Recently in the news there was an important report regarding the cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe – being marketed as Zetia.
A trial comparing the drug to niacin was halted mid-stream.
Why? Most likely because the result was not what they expected. It doesn’t improve HDL. It also increases the thickness of artery walls.
This is not what you need, especially if you have narrow arteries to begin with.
Zetia may decrease cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine. But, like statins, it can have serious side effects, including:
- Mental confusion and disorientation
- Stomach and intestinal upsets such as gas and bloating
- Muscular issues
- Liver damage
- Kidney failure
Statins also rob the body of CoQ10 – an important co-enzyme that protects the heart and gives your cells energy. Statins can lower CoQ10 by as much as 40 percent.
And this, in turn, can weaken your heart.
The trial offers huge support for what I’ve said all along…
Lowering LDL through the use of a drug like Zetia creates a host of problems. It may not address the issue at all. In fact, it may make it worse.
The good news is, you can get tremendous heart-health support the natural way. Niacin is a vitamin that supports heart health by:
- Lowering LDL cholesterol by 15 to 25%
- Lowering triglycerides by 20 to 50%
- Raising HDL cholesterol by 15 to 30%
- Relaxing blood vessels so you have better circulation
All this from a simple vitamin!
Niacin is found in many foods. Here is a list of foods containing niacin:
Dietary Source / Niacin Mg
- Beef Liver 3.5 oz – 14.4
- Chicken White Meat 3.5 oz – 13.4
- Peanuts (1/2 cup) – 10.5
- Salmon 3.5 oz – 8.0
- Ground Beef 3.5 oz – 5.3
- Mushrooms…raw (1/2 cup) – 1.7
- Barley…cooked (1/2 cup) – 1.6
- Lentils…cooked (1/2 cup) – 1.4
- Almonds (1/2 cup) – 1.4
You may also need to take a daily supplement. I suggest using extended-release or sustained-release niacin. This avoids the hot flushes that may occur with immediate-release niacin. But even these usually go away with regular use. You can also try taking it with a small handful of nuts to slow down the absorption.
I recommend taking 500 mg a day as a starting point for heart health. It’s best to discuss your situation with your doctor. Ask about niacin as an alternative to statins.
1. Ghirlanda G, Oradei A, Manto A, et al. Evidence of plasma CoQ10-lowering effect of HMG-COA reductase inhibitors…. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1993 Mar; 33(3):226-229.
2. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta; Ernster, L; 1271:195-204 (1995)
3. Taylor AJ, Villnes TC, Stanek EJ, eg al. (26 November 2009). “Extended-Release Niacin or Ezetimibe and Carotid Intima Media Thickness.” N Engl J Med 361 (22): 2113.
4. Tavintharan S., Kashyap, M. “The benefits of niacin in atherosclerosis” Current Atherosclerosis Reports; 2001; l3: 74-82.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.