Vitamin B3 Better Than Statin Drugs
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Vitamin B3 Better Than Statin Drugs

Vitamin B3, or niacin, lowers cholesterol levels better than statin drugs. Research has shown HDL levels can be lowered by 35% in some cases.

More effective than statin drugs, vitamin B3 or niacin, has been found to substantially lower LDL cholesterol levels, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Niacin was given in doses of 1,000mg to 2,000mg, in its non-blushing or slow-release form. The journal stated "the most effective way to lower cholesterol is with the B vitamin niacin (also called B3), not statin drugs.”

Several studies have shown niacin is not only effective at raising ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, often by as much as 35%, but it can also reduce LDL by up to 25%. In comparison, statins only raise HDL by between 2% and 15%. Niacin also reduces levels of two other important markers for heart disease – lipoprotein(a) and fibrinogen. A 35% decrease in lipoprotein(a) after 26 weeks on niacin was found in one study carried out by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Other studies have reported similar results, and a review of the findings concluded that no pharmaceutical drugs are as effective as taking niacin at high doses.

There were some reported mild side-effects including indigestion, raised plasma glucose and uric acid levels, although the latter effects were not confirmed in recent studies. However, these side effects are mild compared to those associated with statin drugs.

Another ‘side effect’ from taking niacin is its ‘blushing’ effect. Taking 500mg twice a day produces flushing for the first couple of days. These effects will diminish after a day or two. The other option is to take a slow release version of the vitamin. There is a ‘non-flushing’ form of niacin called inositol hexanicotinate, however, its effect on cholesterol levels is still unknown as no clinical trials have tested this form.

Good food sources of vitamin B3 include: shiitake mushrooms, chicken, tuna,  salmon, asparagus, halibut, venison, calf's liver and turkey.


M.D. Ashen and R.S. Blumentahl, 'Clinical Practice. Low HDL cholesterol levels', New England Journal of Medicine, 2005; 353(12):1252-60

P.L. Canner, K.G. Berge, et al., 'Fifteen year mortality in Coronary Drug Project patients: long-term benefit with niacin', Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 1986; 8, 1245−1255.D. Holmes, 'An answer to angina', Holistic Health, 1995; 46:20-23

M. J. Chapman, et al., 'Niacin and fibrates in atherogenic dyslipidemia: Pharmacotherapy to reduce cardiovascular risk', Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2010; 126(3):314–45

M. John Chapman, P. Giral, et al., 'Niacin and fibrates in atherogenic dyslipidemia: Pharmacotherapy to reduce cardiovascular risk', Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2010; 126:314–345

I. Gouni-Berthold, HK Berthold, 'Lipoprotein(a): Current Perspectives', Current vascular pharmacology, 2 May 2011. [Epub ahead of print]

Photo: Ardelfin

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Comments (3)

Thanks for the info on vitamin B3, voted.

Well presented..voted

this is good to know. i am keeping mine in check with vinegar, but will try to eat more B3 as well.