One of several forms of the water-soluble B-3 vitamin, vitamin B-3 niacin does a lot for you body. It is used in the all important task of converting fats and carbohydrates into energy. Conveniently appearing in meats, fish, and dairy products, vitamin B-3 is easy to obtain through a healthy diet. It is also available in tablets and capsules as a dietary supplement. Vitamin B-3 niacin is used by doctors to help people with several medical conditions like high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, diabetes and cataracts, just to name a few.
Use of Vitamin B-3 Niacin for High Cholesterol
Vitamin B-3 niacin is often recommended by doctors for patients who need to lower their bad LDL cholesterol levels. It has proven to be more effective than many drugs for raising the amount of good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Because of this, niacin is often used before other cholesterol lowering drugs are prescribed. It does, however, have some possible unpleasant results. When taken in high doses, vitamin B-3 niacin can upset the stomach and cause skin flushing. Other reported side effects include dizziness, blurred vision, and headache.
Atherosclerosis treated with Vitamin B-3 Niacin
Vitamin B-3 niacin has an interesting effect on blood vessels that makes it quite beneficial for individuals suffering from atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats on artery walls. Niacin causes blood vessels to relax and thereby improves blood flow throughout the body. Blockage of arteries brought about by atherosclerosis can put people at a very high risk for more serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack. Blocked arteries in the legs can lead to a condition that makes walking extremely painful. To avoid such issues, vitamin B-3 niacin can be taken to prevent such development of plaque in the arteries. When taken along with certain cholesterol medications, niacin can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack by slowing the rate at which heart disease gets worse.
Diabetes and Vitamin B-3 Niacin
Since many diabetes sufferers also deal with dangers from artery blockage, the above mentioned benefits of vitamin B-3 niacin are applicable to them as well. Besides that, studies have shown that niacin can make the amount of time between necessary insulin injections longer. Unfortunately, some research appears to indicate that niacin could possibly raise blood sugar levels. Clearly, more research needs to be conducted. In the meantime, any treatment of diabetes that involves vitamin B-3 niacin should be well supervised by a doctor.
Other Health Benefits of Vitamin B-3 Niacin
Vitamin B-3 niacin has other medical applications as well. In order to maintain good vision, vitamin B-3 is essential. The development of cataracts can be prevented by taking niacin. Important for the skin, vitamin B-3 is indicated for burn victims because it helps protect against infection while also assisting in the healing process. Niacin is now being examined in an effort to find a treatment for acne and other skin conditions as well.