Niacin and Other Cholesterol Lowering Supplements – Which Route Is for Me?
Niacin for cholesterol is one of the most effective cholesterol lowering supplements, but there are also many cholesterol treatment options, cholesterol medications, and ways to lower cholesterol using the natural route.
If your doctor looks at your cholesterol readings after a cholesterol check and you see a worried frown, your next question should be, “So, Doc, what do I need to take to regain normal cholesterol levels?”
Interested in finding out more about using niacin to lower cholesterol? If so, below you will find all the information you could want on niacin and cholesterol both.
What Kinds of Cholesterol Medications Exist?
Before getting into niacin for cholesterol, let’s take a look at some of the cholesterol lowering medications you can take. Some of these cholesterol meds will be prescribed by doctors, while others are simple over the counter cholesterol medications.
Regardless of the type of medication, it is important to know what to expect from the meds you are taking:
- Statins – Statins are usually prescribed for those with high cholesterol, and it is given to increase your HDL cholesterol while lowering both LDL and triglycerides. The side effects of statins include constipation, diarrhea, muscle soreness, and stomach pain, among others.
- Bile Acid Binding Resins – These resins are given to prevent the bile acid from forming into cholesterol particles, and they can be effective at decreasing LDL cholesterol by preventing the body from producing the particles. Be prepared though for potential constipation, nausea, gas, bloating, and a risk of increased triglyceride levels.
- Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors – These inhibitors will actually stop your body from absorbing the cholesterol, and will help to elevate your HDL cholesterol levels while reducing the levels of LDL and triglycerides both. The side effects of this medication may include muscle soreness, fatigue, and stomach pain.
- Fibrates – Fibrates are excellent for decreasing your triglycerides, but they also help to up your HDL cholesterol levels slightly. However, stomach pain and nausea or two of the primary side effects of this drug, and many have found that gallstones have developed as a result of taking fibrates.
These are the cholesterol medications that are most commonly prescribed by doctors, and they have proven to be fairly effective. If you insist on taking the medical route, your doctor will usually recommend one or two of these drugs according to your levels of cholesterol.
Some doctors will prescribe statins and niacin for cholesterol, while others will combine statins with cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Combining the drugs often increases their effectiveness, but it can often increase the side effects as well.
The Popular TLC Diet as a Cholesterol Treatment Option
Most people requiring cholesterol treatment will try the TLC diet, also known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet.
This diet helps to cut back on the amount of cholesterol in your body, and will help you to prevent more serious problems from developing. The amount of cholesterol treatment that will be required will usually depend on how high your risks of having a heart attack are according to how high your cholesterol levels are:
- Low Risk – Most people with a low risk of heart problems due to low cholesterol will usually try the TLC diet for a few months, and this often helps to lower the cholesterol levels without the need for any drugs or medications. The heart healthy diet is usually followed by those worried about heart problems, but who don’t have very high levels of cholesterol.
- Moderate Risk – Those that stand a higher risk of heart problems due to slightly elevated cholesterol usually try to get their LDL cholesterol level below 130. If the diet still hasn’t worked after 3 months of eating right, your doctor may prescribe one of the above medications in order to prevent problems.
- High Risk – If you have a high risk of heart problems as a result of your high cholesterol, it is likely that you will try to get your LDL cholesterol below 100. The TLC diet should be able to help you achieve this goal, but medications will be prescribed when you start the diet if you have recently had a heart attack or have very high LDL cholesterol.
As you can see, the cholesterol treatment option changes according to the risk of your developing heart problems. For this reason, it is always best to have your cholesterol checked by a doctor who can help you make the right decision on which of the treatment options is for you.
The Importance of a Cholesterol Check
“Why get a cholesterol check?” you are probably wondering?
The answer to that question is simple: Get the test because there are no visible symptoms.
Most people find that they had no idea that their cholesterol was so high before the cholesterol tester took a sample of their blood and analyzed it, as there really are no symptoms that can indicate that your cholesterol is high. Cholesterol really is a silent resident, and it will usually accumulate, grow, and spread unnoticed in your body.
For this reason, it is recommended that most people over the age of 20 get an occasional cholesterol check, usually once every five years. Children and teenagers don’t usually need to get their cholesterol checked unless they are obese, but even adults that appear to be completely healthy should check their cholesterol every five years to ensure that the levels of cholesterol don’t get out of control.
The cholesterol test should also be administered more frequently if your family has a history of heart disease, you don’t have a very active lifestyle, you weigh more than you should for your height, you eat a lot of fatty foods in your diet, or you have diabetes. All of these conditions increase your risk of having high cholesterol levels, and this is where the cholesterol check will come in handy.
Without a cholesterol checkup, you may end up with serious heart problems that you could never have imagined. The amount of cholesterol in your body will add up until it is too much for your heart to handle, and problems will arise. For this reason, it is very important that you get your cholesterol check at least once every few years no matter how unlikely it seems that you have high cholesterol.
What is Niacin?
Now we get down to the part about Niacin for cholesterol, the real important part of the page. As mentioned above, there are all sorts of medications, but it is usually better to go the more natural route.
Using niacin to lower cholesterol is one of the best ways to do so, as niacin is a B vitamin that is naturally effective. Niacin is also known as nicotinic acid, and it used by your body to make energy out of carbohydrates. Niacin also nourishes your hair, eyes, skin, and digestive system, and keeps all of these vital organs running properly.
