"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Excess vitamin B3 is linked to an increased risk of heart disease

February 20, 2024 – Taking a B vitamin complement that accommodates niacin could increase your risk of heart disease.

Led by researchers on the Cleveland Clinic, the studypublished within the magazine Natural medicine, seeWe've found that up to at least one in 4 people have higher niacin levels than really useful. (niacin Also called vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid, it was once really useful for lowering cholesterol until statins proved simpler.)

However, when the body breaks down niacin, a byproduct called 4PY is created, which triggers inflammation within the body's circulatory system. This inflammation damages blood vessels and might ultimately result in a plaque called atherosclerosis, which significantly increases the danger of a stroke, heart attack, or other serious heart problem.

“The average person should avoid niacin supplements because we have reason to believe that taking too much niacin may potentially lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” says senior writer Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, chair of cardiovascular and metabolic sciences at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute said in a opinion.

The researchers conducted the study because they suspected unknown risks of heart disease since the disease persists even in individuals who follow all really useful prevention measures, resembling a healthy food regimen, exercise, drinking less alcohol, and controlling weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. Heart disease is that most common cause of death within the United States, contributing to at least one in five deaths in 2021.

For the study, researchers analyzed the blood of several thousand people, first from those that were stable but being monitored for heart problems, and later from a broader population. All analyzes suggested a better risk of heart problems related to excess niacin.

The findings help demystify a medical mystery that has raised concerns concerning the use of niacin to treat high cholesterol. People who took the complement sometimes had a better risk of diabetes, brain bleeding, skin problems and intestinal problems. Ultimately, the complement could help lower levels of cholesterol, but the guts and vascular problems continued in a mysterious way that scientists call the “niacin paradox.”

“The effects of niacin have always been somewhat paradoxical,” Hazen said. “Although niacin lowers cholesterol, the clinical benefits have always been less than expected based on the extent of LDL reduction. This led to the idea that excess niacin caused unclear side effects that partially negated the benefits of LDL lowering. We believe that our results help explain this paradox. This highlights why examining residual cardiovascular risk is so important; We learn so much more than what we set out to find out.”

Niacin has been added to products resembling flour and fortified cereals because the Great Depression of the early and mid-1900s, when niacin deficiency led to a health condition called pellagra. Symptoms of Pellagra These include skin problems, diarrhea and dementia, and it may well be fatal.

“The key takeaway is not that we should cut out all of our niacin intake – that's not a realistic approach,” Hazen said. “Given these findings, a discussion may be warranted as to whether a continued mandate to fortify flour and grains with niacin may be warranted in the United States.”