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Flush-free niacin kills

Posted Nov 29 2008 10:10am
Here, I re-post a conversation I've posted before, that of the scam product, "no-flush" niacin, also known as "flush-free" niacin.

I find this issue particularly bothersome, since I have a patient or two each and every week who forgets the explicit advice I gave them to avoid these scam products altogether. Despite costing more than conventional niacin, they exert no effect, beneficial or otherwise. Niacin--the real thing--exerts real and substantial beneficial effects. No-flush or flush-free does nothing except drain your wallet. I continue to marvel at the fact that supplement manufacturers persist in selling this product. Ironically, it commands a significant premium over other niacin forms.

They are outright scams that should be avoided altogether.


My former post, No-flush niacin kills:

Gwen was miserable and defeated.

No wonder. After a bypass operation failed just 12 months earlier with closure of 3 out of 4 bypass grafts, she has since undergone 9 heart catheterization procedures and received umpteen stents. She presented to me for an opinion on why she had such aggressive coronary disease (despite Lipitor).

No surprise, several new causes of heart disease were identified, including a very severe small LDL pattern: 100% of LDL particles were small.

Given her stormy procedural history, I urged Gwen to immediately drop all processed carbohydrates from her diet, including any food made from wheat or corn starch. (She and her husband were shocked by this, by the way, since she'd been urged repeatedly to increase her whole grains by the hospital dietitians.) I also urged her to begin to lose the 30 lbs of weight that she'd gained following the hospital dietitians' advice. She also added fish oil at a higher-than-usual dose.

I asked her to add niacin, among our most effective agents for reduction of small LDL particles, not to mention reduction of the likelihood of future cardiovascular events.

Although I instructed Gwen on where and how to obtain niacin, she went to a health food store and bought "no-flush niacin," or inositol hexaniacinate. She was curious why she experienced none of the hot flush I told her about.

When she came back to the office some weeks later to review her treatment program, she told me that chest pains had returned. On questioning her about what she had changed specifically, the problem became clear: She'd been taking no-flush niacin, rather than the Slo-Niacin I had recommended.

What is no-flush niacin? It is inositol hexaniacinate, a molecule that indeed carries six niacin molecules attached to an inositol backbone. Unfortunately, it exerts virtually no effect in human s. It is a scam. Though I love nutritional supplements in general, it pains me to know that supplement distributors and health food stores persist in selling this outright scam product that not only fails to exert any of the benefits of real niacin, it also puts people like Gwen in real danger because of its failure to provide the effects she needed.

So, if niacin saves lives, no-flush niacin in effect could kill you. Avoid this scam like the plague.

No-flush niacin does not work. Period.


Disclosure: I have no financial or other relationship with Upsher Smith, the manufacturer of Slo-Niacin.


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