Niacin belongs to the family of B vitamins and are often called B3. An essential nutrient, it is required by the body for healthy functioning. Niacin has a number of beneficial and potentially harmful effects on the body
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whole grain pasta.
whole grain rice.
Regulates Cholesterol Levels
Niacin is very effective for increasing the levels of high-density cholesterol (HDL or “good” cholesterol) in the body, as it can increase by up to 35 percent, according to Dr. Gerald Gau of the Mayo Clinic (see link in Resources). What’s more, this reduces vitamin also levels of low-density cholesterol (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, known to increase the risk of heart disease. Gau attribute this double advantage of the fact that higher levels of HDL cholesterol in the body, the lower levels of bad cholesterol will be blood.
Niacin is even more effective in lowering LDL cholesterol when used in combination with drugs called “statins,” reports Gau. Statins are drugs that are formulated to lower cholesterol. Together, niacin and statins may increase levels of HDL in the blood of more than 50 percent, while lowering LDL cholesterol.
One of the common side effects of taking niacin is called “flushing.” Studies conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute says that flushing is caused by taking relatively high doses of the vitamin, in excess of 1000 mg. To avoid flushing associated with large doses, it is recommended that you start with a low dose and gradually increase the amount taken to higher desired dosage. Other common side effects are high doses of niacin which include itching, gastrointestinal upset, nausea and vomiting.
An upper limit of 35 mg per day for adults was set as the tolerable upper intake level (UL), established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in 2002 (see link in Resources). The US Department of Health lists hyperglycemia, jaundice and abdominal pain as some side effects which occur when vitamin taken in quantities exceeding 3000 mg daily over a long period.
Meeting the daily required allowance for niacin hinders the development of pellagra, a nutritional disease caused by an insufficient intake of vitamin (see link in Resources below). There are several symptoms caused by this condition, which include diarrhea, dermatitis and dementia, as well as apathy, amnesia, drowsiness and confusion. In the extreme, the lack lead to death. Niacin is also used in the treatment of pellagra.