Flushing Niacin Proved Effective
Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) is a form of diabetes that accounts for nearly ten percent of all the diabetes cases currently in the USA. However, unlike typical type 2 diabetes, which usually manifests during adulthood, IDDM usually begins to occur during childhood.
So what happens with IDDM?
The beta cells in the pancreas are slowly destroyed. Because beta cells are responsible for making insulin, and insulin keeps blood sugar levels in check, without these cells, blood sugar levels would become very high and extremely dangerous.
However, it appears that many with IDDM have antibodies in their blood that work against their own pancreas. As with all autoimmune disorders, these antibodies actually attack the cells in the pancreas as if it were attacking a virus or bacteria. Of course, the cause of this autoimmune condition is unknown, but it is thought to be a genetic predisposition by some.
Those with IDDM must inject insulin multiple times on a daily basis in place of the beta cells with regulating the insulin/sugar balance in the body. The result of not injecting the insulin could result in coma and eventual death. Besides the insulin injections, they must also control their sugar intake with diet, restricting processed foods and refined or simple sugars.
Is Niacin Safe for those with IDDM?
So how does niacin fit into all of this? It has to do with whether those with IDDM should take niacin or not. And if you are looking for an answer to this question, no doubt you are confused to all the conflicting answers out there.
Most natural-oriented doctors such as chiropractors, naturopaths as well as enlightened medical doctors understand that disease occurs in the body when nutritional deficiencies are present.
One could take prescription drugs that may or may not reduce symptoms, but one thing is for sure, the drugs will never address the nutritional deficiencies.
It only makes sense that the first order of business with any disease is to address the deficiencies!
Now, the reason niacin therapy has been known to be contraindicated in those with diabetes is due to the possibility that niacin can increase blood sugar levels. But it is important to note that this is blood sugar levels and not triglyceride levels as niacin does not raise these levels, but lowers them.
Niacinamide has been recommended by some in lieu of niacin as niacinamide seems to have a glucose-stabilizing effect, but the idea that niacinamide normalizes blood lipid levels is still unsubstantiated.
So it appears that we have ourselves a dilemma.
Statin Drugs or Niacin?
As already mentioned, the belief that niacin therapy is a contraindication for insulin-dependent diabetes is mainly due to the worry of increased blood sugar levels, a notable concern.
But here’s the problem, currently many diabetics take Statin drugs for effect on blood lipids and triglycerides.
Given that these individuals are already living in a diseased condition, taking such drugs only further add to the body’s burden, which outweighs the desired effects of the drugs.
Niacin is the Perfect Alternative
But first it needs to be proven safe for diabetics as an alternate to Statin drugs.
And that is exactly what has happened!
Researchers in a study, ‘Effect of niacin on lipid and lipoprotein levels and glycemic controls in patients with diabetes and peripheral arterial disease’, by Marshal B. Elam, Ph.D., MD et al. published in JAMA: 2000, wanted to provide clinical data with respect to niacin and those with diabetes.
The benefits of niacin in lowering cholesterol levels and raising HDL levels are well known, but in some cases, niacin seems to increase blood sugar levels; of course something that is to be prevented in this population.
So, in this study the two groups were: patients with diabetes and those who did not have diabetes. Both groups were given either niacin (not niacinamide) or a placebo.
The results had shown that niacin indeed greatly increased HDL and lowered both LDL and triglycerides as predicted. The aim for this study was to see the results of glucose levels, which were moderately increased in both groups: those with and without diabetes.
The next step was to evaluate the levels of HbA1, a test that determines the severity of the disease by showing the average blood sugar in the blood over the last few months.
These levels were unaffected from the beginning of the study to the follow-up visits in patients with diabetes treated with niacin.
Interestingly, the HbA1 level of patients with diabetes who received the placebo had decreased.
Researchers determined that niacin therapy is a safe alternative to Statin drugs or Fibrates if they do not sufficiently correct hypertriglyceridemia or low HDL-C levels.
In another study, Niacin in conjunction with zinc, Vitamin B7 (Biotin), chromium, molybdenum, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and manganese, produced such effective results of lowering (not raising) blood sugar levels that continued insulin injections may actually lower blood sugar too low.
Thus, monitoring blood gluscose levels is highly recommended.
[Let’s see…if niacin lowered blood sugar too low in conjunction with the injections, perhaps the injections may no longer be needed. Just a thought…]
Furthermore, it has been shown that niacinamide (not niacin), especially if given early in the development of the disease, may actually slow down the destruction of beta cells inhibiting the disease from completely maturing.
This is significant since although niacinamide has been shown to prevent or reduce the disease process of IDDM, it does not address the lipid profile in these patients. So keep in mind that niacin and niacinamide serve two distinct functions and are not interchangeable as some suggest.
Perhaps now, in lieu of new research, doctors will pursue a more natural approach for blood lipid control rather than the more dangerous Statin drugs.
My guess it’ll never happen. How sad.
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