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While doing a web search on Niacin, I stumbled upon your web page. I see a preventative cardiologist (I think the only one in LA,) Dr. Jerry Rosenberg. I've been taking 500 mg of Niacin three times a day, with meals, though I more than occasionally miss doses. I take a baby aspirin with each dose.
I've had a lot of success lowering my LDL and raising my very low HDL without drugs, and attribute most of it to diet changes and Niacin. As you seem very informed on the subject, I wonder if I might prevail upon you with a couple of questions.
My question: about once every two months, I get a severe reaction--I turn bright red, and my torso, back, arms and legs itch violently for 30-60 minutes. I can't express how violent this itching is--I take cold showers, scratch constantly, but nothing really helps. I've noticed that exercising or showering after taking the niacin can bring this on, so I avoid it.
Yesterday, I had an episode of this that lasted 3 hours (and came on 3 hours after taking the niacin.) It was the most uncomfortable I've ever been in my life. Had I known how long the episode would last, I would have gone to the emergency room. In hindsight, I think I'd been taking only about 1000 mg a day for a week or two, and yesterday only took the one 500 pill with dinner.
My questions: is this a result of my irregular doses; and is there anything I can take to mitigate the symptoms once they arise ? It's the most extraordinarily acute thing that's ever happened to me. I can't envision going through this ever again. Help !
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Kind thanks for any advice you can offer.
One of my favorite subjects is niacin, and I'm troubled that I haven't really written extensively on this before.
So, thanks for the question, giving me the chance to provide some data that can be very helpful to many people.
It is well known that niacin is the safest way of reducing cholesterol counts -- without any other medication. It's also very inexpensive. However, you should know that high cholesterol readings are NOT a risk factor for heart disease. A great majority of doctors will tell you this, but it is not true. If you want to lower it anyway? Niacin will do that very safely. The number one selling drug in America today, Lipitor, at $8 billion per year, is a worthless fraud. Niacin would to a better job, but it still not necessary. Click Here to read my detailed report on cholesterol.
First, what you have experienced is the very well known "niacin flush." It is a very healthy action of niacin, as you'll see as you read.
You get this action from niacin, but NOT from niacinamide. Niacinamide was deliberately created to eliminate those factors in this B3 vitamin which cause the flush. While there are certain benefits from niacinamide, the real winner here is B3, the niacin.
Niacin has the property of causing the small blood vessels to increase in size. These are the capillaries. Now, capillaries are often so small that the blood cells pass through them in single file. It is the capillaries that take care of the vast majority of all the cells in the body. You have large arteries near the heart, and they get smaller and smaller as they extend from the heart. But, at the end of every well-sized artery is a very large network of capillaries.
They all start from the heart -- but at the end of the line they are tiny, tiny capillaries.
Now, there are many miles of the small capillaries in your body -- a vast network which gets within a small fraction of an inch of EVERY cell in the body. It is the capillaries which nourish the cells and which carry away the toxins.
Now, add into this equation the fact that most of the toxins in the body are stored in fat cells. These fat cells can hold on to toxins for years, never letting it go until some "event" (like sweating or exercise). Then, the fat cells give up their toxins and they start leaking out into the surrounding tissues. You can have a slow-leak batch of fat cells that are poisoning you constantly. Much of the disease that plagues mankind certainly comes from the constant slow leak of toxins from these fat cells.
These fat cells, like the millions of others, are all within a fraction of an inch of some capillary, but IF that capillary is clogged (as most often they are), and if the blood cells move through them only one cell at a time (single file), then you can see that there is not much chance for those toxins to be cleaned up by the flow of blood.
If you could find something that would increase the size of these capillaries, and not cause any harmful or adverse reaction, you can see how beneficial this would be.
In fact, niacin does this -- it causes these miles of tiny capillaries to increase in size.
It is the INCREASE in size, partly, which causes your skin to get red.
While there are miles of these capillaries all through your body, it is near the surface of your body where the arteries are NOT! So, as all the large surface of your body, your skin, is nourished by these small capillaries, and as the capillaries get larger, you can naturally see how the skin would show that increase in blood by getting red!
