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Vitamin B3 Niacin Part 2Niacin comes in two forms: nicotinic acid and niacinamide. Nicotinic acid is prescribed for patients to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and niacinamide is the form of niacin normally found in supplements.
Large doses of the nicotinic acid form of Vitamin B3 can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good cholesterol). This form of niacin has been proven to lower your chance of heart attack, and is sometimes used in conjunction with other prescription medications to dramatically reduce cholesterol levels.
However, large amounts of nicotinic acid can have uncomfortable and even serious side effects, including skin rash and an intense flushing of the face and neck known as the niacin flush.
Niacinamide can, however, help prevent development of the severe form of diabetes called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It is important to note that this is not the same as adult-onset diabetes, which is only made worse by large doses of niacin.
However, anyone embarking on a treatment program that includes megadoses of niacin should do so under the supervision of a physician. Taking several times the RDA of niacin can cause heartburn, nausea, and headaches for some people.
Do not take any sort of niacin supplement if you are also taking medicine for high blood pressure, or have ulcers, diabetes, or gout as it can aggravate all of these conditions. Anyone with liver disease should take niacin only under doctor supervision.
Return to Vitamin B3 Niacin, part 1
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