Author Topic: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides  (Read 1896 times)

SimpleCycle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
  • Location: Chicago
Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« on: August 02, 2017, 12:21:32 PM »
Does anyone have experience using niacin for high cholesterol or high triglycerides?  Both of mine are moderately elevated and my doctor is pushing me toward a statin, but we agreed I could focus on lifestyle changes first.  I have read that niacin can be nearly as effective as medication.

If you used it, did you ask your doctor about it or just use OTC supplements?  Did you have good results?  Did you experience any side effects?

Cranky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 599
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 12:41:43 PM »
I tried niacin for headaches a long, long time ago, and had problems with the niacin flushing side effect. YMMV.

Frankies Girl

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2396
  • Age: 2012
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 12:58:13 PM »
No experience with niacin.

The husband had high cholesterol/triglycerides, and same thing - doc pushing hard for statins. They made him feel pretty awful; he complained of feeling light headed and "weird" and a few other things I can't remember. He stopped taking them and we researched other options.

He started with fish oil, and then switched to krill oil (higher concentration of omegas with less fishy taste), and saw a good improvement in the cholesterol, and while the triglycerides didn't come down as much, they got back within decent range so the doc stopped harping on him to take statins.

Then we switched to a low carb diet - lean meat and veggies and almost no fruits - and started exercising (mostly cardio in the beginning, but last 6 months been lifting weights). He lost over 70 pounds and is now a normal BMI with decent muscle mass. His triglycerides normalized and were great as of 6 months ago. His doc still freaked out tho because it sent his cholesterol rocketing (which is documented as temporarily spiking when you lose large amounts of weight/go paleo) and pretty much refused to consider anything but the numbers at that very moment - no consideration of the weight loss, the hormone dump that happens when you lose a large amount of fat - just very by-the-book and throw-statins-at-it again about high cholesterol... we changed doctors. Husband goes in this month with new doc and we are hopeful that this has been enough time for the cholesterol and triglycerides to have stabilized.
I frequently have no idea what I'm talking about. Like now.

FIREd as of: March 6th, 2015!

afulldeck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 01:12:35 PM »
I was on Niacin for months, during that  time I walked around red and hot with the niacin flush. Everyone laughed. It absolutely had no effect on my cholesterol levels.

Statins did work at lowering my cholesterol level, however, I didn't like the side effects.  I had systemic rolling muscle cramps that would not subside. I've dropped them all together and my doctor is not pleased.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 01:22:34 PM »
I was prescribed Niaspan (slow release niacin) for years.  My doctor said (several years ago) that new studies showed that it didn't actually help reduce risk, and to drop it.

Quick google search hit.

SimpleCycle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 02:03:24 PM »
I was prescribed Niaspan (slow release niacin) for years.  My doctor said (several years ago) that new studies showed that it didn't actually help reduce risk, and to drop it.

Quick google search hit.

Thank you, this made me dig a bit deeper and I found this:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28616955

This meta-analysis concluded that niacin does not have significant benefit on actual disease and mortality, despite lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.

Frankies Girl, your H's story is inspiring.  I am overweight and could do some additional work on diet and exercise, so I think I'll focus my efforts there.

EarthSurfer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: 5280
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 01:17:15 AM »

This meta-analysis concluded that niacin does not have significant benefit on actual disease and mortality, despite lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
.

I have used a slow release niacin for about 5 years to knock my LDL by about 25 points. My tris are already very low, and my diet is mostly devoid of cheap carbs and all grains except for ice cream on very rare occasions! I don't drink alcohol, and I would be considered very fit for a 53 yr old.

The more interesting question posed by the study findings is, "Why didn't lowering cholesterol and triglycerides have a beneficial effect on disease and mortality?"
 
Looks like the indicators observed are not correlated to the outcome.
Retired early, retired often since 1998...

freeat57

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 03:47:20 PM »
Niacin is not a magic bullet for blood lipid levels.  It mainly raises HDL, so that you have a better HDL/LDL ratio.  That can be a good thing, but if you have really high overall lipid levels, that only addresses part of the problem.

