International Health News

Niacin and intermittent claudication

NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY. Elevated levels of the blood coagulation factor fibrinogen are known to aggravate the symptoms of peripheral vascular diseases such as intermittent claudication. It has also been suggested that a lowering of fibrinogen and low density cholesterol (LDL) levels may slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School now report that niacin supplementation is effective in lowering both fibrinogen levels and LDL levels. Their study involved 35 patients 30 years or older who had been diagnosed with peripheral vascular disease. The patients were randomized to receive niacin (1.5 to 3.0 grams/day), warfarin (2 to 4 mg/day), antioxidants (vitamin-C - 1000 mg/day, vitamin-E - 800 IU/day, and beta-carotene - 24 mg/day) or a placebo for 48 weeks in a 2 X 2 X 2 factorial design experiment. The researchers conclude that niacin is effective in lowering fibrinogen and LDL levels while at the same time increasing the level of desirable high density cholesterol (HDL). Fibrinogen levels did not change in patients taking antioxidants or warfarin.
Philipp, Claire S., et al. Effect of niacin supplementation on fibrinogen levels in patients with peripheral vascular disease. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 82, September 1, 1998, pp. 697-99

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