Women's Heart Advisor October 2011 Issue

Niacin: Its Value in Raising HDL Cholesterol is Being Questioned

A high level of “good” HDL cholesterol is great for heart health, but a hard goal to reach. One of the few products that raises HDL is niacin. It’s inexpensive, available over-the-counter (OTC) and also lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. But most people won’t tolerate its side effects, which they describe as similar to hot flashes. No-flush niacin is available OTC, but has no effect on cholesterol and may be toxic to the liver. That’s why most doctors recommend prescription niacin, which tends to cause fewer undesirable side effects. However, its value is being questioned.

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