Niacin as a Complementary/Alternative Medication for Cholesterol Management
Cholesterol accounts for a certain portion in the cardiovascular profile. The properties of molecules that help in transporting cholesterol through the blood, known as lipoproteins, give vital insights to the development of atherosclerosis. The magnitude and density of the lipoproteins are the two major properties that are responsible for cardiovascular risks. Niacin has been observed to result in significant benefits by altering the composition of cholesterol. It is particularly effective in increasing the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL also known as “ good cholesterol”), but in comparison to the other cholesterol lowering drugs, niacin is less effective minimizing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL also known as “ bad cholesterol”). To the end, this paper exemplifies on the use of niacin as a complimentary medication for cholesterol management. The paper will in particular discuss about the patient safety, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based practice while in the process of using Niacin for cholesterol control.
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid, is a vitamin B3. Naturally, it occurs in plants and animals, and is also included in food products as a supplement. The vitamin B3 is available in multiple vitamins, and nutritional supplements. Niacin is used for a variety of medical practices including, prevention of deficiency in the natural niacin in the body, and lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. In regard to cholesterol treatment, niacin has been evidenced to work effectively. There has been several studies conducted to determine the effectiveness of the niacin in cholesterol management. The studies have shown that, niacin is able to boost the levels of good HDL cholesterol better compared to some prescription drugs. According to statistics, niacin helps raise the level of HDL cholesterol by 15 to 35 percent. Considering these statistics, niacin is the most effective drug available for incrementing the level of HDL cholesterol. It also modestly lowers LDL cholesterol. High levels of LDL contribute to the risks associated with heart diseases. Niacin is often used to compliment statins such as Crestor (rosuvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), and Lipitor (atorvastatin) for cholesterol management. In addition, niacin is used to lower the risks of heart attack in the individuals who had already suffered from a heart attack.
The HDL cholesterol is responsible for picking up the LDL cholesterol in the blood and transporting it the liver for disposal. When an individual has a higher HDL cholesterol, they will have less of the LDL in their blood. The units of measuring the levels of cholesterol are milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). In men, the recommended level of HDL cholesterol, which risk of heart disease become minimal is above 40mg/dl or 1 mmol/L. For the women, levels of HDL under 50mg/dl or 1. 3 mmol/L increases the chances of heart disease attacks. The ideal level of HDL for people is regardless of their gender is above 60mg/dl or 1. 6 mmol/L. It is therefore risky to have a low level of HDL as it contributes to an increase in the chances of heart disease occurrence. Though the levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors may be normal, having a low level of HDL significantly increases the risk of heart disease.
In the management of cholesterol, niacin has to be used in quite high doses. The doses have been shown to pose some health risks such as liver damage, gastrointestinal problems, and glucose intolerance. In regard to the imminent risks that may result after using niacin, it is crucial that the patient seeks advice for a doctor who can prescribe FDA-approved doses of niacin. It is very dangerous for patients to treat themselves using the over-the-counter niacin supplements as this compromises their safety. There exist many ways of using niacin for cholesterol treatment, and this calls for the expertise of a doctor or a physician. Normal body functionality is influenced by the amount of niacin—from food or supplements—that is consumed. The amount of niacin varies from one individual to the other and is referred to as the dietary reference intake (DRI), a new terminology y that is being used in place of the earlier commonly known RDA (recommended daily allowance). Niacin consumption levels vary with age and personal attributes.
– Children should take in 2 to 16 milligrams daily depending on age
– Men are recommended to take about 16 milligrams daily.
– Women should consume 14 milligrams daily.
– Pregnant women should take 18 milligrams daily.
– Women who are breastfeeding should intake 17 milligrams daily.
– The maximum daily consumption across all the ages is 35 milligrams daily.
However, the ideal dosage of niacin is dependent on how it is being used. For instance, in the treatment of cholesterol, higher doses of about 2 to 3 grams of niacin are used. Supervision services from a knowledgeable health care provider are required because of the potential side effects and interactions with the medications. The high doses of niacin result in side effects such as flushing, which is a burning, tingling sensation in the face and chest, and red or flushed skin. It has been found recommendable to take an aspirin 30 minutes before niacin to help reduce this side effect. In the process of treating cholesterol, high dosage is used, and this causes liver damage and stomach ulcers. The health care provider can conduct blood tests to monitor the functionality of the liver, and use measures that are aimed at reducing this side effect. The people who have had a history of liver complications, kidney diseases, or stomach ulcers should not use niacin as it would aggravate their situation as opposed to making it better. Close supervision by a doctor is required for those patients using niacin, and having diabetes or gallbladder diseases. As precautions, people with low blood pressure should not take niacin without the scrutiny from their doctors as large doses contribute to significantly large drops in the blood pressure. In addition, those patients with coronary artery diseases or unstable angina need to have close supervision from a doctor before they intake niacin. Intake of niacin may cause a rise in the risk of heart rhythm problems.
In conclusion vitamin B3 may be used as a compliment in altering the properties of cholesterol. Niacin helps in increasing the levels of ‘ good’ cholesterol while fairly suppressing the levels of ‘ bad’ cholesterol. The treatment procedure involves the use of a large dosage of vitamin B3. This therefore demands for close supervision coupled with clinical reasoning for effective administration of the drug for patient safety. Precautions have to be taken for prevention of detrimental symptoms that are associated with the intake of niacin.
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