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Treatment to lower cholesterol may include the B vitamin niacin. But this is rare. Niacin may be combined with other medicines. It's available by prescription. It's also sold over the counter as a dietary supplement. But the dietary supplement form is not advised for lowering cholesterol. Dietary supplements such as niacin are not regulated by the FDA. Take niacin only if your healthcare provider tells you to.
Niacin helps lower triglyceride levels. It also helps raise HDL (good) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol carries fat away from arteries. Niacin also helps reduce the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol that your body makes.
Niacin can cause side effects. Some forms of niacin cause your skin to flush. This can be controlled by changing the dose or the time of day you take it. You may also want to take it with food. Or you could try a different medicine combination. Other possible side effects include itching, tingling, and nausea. Large doses of niacin over a long time can cause liver damage. And niacin may interact with other medicines and supplements. Work closely with your healthcare provider when taking niacin.
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