How to Lower Cholesterol

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 No Commented
Categorized Under: Hypertension

We are obsessed with cholesterol nowadays and with a good reason. It plays a major role in developing conditions that lead to cardiovascular diseases, from heart attack to stroke. Nobody needs to be reminded how deadly these illnesses have become in a modern world, with governments intent on preventing a lifestyle that takes us down that path. Health care systems record ever increasing numbers of fatalities and hospital stays related to disorders that stem from inadequate blood circulation. And since cholesterol is at the center of the processes that accumulate into heart attack or stroke, medical professionals and patients have turned to solutions that promise to tackle it head on.

Niacin might not be a magical cure that saves our civilization, but it is tiny little vitamin that is worth looking at for people who are interested in more natural ways of meting out a blow to their cholesterol levels. Also known as vitamin B3, it has been effective not only in reducing the amount of bad cholesterol but also raising the level of the so-called good cholesterol, or HDL. Its effect on helping clear out plaque from the arteries is exactly what is needed to give patients an effective treatment. It is by clogging these blood transporting channels that cholesterol contributes to the breakdown of the system and its undesirable consequences. Niacin has been shown to have a role in slowing down or stopping these processes.

Some people suggested that taking niacin together with statin, another substance that has cholesterol-lowering quality, might produce an even better result. A study that was designed to test this hypothesis in scientific conditions proved the proponents of this treatment wrong. Apart from increasing the complexity and costs of the therapy, subjects who took both substances were at a greater danger, albeit marginally, of suffering from a stroke than those who only consumed niacin. The conclusion was that treatments need to be simplified.

Conventional doctors have warmed up to vitamin B3 as a way to target high cholesterol, but some reservation remained. First, if taken in large doses and for an extended period of time, it can be toxic to a human body. It requires care and caution from patients, even though it is a diet supplement and sold without a prescription anywhere. Second, it has produced mild side effects even when taken in moderation, resulting in symptoms such as hot flushes, nausea and queasiness. Unfortunately, quite a lot of patients have complained about this sort of reactions. There is also something possibly much more important, which has to do with a patient psychology more than treatment effectiveness or safety. Niacin might be seen as a replacement for changes in lifestyle that are necessary to avert unwanted consequences of cardiovascular problems. Taking a pill looks like a much less complex activity in comparison to eating better food, doing regular exercise or quitting smoking and other destructive habits. Its availability as a diet supplement also creates an urge to circumvent medical advice, which is never a good idea.