But, there is something else going on. I don't know of very many researchers who have told this story in terms that the average person can understand.
There is another substance to learn a bit about -- it is a hormone called "histamine." You know of this substance when you buy "anti-histamine" medicines. Without getting into a long story on that, the "anti-histamine" substances are meant to reduce the action of histamine -- this is usually not good!
What does histamine do in the body?
Well, first it can be produced by EVERY cell in the body. And, it is nature's warning signal.
Whenever a cell is in danger (as, for instance, from a mosquito bite!), the cells that are in danger emit histamine. That wonderful hormone has the ability to send a message to those places in the body which change the blood flow -- to send more blood (water) to that area to provide the nutrients needed to heal the problem, and to carry away the toxins.
So, when a mosquito bites you, the area around the bite itches and swells. That is the action of histamine coming to the rescue -- bringing extra blood to supply nutrients to the cells that have been poisoned by the mosquito bite, and to carry away the poison.
When a cell is completely overwhelmed (as when it is loaded with toxins) it is in such apathy that it can't even release histamine -- in other words, it is so sick that it can't even call for help.
Now, take a look at those cells near the capillaries. They are often loaded with toxins and there is never enough blood flowing near them to take the toxins away.
Now, put some niacin in your body!
The capillaries increase in size. How much? I don't know exactly, but often at least double in size. Now, you have two blood cells going through the capillary, side-by-side.
The chances that this increased blood flow can take away some of those toxins is at least double what it had been.
As those poor cells start coming back to life -- getting rid of toxins, they rise UP to the level where they can send out calls for help.
They send out small quantities of the hormone, histamine.
Histamine causes an itchy feeling anywhere it goes. It also causes the body to send more water (blood) to that area, but what YOU experience is the red skin and the itchy reaction from histamine.
If you take niacin and DON'T have a flush, it could be that your capillaries are too far gone to be helped, or more likely, you don't have a lot of toxins ready to be removed just then.
So, you should seek the niacin flush. It does a great deal of good for your body -- increasing blood flow, taking nutrients to areas that are starved, and taking AWAY some of those toxins that cause illness, tiredness and disease.
I have actually published MORE than 100 scientific studies about niacin. Click Here to go to the Niacin Technical page, from which you can click to many other pages where niacin studies are shown.
Niacin is a vitamin that has a "getting used to" level. In other words, the first time you take niacin you may have the flush. If you keep taking the same amount each day, you will have the flush, maybe, on the second or third day, but by the fourth day you won't have any flush.
Then is when you should deliberately increase your niacin dose. There is a critically valuable detoxification method based on this increasing dose of niacin -- click here.
If you start with 50 mg per day, you probably won't have a flush -- too small.
If you start with 100 mg, you will probably have that flush. If you keep taking 100 mg of niacin every day, then after one or two days, you won't have the flush. Then, you could increase the dosage to 200 mg.
It is not always predictable. You talk of taking large doses for several days, and then taking only 500 mg and getting a dramatic flush. There are other factors besides food and exercise, but they'll wait for another day.
I took gradually increasing amounts over a long period until I got up to 5,000 mg of niacin per day -- and of course had no flush what-so-ever after a couple days at 5,000 mg!
There is much more I could tell you about niacin -- let me give you a small clue!
When you are experiencing that niacin flush some day, go to a private area, take off your clothing, and observe the pattern of "flush" on your body. It will probably NOT be even! When you've done that, and convince me to tell you more, I'll give you some even more startling information about the niacin flush.
But, there is more I can tell you about niacin.
When I was designing the Super Life Glow formula I knew that I wanted to increase the amount of niacin in it. The regular "Life Glow Plus" that I designed has 100 mg of niacin in the recommended daily dose. Many people have the niacin flush when they first take Life Glow Plus.
But, when I was designing Super Life Glow, I wanted to be more sure that people WOULD get that flush -- so I increased the quantity of niacin to 200 mg per day.
Then some miracle of science happened.
As I was taking my 30 capsules of Super Life Glow every day, I had the flush. No surprise, but what was startling was that I continued to have that flush day after day.