In very simplistic terms, the cholesterol in human blood comes from three different sources.  We absorb it from food, we synthesize it in our liver and a few other tissues, and we recycle it in the body.  When a patient presents with high lipid levels, the physician does not  know what mechanism(s) are most responsible for that particular patient's levels.  Some of us eat horrid diets and may be especially good at absorbing cholesterol in the intestines, and others are super synthesizers and make an abundance of their own.  Others, still, simply do not metabolically dispose of it as well as they should.  For proper therapy, the appropriate mechanism should be targeted.  Most physicians generally take a trial and error approach to therapy.  Try something and see if it helps.  The two main types of drug therapy are synthesis inhibition (statins) and absorption inhibitors.

There are things you can do yourself that may be helpful before trying chemical intervention.

1) Eat less cholesterol!  Cholesterol comes from animal based foods.  Plants do not make cholesterol. Reduce or eliminate red meat consumption.

2) Metabolize fats better and absorb less cholesterol.  This is related to #1.   Eat more plant based foods.  Keep it close to nature (i.e. unprocessed veggies, fruits and whole grains, nuts).  The omega-3's do affect the synthesis pathways, so add some fish meals to your diet as well as flax seed meal, etc.  Exercise is also a big help here.  Get out and walk every day, take the stairs, find ways to incorporate more movement into you daily activities.  You will lose weight doing these things.

3) Reduce synthesis.  I am a synthesizer and years ago my physician suggested I try one glass of red wine daily.  I was not a regular drinker.  Now I have one glass of red wine each day.  That is the only alcohol I ever drink.  It, along with my above suggestions has made a major positive difference in my blood chemistry.  Go for the robust, hearty reds.  I only drink 4 ounces, but then again my BMI is 20.7.

Good luck!  You will honestly love your new lifestyle once you get into it.

Note! *I am not a physician, just a humble scientist.*

doneby35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 07:41:15 PM »
Meat... the source of all the bad stuff your body is begging you not to consume. Cholesterol and saturated fat is found in meat. Also oil, use it sparingly. People use oil on everything like it's no big deal.
Eliminate meat and eat a plant based diet. My LDL/triglycerides were high when I was eating meat. Once I transitioned to a plant based diet, i got tested again a month after, results came perfect. Just my 2 cents.

carozy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2017, 12:36:37 AM »
Meat... the source of all the bad stuff your body is begging you not to consume. Cholesterol and saturated fat is found in meat. Also oil, use it sparingly. People use oil on everything like it's no big deal.
Eliminate meat and eat a plant based diet. My LDL/triglycerides were high when I was eating meat. Once I transitioned to a plant based diet, i got tested again a month after, results came perfect. Just my 2 cents.

I gotta second this.  Your cholesterol and tryglicerides will drop on a healthy plant based diet.  More than that - not only will your numbers be good, your health will improve (lots of good nutrition in a whole plant food diet).

Dr. John McDougall's book The Starch Solution is a good starting point.  He gets results.  He also has a website and forum with very active*, healthy people following his program.  The more you stick to his food "prescription" the better results you'll see.  He also has a great nutritionist that has a place on his forum and he answers questions very thoroughly and knowledgably.

Another book I found helpful is Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease** by Dr. Esselstein.  He includes angiogram pictures in the book of the results of arteries after 1 year (or so) on plant based diet, no oil.  Pretty remarkable.  He explains the diet very well.  It's eye-opening stuff.

Good luck!

EDIT: I meant "active" in the sense that they are active on the forum, although they are probably active in their exercise life too!  Also, I bolded the title of the second book.

ONE MORE EDIT: **high cholesterol and high tryglicerides are indications of heart disease, the leading killer of Americans (heart disease causes strokes and heart attacks).  It is caused by eating fat and cholesterol, particularly from animals (cholesterol is generally only found in animals and most plants are very low in fat compared to most meats/dairy/cheese).  That is why a plant based (vegan) diet prevents/reverses it.  The diet recommended by Dr. McDougall is only 10% fat!  You still get the essential fats you need -- in fact, the healthier you eat (lots of greens and whole foods) - you are swamping yourself with the good essential fats.  He explains protein myths, calcium, etc. all very well in his book.

