Recently I have been seeing a lot of commercials for a new drug called “Niaspan”, a cholesterol lowering drug that can be prescribed by your doctor. The immediate thought in my head was You’re kidding, right? Niaspan, also known as niacin, is just another name for vitamin B3! Pharmaceutical companies have essentially patented a high dose, time release tablet of vitamin B3 which you can only get through prescription. You shouldn’t need a prescription for a vitamin! It’s really an attempt by the big pharmaceutical companies to now control the vitamin market. It’s this type of issue that has translated into inflated costs for health insurance!
Vitamin B3, like all of the other B vitamins, is important for many functions in the body. However, the commercial fails to mention that these vitamins work with each other as well as other vitamins for these bodily functions to work properly. You don’t want to take B3 alone, take it with all of the others! The claims of the Niaspan website are that it comes in a much higher dose than supplemental niacin, thus making it more effective. It is true that it’s concentration is higher, but you can just as easily increase your dose of supplemental B3 instead. However, be careful with your dosage of niacin as you can overdose and develop the “niacin flush”. The niacin flush is a reddening, warming, and itching of the skin when you take too much niacin at once. It really is not harmful, but people can become uncomfortable or alarmed when it occurs. Fear not, it will pass. But if you were to take the recommended dose of supplemental niacin a few times a day, this can be avoided. And the best part: Supplemented B complex is a whole lot cheaper than the other prescription “drug”.