In fact, I continued to get that niacin flush even some months after starting the 30 capsules of Super Life Glow -- and I was taking the same dosage every day -- 30 capsules containing 200 mg of niacin. I would even get a flush taking FIVE of those Super Life Glow capsules -- far less niacin than anyone can explain as still being able to cause the flush.
I think I know why this is happening and it is an even more fantastic health benefit from using the Super Life Glow. I won't tell all of this because I'll bet you a couple nickels that there is no other product in the world which is able to produce a constant, day after day, niacin flush with the same quantity of niacin.
I've done it with Super Life Glow, and for now it will be my secret!
You can, of course, simply take niacin every day, separate from anything else (there are some warnings I should give you on that, though), and increase the dosage so that you continue getting a flush.
The warning? You should never take an "unbalanced" set of vitamins. Don't take lots of niacin without taking all the other vitamins which should be taken in proportion. You can study the 43 ingredients in Life Glow Plus, or the 53 ingredients in Super Life Glow, figure out the proportions among these ingredients and then judge whether you are getting the proper proportions. Click here to see the amazing list of ingredients in Super Life Glow.
So, if you want a niacin flush, every day, try Super Life Glow. It's expensive, but there is nothing like it on the planet!
Now a few more comments about Jeffrey's question.
Yes, the itch and redness can be very dramatic sometimes. And, hardly anything will reduce that experience except time. You should not jump around a lot with a large dose one day and then no niacin for a few days. If you do that, your body will lose its "tolerance" to the niacin and you'll have a big reaction on the day when you take a large quantity.
Normally if you take, say, 100 mg and get the flush, the flush will not be very dramatic. Then increase gradually.
Also, whether or not you get the flush, and how much of a flush, depends on what food you have eaten when. It also depends on whether you've done some exercise before taking the niacin. Sitting in a sauna can be a helpful factor, too.
I'll bet you've never found this much information about niacin anywhere!
Thanks, Jeffery, for giving me the opportunity to write about niacin.
Oh, Jeffery, knock off that aspirin. It is bad news. The "research" that "proved" it was helpful to the heart? Fraud! Maybe I'll write about that some day!
Here is an example of more information on niacin, but unfortunately with the terrible additional advice of using aspirin along with niacin -- deadly. It is NOT that niacin and aspirin have any special problem when taken together -- it is just that aspirin is a drug that kills thousands of people every year and should not be used. Niacin....lower cholesterol-avoid cardiac surgery?
For years I have successfully used niacin to
deal with high cholesterol/triglycerides. In many cases it has done away with
the need for expensive drugs (with some bad side effects) like Zocor or Pravacol.
Do NOT stop your current prescription. Try niacin for a month and see if your
cholesterol drops from what it was with drugs alone. If the results are positive
(I have found it effective in over 80% of my patients) you may want to wean
yourself off the prescription while monitoring your cholesterol.
Your physician may tell you that niacin is dangerous.
Read more about it on the net. I have experienced no problems. Niacin is also
called Vitamin B3.
If you take niacin in an amount significantly larger
than you have been taking in the past few days you are likely to experience a
"flush," or a reddening of the skin and an itchy feeling. Niacin
is a particularly important nutrient for improving the health of the heart and
for improving blood circulation. When you get that "flush" that means that the
small blood vessels in your body are being expanded in size because of the
niacin. Many of your small blood vessels, called "capillaries"
are so small that blood cells can go through them only in single file.
Sometimes, in fact, that small passageway is clogged and blood doesn't get
through at all. While the large organs of the body all have blood
supplied from large arteries, a great deal of your body, particularly the parts
near the surface (skin and surface areas) get their ONLY supply of blood
(therefore also of oxygen and food!) from these small capillaries. So, if
those capillaries are not carrying the blood, then those parts of the body are
not getting nourishment and oxygen. The niacin causes these small capillaries to get larger
-- so they might be able to carry two or three blood cells at the same time.