One more book I really like is Senior Fitness by Ruth Heinrich, PhD.  Simply explains health issues common in older generations and how to prevent or treat them with a healthier diet.  Ok, that's it now.  :)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 12:44:38 AM by carozy »

Roots&Wings

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 817
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2017, 07:11:07 AM »
^ Yep, I'll add another vote for this, diet & exercise works. Had borderline high cholesterol and family with heart disease/diabetes taking prescriptions for cholesterol (and eating terribly and not exercising).

Changed diet (Eat to Live is another good book by Dr. Fuhrman) to primarily whole food plant-based and cholesterol is now low/healthy. Best part is feeling so much better!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 07:15:37 AM by step-in-time »

Laserjet3051

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Age: 49
  • Location: SoCal
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2017, 11:17:57 AM »
stop with the pill solutions. improving diet and exercise, as others above pointed out, will work in most cases.

pk_aeryn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2017, 11:32:40 AM »
Best way to lower tricyclercides is to eat little to no sugar, including highly processed grains and other carbs.  I had TG around 250 or so, eating primarily a real foods diet, they are now 70.  (That includes meat for all the veg*n comments in here - meat when not breaded and fried and consumed with other veggies is healthy and necessary).

fuzzy math

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 11:51:57 AM »
Statins have horrible side effects, and are shown to increase the risk of death in the elderly. changing your diet is the best option.

doneby35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2017, 12:35:19 PM »
pk_aeryn - meat is not healthy or necessary in any shape or form. It is a source of cholesterol and saturated fat = BAD.
Plant-based foods have no cholesterol or saturated fat = GOOD.

What makes you believe that meat is healthy or necessary?

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2017, 02:11:11 PM »
Bacon is so darn tasty.

Chippewa

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3575
  • Age: 44
  • Location: In the Poppy Fields
    • stupid debt
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2017, 02:20:37 PM »
every had a Niacin flush. Whoo freaked me out the first time it happened. Harmless. but will take you by surprise. My cholesterol is creeping. Last time I got it down I was doing a ton of hiking.
blog :: stupid debt or journal

frugaldrummer

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 495
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2017, 12:41:53 AM »
High triglycerides usually mean high blood sugars. Low carb diet, exercise. Diabetes and/or hypothyroidism are reversible causes of high cholesterol - in fact, the package insert for statins say that first, these reversible causes should be ruled out.

A Paleo diet with plenty of veggies is a good way to reverse insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.

Btw, aspirin will stop a niacin flush.

chaskavitch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2017, 08:42:39 AM »
Mostly on topic:

I've never used niacin, but anecdotally, statins made me feel weird, even though they did lower my cholesterol.  My doctor didn't believe me, but once I stopped taking them, I stopped getting cramps in my arms, and I stopped getting odd periods of lightheadedness.  My high cholesterol is genetic - my parents and aunts and uncles all have super high cholesterol - mine was high even when I was running 4 days a week, eating no dairy or eggs, eating a ton of fish and oatmeal, all the usual recommendations. 

Currently, my cholesterol is high, but my HDL is awesome, my triglicerides are within the acceptable range, and my HDL : total cholesterol ratio is great. 

Off the original topic: So, everyone is advocating either completely eliminating meat or going full on paleo, lol.  I lean toward the paleo side, just from how I feel when I eat either way, BUT -

The biggest real change with either type of diet is adding significantly more plant matter (both fruits and veggies) than the traditional American diet, which tends to additionally reduce the amount of processed food/cheap carbs/extra sugar you're eating. 

If you're not already eating like that, try it before you completely eliminate meat or gluten or dairy or any single food from your diet.  My favorite recommendation is from Michael Pollan: Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.

