What is Niacin? Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a micronutrient with a 40-year history of efficacy in supporting healthy lipid levels, especially high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. However, one side effect often makes supplementing niacin a less than pleasurable experience, limiting adherence. Some patients experience flushing when supplementing niacin. However, a properly- manufactured, sustained-release niacin circumvents this side effect. By using a proprietary, natural wax-matrix coating technology, Time Release Niacin is released slowly over a six- to eight-hour period to reduce flushing. This time period is considered the ideal window for releasing equal amounts of niacin into circulation as nicotinuric acid, the beneficial metabolite responsible for niacin’s lipid balancing benefits.[1-2] In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, this specific form of Time Release Niacin had only a 5-7 % flush rate, making it well-tolerated and highly effective for supporting balanced cholesterol levels.
Niacin is required by the body to promote the health and function of the digestive system, liver, skin and nerves.[3-4] It also plays a role in converting food to energy. Niacin is found in dairy products, eggs, grains, fish, lean meats, nuts and legumes. It is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that excess is excreted through the urine and continuous dietary intake is necessary to support optimal health. Niacin is most known for its broad cardiovascular benefits, but is also an important nutrient for bone health, blood sugar balance and cerebrovascular function. [5-9]
Populations that consume adequate levels of niacin have been shown to have better outcomes for long-term health.
Symptoms of mild deficiency of niacin may include indigestion, fatigue, canker sores and depression. Niacin deficiency, if left unattended, can negatively affect brain function leading to apathy, fatigue, disorientation and memory loss.
Cardiovascular Health and Cholesterol Balance†
Niacin has been used since the 1950s to maintain healthy balance of cholesterol levels. Since 1978, researchers have labeled niacin a “front-line” nutrient for cardiovascular support.  The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) panel designated niacin a “first-line therapy” for support of specific parameters related to balancing cholesterol levels in 1988, further emphasizing the micronutrient’s safety and importance in cardiovascular health.  Other studies have shown niacin to enhance long-term cardiovascular health.[7-10]
When taken at doses greater than the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA), niacin:
- Promotes healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels already within the normal range by 20-35%. No other nutrient or compound has been shown to be as effective in supporting healthy HDL levels.
- Maintains healthy lipid particle size. Small low-density lipoprotein (small LDL) particles are an important yet underappreciated marker of cardiovascular function. Niacin is the most effective agent known for supporting a normal cholesterol pattern.
- Supports healthy triglycerides levels. Niacin is especially effective when taken with fish oil (at doses of 1,500-3,000 mg of EPA/DHA daily).
- Supports normal very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles.
- Supports healthy lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a) levels. No other treatment approaches the power of niacin to promote healthy Lp(a) levels, which is among the most important markers of heart health.
- Promotes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) balance.
Niacin supports lipid balance by blocking the release of fatty acids from fat cells. Fewer fatty acids are passed through to the liver, resulting in fewer VLDL particles. Less VLDL leads to less
small LDL and higher HDL. To the benefit of the cardiovascular system, niacin also improves endothelial function and nitric oxide synthase activity which protects blood vessels and promotes healthy circulation.