There are quite a few cholesterol drugs on the market. Most of them concentrating on lowering low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, which is your 'bad' cholesterol. While lowering LDL cholesterol is important, it can be just as important to increase your high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, or good cholesterol. Your 'good' cholesterol is extremely important, as it is responsible for carrying your bad cholesterol out of your blood stream to your liver, where it can be disposed.
One of the less talked about cholesterol regulators in niacin. Niacin is a B vitamin (B3) that increases 'good' cholesterol and can be found as an over-the-counter supplement, in prescription form, or naturally in many different foods. Niacin is readily available in eggs, dairy, fish, poultry and lean meats. Vegetarians and vegans may get their source of niacin in nuts, enriched cereals and breads, avocados, dates, mushrooms, legumes, tomatoes, leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes.
While most people tend to get enough niacin naturally through their regular diet, it may be helpful to take supplements or prescription niacin if your have high LDL cholesterol, or low HDL cholesterol. Your HDL cholesterol should be at least 60 mg, for both women and men. If a woman's HDL drops below 50 mg, or a man's drops below 40 mg, they are at a higher risk for heart disease. Niacin both increases HDL and lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. It is one of the most effective cholesterol medications on the market and doesn't necessarily need to be prescribed.
Niacin can usually be taken in combination with other cholesterol medications, but it is best to ask your doctor about possible drug reactions before adding any type of supplements to your health regimen. Also ask your doctor about possible side effects and the correct amount of niacin that might be good for.
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