Make your plants the main event at your meal, and accessorize with sides of meat, sides of pasta or bread or rice, etc.  Eggs are good for you!  Fat is necessary for hormone production!  Meat is tasty :)

There is so much up in the air about how much dietary cholesterol actually affects blood serum cholesterol, and how much lowering total cholesterol actually helps to prevent heart attacks and plaque buildup.  I can't find any studies right this minute, but I've heard summaries of a few on the Freakonomics podcast about how the guidelines were started and the studies that were picked to back them up, and none of them are really as definitive or comprehensive as they are made out to be. 

How you react to food depends on your body.  Everyone is different. 

Murse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 408
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2017, 01:17:09 PM »
I work in healthcare. I overheard a patient talking with our Dr. (an MD btw) about his cholesterol. The patient said "I used to have high cholesterol but then I started taking garlic pills and it fixed that." The Dr said "yeah, it works but many people don't like smelling like garlic." I would simply look into this topic, possibly ask your Dr. if you are interested.

MsSindy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 487
  • Age: 50
  • Location: Philly Burbs
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2017, 02:06:27 PM »
My DH has always had high cholesterol (hereditary).  He was on the no-flush Niacin and Fish Oil for years with no movement on any of his numbers.  Then he found a statin that didn't give him muscle cramps, and moved his numbers slightly, but were still around 280.  He was about 20 lbs overweight. 

When he hit 50 we went on a plant-based diet and he dropped the 20 lbs in about 4 months (with no exercise!).  His overall cholesterol is just under 200 and his HDL/LDL are within range.  His doctor said as long as he stays on the plant-based diet she is recommending that we begin to lower the statin dosage with the goal of getting him off completely.  He hasn't taken the Niacin for a long time, and I'm trying to convince him that the Fish Oil is probably not doing much good either (and the shit's expensive!).

I so want to get him off of statins - his dad had a triple by-pass at 42 and a double by-pass at 65, so he's scared shitless that this is his future.  At least he's motivated to live healthy!

meghan88

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 352
  • Location: Ontario
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #21 on: August 09, 2017, 08:33:30 AM »
Exercise.

Took me years to convince DH, now he's a convert.  We are both pushing 60 but we feel like we're in our 20's.  We do a mix of strength/isolation and endurance exercises at least twice a week for about 75-90 minutes per session.  We also run for 30 minutes once or twice a week, and I bike everywhere.

The stuff that feels good, like chowing down on crappy food in front of the TV, will kill you.

The stuff that feels bad, like chin-ups or squats or burpees, will save you in every single way you can imagine.

mulescent

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2017, 07:03:29 PM »
Does anyone have experience using niacin for high cholesterol or high triglycerides?  Both of mine are moderately elevated and my doctor is pushing me toward a statin, but we agreed I could focus on lifestyle changes first.  I have read that niacin can be nearly as effective as medication.

If you used it, did you ask your doctor about it or just use OTC supplements?  Did you have good results?  Did you experience any side effects?

Just wanted to chime in here with a couple of additional points.  First, the niacin has been shown pretty conclusively to be of no benefit (the Cochrane review linked earlier summarizes these results).

Second, I totally agree that trying lifestyle changes is a good place to start.  But, I suggest you remain open to statins if your lifestyle changes either don't happen or don't actually lower your cholesterol.  Overall, statins are extremely well-tolerated by most people and remarkably effective.

reformed spendthrift

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2017, 06:41:27 AM »
I have extremely high cholesterol and my doctor told me it wasn't an option to not take statins. I tried 7 different kinds with horrible side effects until I found a fairly new one that doesn't work in the liver. It's called Livalo and although it's expensive there is an online coupon through the manufacturer that brings the price down to $18 a month if you have health insurance. I can only tolerate the lowest dosage and it does seem to mess with my memory but at least I don't have the muscle problems.

SimpleCycle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2017, 07:08:51 AM »
Does anyone have experience using niacin for high cholesterol or high triglycerides?  Both of mine are moderately elevated and my doctor is pushing me toward a statin, but we agreed I could focus on lifestyle changes first.  I have read that niacin can be nearly as effective as medication.

