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What are the health benefits of niacin?

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Quick Answer

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and prevent the onset of cardiovascular conditions, according to WebMD. Niacin can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis, improve memory, and prevent insomnia or motion sickness, reports DrDavidWilliams.com

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Studies have shown that niacin can improve good cholesterol levels while reducing triglycerides as effectively as prescription medication. In addition, levels of bad cholesterol drop modestly with niacin supplementation, WebMD states. High dosages of niacin are required to affect cholesterol and must be recommended by a medical professional to prevent toxic side effects. Niacin supplementation also combats hardening of arteries and is effective in preventing heart attacks. Recent studies have shown niacin's ability to actually reverse the signs of heart disease in affected individuals, adds Dr. David Williams.

In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, niacin has the ability to dilate vessels and improve circulation in joints, reports Dr. Williams. This improved circulation reduces the pain associated with osteoarthritis and helps with circulation issues associated with diabetes. Niacin has had some success in treating individuals with depression or schizophrenia. It activates benzodiazepine receptors in the brain that positively affect sleep quality, according to Dr. Williams. Other miscellaneous benefits Dr. Williams reports include reducing blood pressure, treating acne, stopping migraine headaches, and improving vertigo and tinnitus.

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