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Niacin Useful For Diabetics
28 October 2002
by Wyn Snow, Managing Editor

Contrary to the prevailing medical wisdom, niacin can be both safe and effective for treating lipid abnormalities in patients with diabetes.

Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas found that in dosages of 1,000 mg/day and 1,500 mg/day, niacin therapy "was well tolerated and changes in glycemic control were minimal," according to Dr. Scott Grundy, the lead author of the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

This study used extended-release niacin (Niaspan), which can circumvent the side effects of regular niacin, such as flushing of the skin. The 148 study participants suffered from both diabetes and dyslipidemia, which is characterized by high levels of triglycerides and other lipid-related abnormalities along with depressed levels of the healthier high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Dyslipidemia can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Fourteen million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes; many of them also have dyslipidemia.

Participants received either 1,500 mg/day of extended-release niacin, 1,000 mg/day of extended-release niacin, or a placebo. Half continued taking prescribed statin drugs for cholesterol lowering, and 81 percent continued their medications for diabetes. For the 1,000 mg/day group, HDL increased by 19 percent.

For the 1,500 mg/day group, HDL increased as much as 24 percent, triglycerides decreased as much as 36 percent, and the "bad" cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), decreased by 7 percent.


Frank Grazian. "Niacin Found Effective in Diabetes." AltMedicine website, 22 July 2002. www.altmedicine.com/Article.asp?ID=3422.end-of-story


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