If you used it, did you ask your doctor about it or just use OTC supplements?  Did you have good results?  Did you experience any side effects?

Just wanted to chime in here with a couple of additional points.  First, the niacin has been shown pretty conclusively to be of no benefit (the Cochrane review linked earlier summarizes these results).

Second, I totally agree that trying lifestyle changes is a good place to start.  But, I suggest you remain open to statins if your lifestyle changes either don't happen or don't actually lower your cholesterol.  Overall, statins are extremely well-tolerated by most people and remarkably effective.

Thanks.  I'm open to statins if they're indicted, but my doctor seems very aggressive about it.  I ran my stats through the AHA risk calculator and it said my ten year risk was 0.8%.  I wish it was a conversation instead of what feels like "get your numbers down or else".

GreenSheep

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 498
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2017, 11:20:39 AM »
A lot of doctors don't know that aggressive diet changes can reduce cholesterol significantly. Or maybe they've heard that but don't believe it because they've never seen it happen, because so many people SAY they're making changes but don't really do enough to make a difference. (For example, this isn't related to cholesterol, but the other day my coworker was lamenting the fact that she hasn't lost any weight even though she's only logged 1300 calories a day for the past 5 weeks. A little while later, I saw her grab a handful of candy from another coworker's desk. I did not see her pick up her phone to enter that in her calculations...)

Doctors receive an absolutely pathetic amount of nutrition education -- just a few hours over 4 years -- and most of it is on stuff like scurvy that just doesn't really happen anymore. So you may have to educate your doctor. I would probably either look for another doctor or ignore my doctor and make major lifestyle changes first, but I certainly wouldn't recommend that for anyone else and risk being blamed if it doesn't work!

I get particularly fired up about statins because they're the biggest money maker for pharmaceutical companies. There's no incentive for anyone to give you another option. It's all about the money. These huge corporations don't give a shit about your health. (Not that your doctor is paid directly for writing a statin prescription, or doesn't care about your health, but these companies push their drugs hard, to the point where doctors get more "education" from pharmaceutical companies than almost anywhere else when it comes to certain drugs.)

doneby35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 12:44:39 PM »
Exactly. Most doctors know absolutely nothing when it comes to nutrition. They are trained to manage illnesses, not to prevent them in the first place. They also get rewarded every time they prescribe medication or procedures.

I suggest changing your diet first. You have nothing to lose. If that does not work for you, go with the medication.

High cholesterol and high triglycerides are typically caused by a diet containing high cholesterol and saturated fat (which is found in meat and dairy, plants have neither of those).
Someone also mentioned that it is caused by sugar/glucose. It isn't. Reducing your sugar intake is great but do not ignore the underlying problem which is excess fat/cholesterol in your cells not allowing insulin to transfer glucose from your bloodstream into the cells.


SimpleCycle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 281
  • Location: Chicago
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 12:53:51 PM »
Exactly. Most doctors know absolutely nothing when it comes to nutrition. They are trained to manage illnesses, not to prevent them in the first place. They also get rewarded every time they prescribe medication or procedures.

I suggest changing your diet first. You have nothing to lose. If that does not work for you, go with the medication.

High cholesterol and high triglycerides are typically caused by a diet containing high cholesterol and saturated fat (which is found in meat and dairy, plants have neither of those).
Someone also mentioned that it is caused by sugar/glucose. It isn't. Reducing your sugar intake is great but do not ignore the underlying problem which is excess fat/cholesterol in your cells not allowing insulin to transfer glucose from your bloodstream into the cells.

The bolded is not factually true.  How do doctors get rewarded every time they prescribe a medication?  There is nothing in fee-for-service that compensates them for prescribing, and even value based contracts only reward prescribing in very clear cut medically indicated situations and make an exception for patient refusal. (I work in healthcare in an area related to physician compensation.)

