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Niacin supplements increase risk of heart attacks and strokes

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 2 months ago

A recent study has found that individuals with higher levels of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, in their blood may be at a greater risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The study suggests that excessive amounts of niacin can lead to inflammation in blood vessels, potentially increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular events.

This research, conducted by Stanley Hazen and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic, analyzed blood samples from over 3000 adults in the US and Europe who had undergone cardiovascular screenings. The team identified a metabolite called 4PY, which is produced when the body breaks down excess niacin, and found that individuals with elevated levels of this metabolite were significantly more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke.

Further experiments revealed that 4PY can inflame blood vessels in rodents, highlighting the role of inflammation in the development of heart disease. Hazen notes that high niacin levels are not uncommon, as the vitamin is often added to fortified foods and is also popular as a supplement due to its perceived anti-aging benefits.

While the study provides valuable insights into the potential risks of high niacin levels, it is important to note that the research primarily focused on individuals of European ancestry. Jenny Jia, a researcher at Northwestern University, emphasizes the need for further studies to determine if similar results would apply to individuals of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

Overall, the findings of this study highlight the complexity of identifying all risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, and suggest that moderation in niacin intake may be key in maintaining cardiovascular health. As the research continues to evolve, it will be important to consider the implications of these findings in the context of personalized healthcare for diverse populations.

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