Studies: Popular Cholesterol Treatment Too Dangerous
Niacin dramatically increases your risk of diabetes, report finds
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 17, 2014 12:28 PM CDT
In this Wednesday, May 15, 2013, file photo, a pharmacist works at his desk located next to the prescription pick up counter in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – Niacin sure sounds like a safe drug—it's a B vitamin; you can get it over the counter and in your cereal. And for years, doctors have been prescribing it in the hopes of cutting LDL, or "bad cholesterol," while increasing HDL, or "good cholesterol." But two reports released yesterday indicate that it doesn't reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke at all—but does carry other dangers. One study found that patients who had niacin added to their cholesterol treatments saw their diabetes risk spike 32% over four years, NBC News reports.

That's on top of already recognized side effects like stomach ulcers, heartburn, and diarrhea. "I think we've wasted a lot of money, caused a certain amount of harm," by prescribing niacin, one cardiologist said; from 2002 to 2009, niacin prescriptions tripled to 700,000 a month in the US, with sales hitting about $800 million a year. Cardiologists had, however, already begun shying away from the drug in light of earlier research—a 2011 study, for example, indicated that it may increase certain stroke risks. But the Mayo Clinic still recommends niacin, and many doctors agree, Dr. Harlan Krumholz at the New York Times reports. Some doctors point out that the studies focused on high-risk patients, and that niacin could be useful for other patients.

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Showing 3 of 27 comments
Box1Car
Jul 19, 2014 11:14 AM CDT
Read "The 8-week Cholesterol Cure" by Dr.Kowalski> Problem solved, IT WORKs
RAD45
Jul 18, 2014 11:27 AM CDT
Moderation in all things...
Mark Dreher
Jul 17, 2014 10:15 PM CDT
The best treatment for high cholesterol, is "a bowl of oatmeal. per day". That, alone, will lower your high cholesterol, by about 25% Natural, and good. If you are overweight? Flavor the oatmeal, with ginger, this "will speed up your metabolism, by about 20%". Another blessing. Skim is much better for you, if possible, skim milk has much more vitamins in it and at the same time it does not clog up your arteries. (It may not seem logical that skim milk has a lot more vitamins in it, but when they remove the fat, it is replaced simply by "the milk stuff" itself, and that has a lot more vitamins in it than the inert fat that it replaces.) If you don't like the taste of skim, just buy a gallon and force yourself to go through it, by the end you will love it, and your dietary change alone will probably tack ten years onto the end of your life. That was the best gallon of milk you ever drank, it got you started on the path to long life. Don't give slim milk to children however, they need a little fat, 2% milk for them. Babies would get whole milk, unless they are obese. Manna can be sweetened with your favorite low cal sweetener, or not. Good both ways. The little blue or pink packets of sweeteners are mostly good, in a pinch, but they do each contain a little bit of sugar added when in the packet form (look at the first ingredient of both packets, glucose, which is sugar). The absolute best no cal sweetener for the cereal and the cookies is Equal "by the spoonful", as it is pure and sugar free, it does not contain the little extra sugar of the packets. To locate it in the store, take a look at the unique disperser bottle: http://www.equal.com/equal-original/spoonful This would be the very best sweetener for diabetics also, you will find that all the rest of the so called "low cal sweeteners" actually contain a lot of sugar, just labeled in an unusual way. You normally have to look around and hit a few stores before you can find it in this "spoon out container", which will tell you that it is truly sugar free, and "no cal". (Scientists in the know call sugar "pure cancer food". Sugar is also the main cause of all heart disease, all tooth decay, all obesity, and all diabetes. Keep that stuff locked up next to your rat poison.)