Niacin, which is also
known as nicotinic acid has been in the limelight particularly
because of it s side effects. This is despite of the fact that
niacin is a potent cholesterol lowering agent as well as having
other health benefits upon the body.
Overall, the body can make niacin by converting the amino acid
tryptophan. About half of the niacin supplied by the average diet
may come from the body's processing of tryptophan.
From a biochemical point of view, Niacin releases energy from
carbohydrate foods and is involved in controlling blood sugar, skin
health, maintaining the nervous and digestive systems, and as a
preventative to heart attack, atherosclerosis and progression of
type 1 diabetes.
Large doses of niacin/nicotinic acid can also be
used to lower cholesterol and triglycerides by raising HDL (good
cholesterol). Niacin seems to have an anti-inflammatory effect with
potential benefits with regards to arthritis. Niacin is also a
potent antioxidant, explaining it's benefits in a wide range of
As a result of it's side effects, which include stomach upset,
headache, flushing, itching and possible liver problems when taken
in to high doses over extended periods of, niacin has been
restricted in Australia unless under medical supervision.
Though not all is
lost! Inositol Hexanicotinate (IHN), a form of niacin that is free
of side effects is now available in Australia being produced and
sold in Queensland by MD Nutritionals under name of Niacinol Forte.
Due to its biochemical structure IHN gradually releases a sustained
form of nicotinic acid into the system, thereby avoiding the
unpleasant skin flush reaction and gastrointestinal symptoms seen
with conventional nicotinic acid therapy.