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NiaSpan vs. Dietary Niacin

Vitamin B3, an element important for our bodies and health, is also known under the names niacin and nicotinic acid. Its proper amount consumption is necessary for preserving beautiful skin, healthy gastrointestinal tract, strong nervous system, as well as for the production of sex hormones and improvement of blood circulation.

Moreover, niacin is involved in metabolic processes promoting the conversion of carbs and fats into energy. The malfunction or changing in metabolism of carbohydrates and especially fats can result in elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, which will lead to the development of cardiovascular and other health problems.

People, seeking for the way to avoid these diseases and keep their lipids levels in the right order, may hesitate and have some doubts what to choose: pharmaceutical drugs with niacin, for example, NiaSpan, or products widely advertised as “natural” – niacin in the form of dietary supplements, in other words. Let us compare and define similarities and differences between these options (NiaSpan as the representative of pharmaceutical means and original or natural niacin) to supply our bodies with nicotinic acid.


Though niacin can be found in different foods (meats, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, etc.) and dietary supplements, its amount there cannot be measured and regulated. It varies depending on a product and its form, as well as on the manufacturer. On the other hand, NiaSpan contains the fixed amount of nicotinic acid, which is the most important fact and the key to the effective treatment of diseases associated with altered levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.


NiaSpan is the FDA approved drug to lower triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol levels, as well as increase “good” cholesterol. This drug had undergone all the necessary clinical trials and investigations to discover and evaluate this form of niacin effects on the blood fats levels. Food supplements are not approved by any official institution for the treatment of lipid disorders. In fact, their influence, if any, on cholesterol and triglycerides is not known at all.


NiaSpan is made in the form of the extended-release tablets, which means that the small amounts of niacin will be released into the body of a patient during a certain period of time. Dietary supplements and vitamins containing niacin are absorbed by the body right after they are taken, which causes the significant immediate splash of niacin in the organism.


The previous paragraph explains one of the differences between NiaSpan and dietary niacin. But the fact above should be further explained, since it allows us to reveal perhaps the most important advantage of prescription extended-release NiaSpan. The matter is that the way these pills supply human body with vitamin B3 helps avoid one of the most common and troublesome side effects of niacin – flushing. The latter is much milder and sometimes even absent in patients taking NiaSpan due to the small doses of niacin released over a period of time.  

On the other hand, sudden significant increase in the niacin amount observed with many dietary supplements usually ends up in severe flushing, which makes many people suffer this unpleasant adverse reaction and thus refuse taking niacin altogether.

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Many patients may appreciate the fact that these days NiaSpan is covered by Medicare Part D. Some people may need to use the drug for quite long periods of time; thus they now have a chance to save their money and make the treatment really cost-effective.


It is up to every particular person what to choose in order to improve the state of his or her own health. However, data, facts, reports and results of the scientific studies seem to be all in favor of the official prescription NiaSpan extended-release pills. At least, it looks more convincing for those people who have to effectively fight lipid disorders and have no time and chance to experiment with other means.


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