This is a tremendous increase in blood flow. You experience this as a reddening of the skin --
simply because there is more blood close to the surface of the body. As
this blood flows in these areas the cells of the small capillaries will also be
getting rid of their waste products, and often they produce
"histamine" as part of that process. That histamine is another
natural substance produced by every cell in the body -- when the cell is under
attack, or is getting rid of toxins. Histamine causes an "itchy" feeling. When you take niacin, begin with 100mg/day, for the
first time you are probably going to have that "niacin flush" and feel
itchy and have red skin. Depending on when and what you ate, the sensation could
last for 10 minutes or as long as an hour. It is not harmful or dangerous. Some people worry
about it, but it is actually a sign of very healthy cleansing and improved blood
flow. Once you have had the niacin flush with a particular
quantity of niacin, usually the next day that same dosage of niacin won't create
the same effect, and usually after a few more days you will have none of this
sensation -- until you increase the dosage of niacin. When you take
niacin to a new, higher level (from 100 mg, for instance, to 200 mg) you can
experience the reddening again. "Niacin can be very effective and safe in lowering
low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also in
increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In combination with
other lipid-lowering drugs (eg, bile acid sequestrants), it has reduced the
incidence of cardiovascular events and stopped the progression of coronary
artery lesions. It may be the most cost-effective lipid-lowering agent currently
Niacin is inexpensive and available at any health food
store. I suggest you begin at 100 mg./day. If you are pregnant it is best to
wait until you deliver to begin niacin. Please check your cholesterol and, after
taking niacin for 30 days, check it again.
I would appreciate the results you achieve at email@example.com .
Your physician may tell you that niacin is dangerous. Read more about it on the net. I have experienced no problems. Niacin is also called Vitamin B3.
If you take niacin in an amount significantly larger than you have been taking in the past few days you are likely to experience a "flush," or a reddening of the skin and an itchy feeling. Niacin is a particularly important nutrient for improving the health of the heart and for improving blood circulation.
When you get that "flush" that means that the small blood vessels in your body are being expanded in size because of the niacin. Many of your small blood vessels, called "capillaries" are so small that blood cells can go through them only in single file. Sometimes, in fact, that small passageway is clogged and blood doesn't get through at all.
While the large organs of the body all have blood supplied from large arteries, a great deal of your body, particularly the parts near the surface (skin and surface areas) get their ONLY supply of blood (therefore also of oxygen and food!) from these small capillaries. So, if those capillaries are not carrying the blood, then those parts of the body are not getting nourishment and oxygen.
The niacin causes these small capillaries to get larger -- so they might be able to carry two or three blood cells at the same time. This is a tremendous increase in blood flow.
You experience this as a reddening of the skin -- simply because there is more blood close to the surface of the body. As this blood flows in these areas the cells of the small capillaries will also be getting rid of their waste products, and often they produce "histamine" as part of that process. That histamine is another natural substance produced by every cell in the body -- when the cell is under attack, or is getting rid of toxins.
Histamine causes an "itchy" feeling.
When you take niacin, begin with 100mg/day, for the first time you are probably going to have that "niacin flush" and feel itchy and have red skin.
Depending on when and what you ate, the sensation could last for 10 minutes or as long as an hour.
It is not harmful or dangerous. Some people worry about it, but it is actually a sign of very healthy cleansing and improved blood flow.
Once you have had the niacin flush with a particular quantity of niacin, usually the next day that same dosage of niacin won't create the same effect, and usually after a few more days you will have none of this sensation -- until you increase the dosage of niacin. When you take niacin to a new, higher level (from 100 mg, for instance, to 200 mg) you can experience the reddening again.
"Niacin can be very effective and safe in lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also in increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In combination with other lipid-lowering drugs (eg, bile acid sequestrants), it has reduced the incidence of cardiovascular events and stopped the progression of coronary artery lesions. It may be the most cost-effective lipid-lowering agent currently available.
Niacin is inexpensive and available at any health food store. I suggest you begin at 100 mg./day. If you are pregnant it is best to wait until you deliver to begin niacin. Please check your cholesterol and, after taking niacin for 30 days, check it again.
I would appreciate the results you achieve at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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