that keep your immune system healthy, reduce stress and provide support for conditions such as anemia and a compromised immune system. Niacin (vitamin B-3) is sometimes recommended in combination with other vitamins in order to optimize its maximum benefits. For example, a good blend of B vitamins for an anti-stress formula includes niacin, B-6, B-12, C, and E, together with mineral supplements such as zinc and copper.
Magnesium, which we have detailed on this website in another article, has been identified as a mineral with very positive effects in lowering cholesterol levels. It can be taken in combination with niacin. Omega-3 supplements are also believed to enjoy enhanced value when taken in tandem with B-3 vitamins.
Occasionally, people who ingest niacin find a few side-effects, mostly in the first few days. It can result in skin rashes and flushes, but these can be eliminated for most people if you take vitamin C with the B-3. Here’s a good combination dose: begin with 1000mg of vitamin C and 50mg of niacin; gradually increase the niacin to 100mg.
Here’s a tip: always take vitamin B-3 with food, and if you space it out to taking it 3 times a day with meals, the effects will be synergistic.
There are many upsides to taking vitamin B-3 (niacin) in lowering cholesterol levels; here are some of the benefits:
- low cost
- easy availability
- no need for a prescription
- enhances overall health as it lowers cholesterol levels
- available in many combinations with other vitamins and minerals in one tablet
- safe to ingest, and safe around children, too
Still, you should always keep any drugs, supplements or vitamins out of reach of children. The combination of an overdose of vitamins could make little ones sick. Always check with your family doctor before adding large doses of any vitamin to your diet. And if you are pregnant or nursing, go easy on the amount you ingest, or talk it over with your obstetrician.
It’s unfortunate that there are not more vitamins that help to lower cholesterol levels, but at least we have niacin (B-3) that is very effective. Make it essential to your general health plan and part of your program to lower cholesterol levels through natural means. The vitamin connection: it’s safer and less costly.