GreenSheep

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 498
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2017, 01:01:41 PM »
SimpleCycle is correct. I think some people think a doctor gets paid some chunk of money each time he/she hands a patient a prescription, but it doesn't work that way. I think most of them truly think they're doing the best thing for the patient because they simply don't know any better. They're not evil. They're just uninformed.

doneby35

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2017, 01:46:49 PM »
I was not saying that doctors are evil, they are just uneducated when it comes to nutrition. Also from my understanding, they don't get rewarded to prescribe drugs, but they do get rewarded from drug makers to help promote a certain drug.

GreenSheep

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 498
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2017, 01:58:04 PM »
I was not saying that doctors are evil, they are just uneducated when it comes to nutrition. Also from my understanding, they don't get rewarded to prescribe drugs, but they do get rewarded from drug makers to help promote a certain drug.

I know you weren't saying that. :-) But there are some people who think that. And you're right, there are doctors who get paid to give a talk about a particular drug, etc. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but this website allows you to look up a doctor to see what (if anything) they make from this sort of thing. There are some very worthwhile medications out there, so I don't think all of this is bad, but you can see what your doctor does and decide for yourself.

https://openpaymentsdata.cms.gov/

slipslop

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2017, 10:06:28 PM »
Someone also mentioned that it is caused by sugar/glucose. It isn't.

If I'm reading this correctly, the American Heart Association says differently:
http://my.americanheart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_425988.pdf

Quote
12. Do sugars cause high triglycerides?

Yes. Added sugars intake does appear to be connected with increased triglyceride levels, a known risk factor for developing heart disease.

Eating added sugars often means a person is consuming less fiber. This is important because increasing fiber in the diet is associated with decreasing energy intake (calories), which can result in weight loss. For those who are at a greater than ideal body weight, weight loss is an important therapy for lowering triglycerides.

Fructose is metabolized differently than other sugars such as glucose. Because it may raise triglycerides, its use should be limited if levels are outside the normal range (See question 11).


From my own experience, I can say that my triglycerides dropped from 'high' to 'normal' when I started eating low carb. To the original poster, if you're considering dietary changes, I'd suggest making a list of a few options (low carb, better fats, etc.) and try one at a time. If one doesn't work for your body, it's okay, it just means that it's time to try the next option.

chaskavitch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2017, 03:05:52 PM »
Does anyone have experience using niacin for high cholesterol or high triglycerides?  Both of mine are moderately elevated and my doctor is pushing me toward a statin, but we agreed I could focus on lifestyle changes first.  I have read that niacin can be nearly as effective as medication.

If you used it, did you ask your doctor about it or just use OTC supplements?  Did you have good results?  Did you experience any side effects?

Just wanted to chime in here with a couple of additional points.  First, the niacin has been shown pretty conclusively to be of no benefit (the Cochrane review linked earlier summarizes these results).

Second, I totally agree that trying lifestyle changes is a good place to start.  But, I suggest you remain open to statins if your lifestyle changes either don't happen or don't actually lower your cholesterol.  Overall, statins are extremely well-tolerated by most people and remarkably effective.

Thanks.  I'm open to statins if they're indicted, but my doctor seems very aggressive about it.  I ran my stats through the AHA risk calculator and it said my ten year risk was 0.8%.  I wish it was a conversation instead of what feels like "get your numbers down or else".

This too.  When I was first prescribed statins, the only risk factor I had was a family history of strokes (three grandparents, but at the age of like 75).  I had a middle of the road BMI (5'4", about 135 lbs) active lifestyle (lifting weights and doing taekwondo 4-5 days/week), 26 years old, non-smoker, non-drinker, no drugs, etc.  I have no idea why they were prescribed, tbh.

purple monkey

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 315
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2017, 07:46:23 PM »
Have heard several people that decreased their numbers with niacin, if they could tolerate the flushing.

Also heard that many use red yeast.

Good luck.

