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Niacin shown to be ineffective at reducing risk of heart attack or stroke

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Many people who receive unhealthy cholesterol tests are advised to begin taking niacin supplements. Evidence has shown that people with higher levels of the nutrient tend to have better heart health. However, a new study questions the utility of this nutrient for supporting healthy cholesterol levels.

A team of researchers from the University of Buffalo administered statin medications to 1,718 individuals who had high cholesterol, but otherwise well-controlled heart disease. Half the group also received niacin supplements.

The results showed that those who took the active supplements did experience improvements in HDL cholesterol levels. However, this did not translate to a decrease in their risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

The team said the take-home message of their investigation should be that niacin supplements may have certain cardiovascular benefits, but that individuals who are at immediate risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke should not rely on them to boost their heart health.

Individuals should continue to follow the advice of their doctor for lowering their cholesterol, the researchers said. This may be accomplished through a healthier diet or more exercise.

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