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Wednesday, March 04, 2009 Jackie, Community Member, asks

Q: Niaspan- alternative foods vs taking pill

My father was prescribed Niaspan to raise his good cholestrol above the 40 benchmark (37), but after reviewing the side effects and reading up on it, I am not sure he should be taking this, I read somewhere a listing of foods that could help in this, what are your recommendations on food choices to raise the good cholestrol. He is 78, diabetic, has had a heart attack (2 stints) 10 years agao and cartriod artery surgery in left side of neck 3 yrs ago.

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Answers (1)
3/ 4/09 1:01pm

Hi Jackie,


Yes, niacin is found naturally in foods.  However, if you want to use niacin for therapeutic reasons (such as raising HDL) it's not realistic to get the level of niacin you need for results from food alone. 


For example, 1 cup of fortified cereal provides 20-27 mg of niacin.  Cereal is one of the top sources of niacin.  Studies show that low doses of niacin (~100 mg/d) only slightly raise HDL and do not have an impact on other heart health components, such as LDL and triglycerides.  So, if you're fathers MD prescribed 1000 mg supplement, it's not realistic you can replace this with foods.


All the best,

Lisa Nelson RD

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally

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By Jackie, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 03/04/09