Niacin lowers dangerous inflammation in the heart and arteries

November 24, 2009

  Welcome to a new villain; Lipoprotein associated phospholipase A2 is the name or Lp-PLA2 for short. Lp-PLA2 hitches a ride with your LDL-cholesterol and is carried around the body through the circulatory system. Lp-PLA2 causes a buildup of waxy residue in the arteries (hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis) and it also makes the plaque unstable and likely to rupture causing a stroke. This is because Lp-PLA2 triggers inflammation inside the plaque on your blood vessel walls creating it and making it highly unstable; sort of like a mini earthquake zone.

A study from Tufts-New England Medical Center evaluated 54 heart disease patients to receive 1,000mg a day of the B-Complex Vitamin Niacin in a Timed Release form or sham treatment for a three month period in addition to their existing drug regimen (which typically consisted of Statin drugs to lower cholesterol, ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, and aspirin to help decrease the risk of a blood clot).

Although the patients were on what is considered great medicine, adding the supplement further improved their protection by decreasing the level of Lp-PLA2 by 20% on average and also reducing a proxy for vascular inflammation known as CRP by 15%. Additionally, at this modest level of Niacin therapy, the good HDL-cholesterol improved by 7.5% and was in a much more protective form. Triglycerides another type of dangerous blood fat dropped by 15%. LDL cholesterol was also transformed, it's particle size was enlarged; this is good because it makes it harder for the cholesterol to fit snugly into tiny openings in the lining of arteries and this makes it less able to contribute to heart disease. The study is published in the September 15 th , 2006 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.