Niacin for Heart, Energy, and Lipid Support

Niacin for Heart, Energy, and Lipid Support

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Niacin as a NAD Precursor

One of the primary functions of niacin is its involvement in energy metabolism. It is a precursor to newly-understood longevity molecules called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). In its role as a precursor for these molecules, niacin participates in reactions critical for the conversion of nutrients into energy. This fundamental role in cellular respiration underscores niacin’s significance in maintaining overall metabolic health. While niacin is a less potent NAD precursor it has been studied with no issues for over fifty years. Today, the more popular NAD precursors sold as longevity supplements are NMN (nicotinic mononucleotide) and NMR (nicotinic riboside) which are still being studied for safety and long-term effectiveness in humans. Many more conservative longevity researchers prefer niacin as a NAD precursor for longevity because of its safety track record.

Niacin for Metabolic Support

Niacin’s impact on cardiovascular health has been extensively studied. Restoring deficiencies of nicotinic acid, a specific form of niacin has been shown to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, often referred to as the “good” cholesterol, while simultaneously lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, the “bad” cholesterol. 

Studies suggest niacin can support healthy levels of lipoprotein biosynthesis in the liver. Niacin has been also shown to support healthy levels of APO B, which is thought to be an independent risk factor for heart disease. Niacin has also been shown to increase lipase enzymes that break down excess. Niacin is also a natural cholagogue that increases bile flow from the liver to support healthy liver, gall bladder, and digestive function.  Studies also show that niacin supports a healthy lining (intima) of the carotid arteries for optimal cardiovascular health. 

See also The Ancient Science of Heart Health: Understanding the Causes of Imbalance

Why Isn’t Niacin More Widely Used?

The two common concerns are cutaneous (skin) flushing and increased liver enzymes. Cutaneous flushing is a harmless reddening of the skin, although it can be a nuisance. Flushing is most often seen with the use of immediate/instant-release forms of niacin. It can occur with doses as low as 30 mg/day, but it is more likely to occur with the much higher doses used to support healthy blood lipids. Flushing may last 10 to 15 minutes and rarely, but possibly, up to two hours.

The proprietary wax-coated technology used in LifeSpa’s Niacin Boost tablets allows a gradual, sustained release of niacin over a sseven-to-eight-hourperiod. This delivery dramatically reduces the flushing associated with immediate-release forms. The special wax-coated form of niacin, as found in Niacin Boost, was found to produce minimal to no flushing based on four human clinical trials.

Niacin Boost Suggested Use: Take 1-2 500mg tablets one to two times daily. Always take with food to avoid possible flushing.

It is important to note that Niacin Boost should not be confused with “no-flush” niacin, which is called inositol hexanicotinate (IHN).  It is important to note that this “no-flush” niacin supplement does not contain any free niacin and may not be as supportive of cardiovascular health as those providing nicotinic acid. By removing the flushing agent, the cardiovascular benefits were removed as well. Some journalists have cited the no-flush niacin studies to incorrectly suggest that niacin does not support metabolic health.

The second concern around niacin use – liver enzyme elevation – was first elucidated by the results of McKenney’s 1994 study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), wherein subjects received 3,000 mg/day of niacin over an extended period of time. In April 2004, McKenney retracted his earlier warnings about the harmful effects of niacin and publicly supported its unique benefits.  Although they generally do not enter an unhealthy range, it is important to be aware that liver enzymes may increase when initiating niacin therapy, especially when taken in amounts greater than 1,000 mg/day. Enzyme levels return to normal promptly after cessation of niacin.

Niacin For Vascular Support

Beyond its lipid-modulating properties, niacin has vasodilatory effects that contribute to improved blood flow. This vasodilation, attributed to the release of prostaglandins, may provide support in dealing with peripheral vascular concerns

Niacin For Skin Support

Niacin’s role extends beyond cardiovascular health to include potential benefits for the skin. By supporting healthy sebum production on the skin, nicotinamide has demonstrated efficacy in improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is why you can find it as a popular ingredient in skincare formulations.

In conclusion, niacin is a multifaceted vitamin with diverse health benefits. Its integral role in energy metabolism, lipid regulation, cardiovascular health, and skin conditions highlights the significance of maintaining adequate niacin levels for overall well-being As with any nutrient, a balanced and varied diet remains crucial to optimal niacin intake, supporting the intricate web of physiological processes that niacin influences.

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Dr. John

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