Niacin, the Necessary Nutrient

Niacin, the Necessary Nutrient

Niacin has a broad range of application from ...Obesity, Cholesterol Control With Good Diet and Niacin...to diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis.

Obesity, Cholesterol Control With Good Diet and Niacin

Being overweight creates dangers of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, respiratory illness, cancer, joint problems, inflammation, and a multitude of other factors that affect our elimination, nervous system, digestion, and reproductive system.

 

The increase in obesity is a national problem; two thirds of North America is overweight or obese. Based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys the rate of change in our children is of utmost concern. It has nearly tripled in the last 19 years.

 

    Age

    1976-1980

      2003-2004

2 to 5 year old

5% overweight

13.9% overweight

6 to 11 year old

6.5% overweight

18.8% overweight

12 to 19 year old

5% overweight

17.4% overweight

 

Risk for heart disease is occurring as early as the age of 25. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics has gone even so far as to recommend cholesterol lowering drugs for eight year old kids. However, it is well established that cardiovascular disease is not caused by a failure to take enough pharmaceuticals as a child. It is a lifestyle disease.

 

The Academy does state that the first course of action is physical activity and nutritional counseling which places exercise and proper diet as most important for children.

 

As for cholesterol issues niacin (vitamin B3) even at low doses offers an inexpensive, safe, and effective way to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). The president of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Steven E. Nissen in the New York Times (Jan23,’07) stated, “Niacin is really it. Nothing else available is that effective.” Niacin is the only vitamin that is given drug status because of its cholesterol lowering abilities.

 

As for weight control niacin has an indirect affect on over-eating. Niacin is essential to health, so a deficiency in the body begins a process of converting the amino acid l-tryptophan into niacin. This can produce a deficiency of l-tryptophan which is converted into serotonin the necessary brain chemical that tells the brain that one has eaten enough food. If this message is not received then a person can easily eat much more than the body needs unaware that satiation should have occurred.

 

Also, niacin moves fat from tissues for fat metabolism, burning it for energy. It is also vital for the production of hydrochloric (stomach) acid promoting good digestion. It promotes healthy skin, the health of the myelin sheath (the protective covering of the spinal nerves), and helps protect the pancreas.

 

Niacin releases histamine that dilates the blood vessels, called the "niacin flush", which temporarily produces heat, redness, and possible itching of the face, chest, back and legs for about ten to fifteen minutes. Some people enjoy the flushing and others dislike it and prefer non-flush niacin.  Some people mistake the flushing as an allergic reaction, which it is not.

 

Niacin also dilates the capillaries in the brain and can help to relieve depression, delusions and dementia. It is also used clinically as an aid for schizophrenia, migraines, vertigo, high blood pressure, acne and diarrhea. A deficiency causes a disease called Pellagra characterized by diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis. It is available as tablets or capsules in 50mg to 1000mg dosages. The low dosages of 100 to 200mgs have shown almost as much effectiveness for some individuals as high dosages.

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