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Does Niacin Help With High Cholesterol?

I've heard that niacin can help with high cholesterol. Is this true? If so, how does it work? And how much niacin should I take?

 
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Answer

Niacin can increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ("good" cholesterol). It also lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) to some extent. In addition, niacin can have a significant impact on high triglycerides. These actions complement the activity of various other cholesterol medications, and niacin is often used in combination with other cholesterol treatments (such as statins), particularly for its beneficial effect on HDL.
 
The recommended niacin dosage for cholesterol varies, depending on the type being used (over-the-counter, prescription, short-acting, long-acting, etc.). Also, no matter what type of niacin you use, you should start with a lower dosage and work your way up to a higher dosage to limit some of the bothersome side effects, such as flushing. If you start at the full dosage, you may regret it.
 
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