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New Study: Niacin Side Effects Could Outweigh Benefits

A new study suggests that the drug often used to control cholesterol may be bad for your health.
1:48 | 07/17/14

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Transcript for New Study: Niacin Side Effects Could Outweigh Benefits
We turn now to a brand-new study of a vitamin in many medicine cabinets that could be dangerous. Niacin known as vitamin b3 for those trying to control cholesterol but side effects could outweigh the benefits. Dr. Jen Ashton here to explain. Here's the actual study. Some cardiologists are calling this a landmark study. What they did is looked at a group of patients already with cardiovascular disease and put some of them on a combination drug, niacin or vitamin b3 with an anti-flushing drug and compared them to placebo and what they found while nye son dropped their Numbers it raised their good cholesterol, it do not prevent end events like heart attack and stroke and check out these side effects. They were significant. The patients on this high dose, 2,000 milligrams of niacin had gast gastrointestinal distress, diabetes, infections, bleeding. Merck funded this study. Not good news. Definitely side effects. You couldn't have a gastro -- We've phone for awhile niacin can do this but how much and to what extent wasn't delineated before this study. People think it's a vitamin. It must be safe to take. Is there a dosage that's safe? The recommended daily allowance is between 14 and 16 milligrams. These patients were on 2,000 milligrams but think of it like this, yes, it's a vitamin, yes, it can be available over the counter, yes, it's natural but there are always risks and in medicine we have to weigh the risks versus the benefits and the premise of medicine, do no harm. Would you tell patients to take it? In this dosage, absolutely not. Way too risky. Okay.

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