Statins are sometimes more challenging than the blood levels they are intended to control.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1455
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2017, 08:43:52 PM »
I only scanned the responses, but I think there are studies coming out that suggest that having high cholesterol is not as awful as we thought it was?  IDK.  Worth looking into.  Especially if you are otherwise fit and healthy.  I know of an ironman triathlete this is in great shape (obviously), eats a very healthy diet, and has high cholesterol.  Most in his family do, too, yet they live well into their 90s with those numbers.  Take this with a grain of salt, I'm no medical pro, and I'm generally very medication averse.  I'll down a bunch of water and try to wait out a bad headache for hours before taking a tylenol.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1455
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2017, 08:47:20 PM »
And I've also heard that sugar and simple carbs can really increase cholesterol much more that fatty foods.  Just like how sugar makes you fat and butter doesn't.  Fat-free things were such a fad years ago, and people just got fatter because packaged products took the fat out and put extra sugar in instead.  Remember snackwells?!

RWD

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1442
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2017, 08:48:20 PM »
I only scanned the responses, but I think there are studies coming out that suggest that having high cholesterol is not as awful as we thought it was?  IDK.  Worth looking into.  Especially if you are otherwise fit and healthy.  I know of an ironman triathlete this is in great shape (obviously), eats a very healthy diet, and has high cholesterol.  Most in his family do, too, yet they live well into their 90s with those numbers.  Take this with a grain of salt, I'm no medical pro, and I'm generally very medication averse.  I'll down a bunch of water and try to wait out a bad headache for hours before taking a tylenol.

Agreed. Cholesterol shouldn't be messed with just to get a "better" number.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html

MBot

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 437
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2017, 08:55:57 PM »
After working closely with cardiologists in many cities/hospitals/clinics... and seeing cardiology patients for assessment at my job every single day... (in a tech/imaging role) I can tell you most cardiologists are 100% behind nutrition and diet changes.

Doctors are not unaware that they work. Most of them aren't taking any statins themselves! (a few are). But most of them? They're eating salmon and oatmeal and taking walks around the block with their spouses.

They're just super-familiar with the reality that 80% of their patients will not make the changes even if they claim they will "try" them

So yeah, get off your duff and change your lifestyle, your doctor will be 100% behind you... once you actually do it. But if you're just another person that gives lip service to making changes, lets their arteries clog up and doesn't want "side effects" but is totally fine with getting diastolic dysfunction from high blood pressure instead of the medication... you may get some skepticism.

Because doctors don't want the best to be the enemy of the good. Better to be alive on pharmaceuticals than dead with a half-hearted "health change"

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1538
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2017, 10:57:49 PM »
I only scanned the responses, but I think there are studies coming out that suggest that having high cholesterol is not as awful as we thought it was?  IDK.  Worth looking into.  Especially if you are otherwise fit and healthy.  I know of an ironman triathlete this is in great shape (obviously), eats a very healthy diet, and has high cholesterol.  Most in his family do, too, yet they live well into their 90s with those numbers.  Take this with a grain of salt, I'm no medical pro, and I'm generally very medication averse.  I'll down a bunch of water and try to wait out a bad headache for hours before taking a tylenol.

Agreed. Cholesterol shouldn't be messed with just to get a "better" number.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html
Mercola is a quack from way back.

RWD

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1442
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Niacin for high cholesterol/triglycerides
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2017, 07:20:45 AM »
I only scanned the responses, but I think there are studies coming out that suggest that having high cholesterol is not as awful as we thought it was?  IDK.  Worth looking into.  Especially if you are otherwise fit and healthy.  I know of an ironman triathlete this is in great shape (obviously), eats a very healthy diet, and has high cholesterol.  Most in his family do, too, yet they live well into their 90s with those numbers.  Take this with a grain of salt, I'm no medical pro, and I'm generally very medication averse.  I'll down a bunch of water and try to wait out a bad headache for hours before taking a tylenol.
Agreed. Cholesterol shouldn't be messed with just to get a "better" number.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/the-cholesterol-myth-that_b_676817.html
Mercola is a quack from way back.
Hmm, based on a quick search it seems you are right. I didn't pay attention to the author of that article.

Is this a more reasonable article?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/10/feds-poised-to-withdraw-longstanding-warnings-about-dietary-cholesterol/