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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about the new study regarding Niacin?

Asked by JLeslie (60720points) July 17th, 2014

On GMA they just talked about a new study of people with previous cardiac disease, and it says taking large doses of Niacin is dangerous. Side effects like diabetes, infection, bleeding, and does not reduce incidents of heart attacks or stroke, but did reduce bad LDL cholesterol and raised good cholesterol HDL. You might know that I have always believed you can “OD” on B vitamins and other water soluble vitamins, but this study does have me questioning whether the company that funded the study is happy with the result or not? Merck conducted the study, so did they want to promote their cholesterol drug, or were they interested in making a new drug with B3 in it? My guess is the former. All these studies are a nightmare when you start picking them apart.

Edit: It seems Merck was testing a niacin drug they made that also has an anti-flushing property so who is to know if it is the anti-flushing drug is the actual real problem.

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16 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I would never take Niacin that had been engineered, especially engineered to take the flush away. That was the main benefit of taking the Niacin. That flush was the Niacin busy at work cleaning your blood supply.

janbb's avatar

I pretty much think taking large doses of any supplement isn’t good for you and try to meet my needs with food.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb You inspired me to look up what foods have higher amounts of B3, I had no idea which one’s before googling it. I wonder if most people actually have low levels of Niacin?

cazzie's avatar

I think cholesterol meds are some of the biggest scams on the market today, so no, I wouldn’t buy into any of this. If they did what they are claimed to do, then we would be seeing a real decline in heart disease and coronary deaths, but we aren’t. It’s all a misuse of numbers from a laboratory to sell drugs.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie What is the overall point of view about risk of heart attack and cholesterol numbers where you live? I’ve read some articles that some countries worry more about calcium levels and vitamin K2 and D.

filmfann's avatar

I have taken large doses of Niacin before, and I would not recommend it to any heart patient.

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie The cholesterol lowering meds just aren’t prescribed here at the same rate because their end result does nothing more than accumulate money for the drug companies, and our healthcare is State run and therefore, more pragmatic in its approach. The largest factor that has been seen in recent history to lower heart disease is the introduction of ‘light milk’. By changing the population on to a lower milk fat product, they lowered incidents of heart attacks. It’s a cultural thing here, drinking milk and raising kids on milk instead of cool aid.

Vitamin D has been addressed here in Norway, for obvious reasons, and our margarine and butter is fortified with it, but not all of our milk. There is a custom of taking fish oils that contain large concentrations of vitD and we give it to our children as their bones are growing. This was done to irradiate rickets and there have been studies done that recommend further supplementation in our foodstuffs, mainly due to new cultures immigrating here with their own diets that do not involve supplimenting with fish oils or eating the fish on a weekly basis. Groups found to be at highest risk were Pakistani and Vietnamese.

The point of view here about heart attacks is it is genetic. You can have wonderful cholesterol levels and be struck down, like your father and uncle were, at 55. It is more genetic and warning signs and awareness and risk factors like smoking, stress and excessive drinking are addressed. If you have a fat gut and smoke and drink and have a stressful job or home, there is no magic pill. They will send you, if you want, to a health clinic, where you are taught diet and lifestyle tips and put a pack on your back and you will go on skiis in the winter or walk up the mountain in the summer and stay at cabins where you can enjoy a camp fire and camp food and then you will walk back down again. Diet, Exercise, Self-awareness. No shortcuts.

JLeslie's avatar

@cazzie I do think big business pharma has a lot to do with doctors being obsessed with statin drugs.

Does Norway consider vitamin D a link to heart disease, or they just take vitmain D seriously for bone health and maybe overall health because of the lack of sunlight?

cazzie's avatar

@JLeslie it’s for bones, of course, because of rickets. But they know that is needed for other things as well. We are encouraged to eat food naturally high in vit D. When I was pregnant, they asked several questions about my intake of fatty/oily fish and encouraged me to increase it. I did. My kid has had untold bad falls and never a broken bone. He’s a ginger, so any sun he gets goes right in. ;)

I eat ocean salmon like used to eat chicken in New Zealand; once a week. Then there are snacks of tinned sardines and mackerel on toast. Of course, they also know that the essential fatty acids in these fish also help with vascular and nerve function. So, no pills. Just eating good food.

50micrograms per day for an adult is considered just fine. Taking larger amounts for long periods of time can cause it to accumulate in the kidneys.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A little off topic, but I quit taking my vitamins and noticed a difference that same day….for the better.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie; The link you cited appeared on March 11, 2013., it said: ”Tradaptive was already being abandoned by Merck earlier on this year. In January 2013, doctors were being told that Tredaptive does not work and can cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects. Physicians were told by Merck to stop prescribing the drug.

JLeslie's avatar

I didn’t notice the date. Thanks for pointing it out. I wonder if the doctor on Good Morning America was talking about a newer study?

gailcalled's avatar

July 17, 2014 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine appears to be the source.

“Supported by grants from Merck, the U.K. Medical Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, and Cancer Research U.K. (to the University of Oxford), and by a grant from the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, Oxford (RE/08/004, to Dr. Hopewell).”

First 100 words of the editorial in the same issue, entitled “NIacin and HDL Cholesterol – Time to Face Facts.”

JLeslie's avatar

The second link basically says that they have no real proof of HDL’s correlating to risk of heart disease. Yet, most American doctors think there is a correlation. it’s interesting to me that doctor sometimes believe things when there is no proof, and they even believe there is proof, because it is a commonly held belief in the medical community, and at the same time they will tell a patient a logical idea of theirs is wrong, because it hasn’t been proven. It might never have been tested yet. For sure big pharma influences this among other things.

I wonder if Merck was forced to do the study or maybe did it in a last ditch effort to keep their drug on the market maybe? The absolute increases in bad side effects is not that huge, but if there is no benefit why take the risk or pay the money?

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@JLeslieit’s interesting to me that doctor sometimes believe things when there is no proof, and they even believe there is proof, because it is a commonly held belief in the medical community, and at the same time they will tell a patient a logical idea of theirs is wrong, because it hasn’t been proven. It might never have been tested yet. For sure big pharma influences this among other things.”

Among other things lies Malpractice!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Not necessarily mal practice. If it is a standard of practice the doctor is free and clear. It is standard practice in America to prescribe all these statin drugs and cholesterol lowering drugs. The pharma companies know there will be some people harmed by their drugs and they are forced to set money aside when they bring drugs to market.

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