Most multivitamins contain niacin, as it is one of the most important vitamins your body needs to stay healthy and function properly. You often get a good deal of niacin in the food you eat, but often it isn’t enough to keep your body working well AND lower your cholesterol.
For this reason, niacin is often given to those with high cholesterol, as it is an effective treatment that will ensure that your cholesterol levels remain as low as possible.
Niacin and Cholesterol – How Does It Work?
Niacin and cholesterol have a very effective relationship, and you may find that taking niacin for cholesterol is one of the best things you can do.
So what does niacin do?
- It raises HDL cholesterol levels – As you know, HDL cholesterol is the good stuff that helps to take out the trash (LDL), and it is important to have levels of HDL cholesterol that are as high as possible. Niacin helps to elevate your levels of HDL cholesterol by as much as 35%, making it the most effective drug or supplement for elevating your HDL. Most other medications and supplements deal with the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, but the beauty of niacin is that its main purpose is to increase your HDL cholesterol.
- It decreases both LDL and triglycerides – Not only does niacin for cholesterol have a positive impact on raising your HDL cholesterol, but it also decreases the levels of both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. The decrease is not as significant or drastic as the increase of HDL cholesterol, but it is enough to prevent serious heart problems. Once the HDL cholesterol is increased, however, the reduced numbers of LDL villains have no chance against the good cholesterol and thus your total cholesterol levels are lowered.
Niacin is one of the most effective supplements that you can take, as it helps to increase your HDL cholesterol levels and decrease your LDL cholesterol levels at the same time. This is a double benefit, and you will find that taking niacin for cholesterol is one of the best things you can do.
Many doctors will actually prescribe niacin along with statins, as it will double the effectiveness. Statins help to decrease the levels of LDL cholesterol significantly, and, when you stack the effects up with the HDL increase brought about by the niacin, you get a very significant improvement in total cholesterol levels.
How to Lower LDL Cholesterol, Regain Normal Cholesterol Levels, and Raise HDL Cholesterol With Supplements
If you don’t like the medical route and the idea of taking a strong medication like niacin for cholesterol doesn’t appeal to you, never fear! There are many different options to help you lower LDL cholesterol, raise HDL cholesterol, and achieve normal cholesterol levels.
There is a wide variety of natural supplements made from amazing foods, and you may find that some of the following supplements will help you restore normal cholesterol levels in your body without needing medication:
- Artichoke Extract – Artichoke Extract is one of the more controversial supplements, as many believe that it is incredibly effective while others remain skeptical.
It is believed to help reduce your LDL cholesterol and cut down on your total cholesterol level. Many people find that the artichoke extract causes gas due to the strength of the artichoke, and some have an allergic reaction to the vegetable.
- Barley – Barley, like all whole and natural grains, contains lots of soluble fiber that will help to get rid of your bad cholesterol.
It is an effective supplement that can help to cut down on your LDL cholesterol, thereby lowering your total cholesterol as well.There should be no allergic reactions to most people that are not gluten-intolerant, and there are no side effects as a result of taking this amazing grain.
- Blond Psyllium – Blond psyllium is usually used in Metamucil, but it is also found in seed husk.
This supplement is effective at lowering your total cholesterol level by cutting down on your LDL cholesterol, thus reducing your risk of heart problems.
The side effects may include stomach pain, gas, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
- Green Tea Extract – Green tea is one of the many things recommended to help lower cholesterol, due to the high levels of antioxidants in the tea. Green tea extract is basically a concentrated version of all the good stuff in the tea, and it will be very effective at helping to lower LDL cholesterol and prevent the cholesterol from oxidizing. Some blood thinning medications will interact negatively with the extract, and it may cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting as side effects.
As with all natural supplements, there are going to be drawbacks and downsides to taking the different nutrients into your body in such concentrated forms. However, the side effects of these natural supplements are much less visible or noticeable than the side effects of medications, and many people prefer the route of natural cholesterol reduction over medications.
Other Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Sans Meds
If you want to take niacin for cholesterol, it will be one of the best ways to lower cholesterol. However, there are other ways to lower cholesterol than medications and the supplements above, and you will find a whole list of other foods and supplements that can help you fight your cholesterol below:
- Guggulipid – As totally hilarious as this supplement sounds, it is actually one of the most effective. It is made from the resin of a specific myrrh tree, and tests in India showed that this resin helps to decrease total cholesterol levels as well as LDL cholesterol. However, a study with negative results was published recently, so doctors have continued to study into the effects of the supplement.
- Garlic – Not only will garlic help to keep all vampires and unfriendly people away, but it can help to fight off cholesterol as well. Garlic can help to drop your blood pressure, but it can also lower your total cholesterol levels as well. Garlic has a blood thinning effect, meaning that it may not go over so well if you consume a lot of it while taking medications to thin out your blood. Still, it can be effective at helping you to fight off cholesterol.
- Red Yeast Rice – Red yeast rice has been used by the Chinese for millennia, and it has proven to be an effective supplement at helping to deal with a number of ailments. .
- Soy Beans – Soy beans are very high in protein, but they are very low in fat and very effective at lowering your LDL cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels. You can find soy in all kinds of products – both delicious and otherwise – and there are few foods that work as well as soy when it comes to keeping cholesterol under control.
- Policosanol – Policosanol is a product of sugar cane, and it has been proven to be effective at cutting down on your LDL cholesterol levels.
These few natural supplements can help you to lower your cholesterol levels without the need for medications.
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