T Nation

Lesson Learned

I did something stupid I thought I would share with you today. For those of you who know what I am about to say, you will get a good laugh at my dumbass and for those who don’t know hopefully will learn from my dumbass.


I have changed my diet to battle down some marginally high cholesterol. I remembered reading once that Niacin is good for helping lower bad cholesterol and also will help with vascularity and blood flow. (You vets probably already know where this is heading) So I run down to GNC and ask for some Niacin. So she warns me about the “Flushing effect” if you haven’t taken Niacin before. Wait I’m a T-Man. I’m like bad Toilet paper, Rough, Tough, and I don’t take crap from anyone. Give me the 500 mg tabs.(About now I know you are starting to giggle cause you know what’s coming, aren’t you?)


So yesterday I get up, say my prayers, eat my oatmeal, and take my supplements. About ten minutes later I’m on the phone with a friend and I say “Hey, here comes that flush effect they were talking about” I feel my face get warm, then my cheeks get hot, now my chest and arms start to warm up. I open the window to let in some of that NE Ohio winter air. About 15 Minutes in it feels like my hair is on fire. My wife comes in and gasps because I look like I am sun burned, almost purple in color, and she starts putting a cold rags on my neck. Twenty five minutes in and the itching starts and the heat is full on. I go out on my back deck, middle of winter and 4 feet of snow on it, and start making snow angels to cool down. Thirty five minutes and it starts to back off, completely gone in about 60 minutes. Now I come to the forum, type Niacin in the search engine and read all about these effects and also find out they make a non-flushing form of niacin.

Moral of the story: Do research BEFORE putting something in my body. Well, I told you at the start that I’m a dumbass, what do you expect…

Studies have shown that the buffered (non-flushing) niacin has no effect on improving cholesterol profiles. You need the real deal.

Thanks TenMen, My new revised plan is to take back the 500 mg tabs and swap them for 100 mg tabs and see how that goes. Maybe do 100 mg 3 times a day and see if I can build up a tolerance. I hope the Flushing effect won’t be severe with lower dosage. I don’t think I could take that every day.

A much more effective approach is to have your physician place you on any one of the statin drugs available today (Zocor, Lipitor, etc.). They dramatically improve one’s lipid profile and can go very far in improving your risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Good luck!

Garlic, bro, garlic!

Niacin is not the most optimal medication and is not without its own side effects as you’ve found out. You should also monitor your liver enzymes frequently while on Niacin.

Also, switch to flush-free niacin if you are going to take it and remember that the dosage has to be sufficient to get an actual effect (generally you titrate from 500mg/day to 1500mg/day).

Finally, I remember you posting, but I don't remember the results. Niacin is pretty specific in what it helps and we normally use it to help shift LDL particle size, but not for much else.

Colin, This is a cut & paste from one of my postings back in October 2002. This will show you the power of statins (Lipitor).

A while back I posted a note about Lipitor for high cholesterol. My Doctor wanted me to take 20 mg once a day to improve my profile. I complied and am sharing my results after six (6) weeks of therapy. Before Lipitor: Total Cholesterol = 295, HDL = 48, LDL = 231, Ratio = 6.1, Triglycerides = 82 After Lipitor: Total Cholesterol = 184, HDL = 48 (same), LDL = 119, Ratio = 3.8, Triglycerides = 85. SGOT and SGPT are within the normal range. These results reflect NO change in diet or exercise regimen, except for the addition of 8 - 12 ounces of red grape juice at dinner. The Dr. said that he was amazed with my response to what is considered a relatively low dose. He also said that I cut my heart attack risk by about 40% BTW...both tests were done after a 12 hour fast.

Life is one long learning process. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
You must have looked funny doing those snow angels though :)!!!

4 ft. of snow in Ohio! That pisses me off, we haven’t got shit for snow in MN. Oh and to add insult to injury we set record high temps today and yesterday. 51 damn degree’s. Oh well tomorow is suposed to be in the 20’s and dropping like a rock to below 0 soon. WOO HOOO

Thanks for the info. I have had that talk with my Doc and he wanted me to try and control it with Diet instead of drugs. I posted those results a couple of weeks back. I have since swapped in 5 meals of veggies. I have to go back and retest next month so I was adding the Niacin as a hedge. It was funny as hell though.

I’m with brider…garlic (get one standardized for high allicin content) is pretty much in a class of its own…not to mention its effects on immune system, blood pressure, digestion etc. Good brands include Garlinase 4000 by Enzymatic Therapy, Garlique (SunSource) and Garlic 6000 by GNC Natural Brand. Of the three, Garlinase 4000 has the least odor, and I think they’ve come out with an updated version as well. They are all one per day formulas. Lecithin is another good one, in particular the granules.

I’ve said it before - the forum is the repository of all knowledge. It knows all, sees all, can impart all wisdom.


But you DO have to use the search engine… :slight_smile:

That’s way too much. Feel like the roots of your hair are going to explode; quite an experience. Try about 200 mg next time.

Colin, if you’ve got a doc that told you to try lowering your cholesterol via diet before putting you on meds, stick with him (provided he’s competent). Too many doctors out there just throw meds at a problem these days rather than trying to fix it the old fashion way: through diet and exercise. Doctors like yours are a rarity nowadays.

if you go on any statin you need to have your blood work monitored very often as a precautionay messure. what about fresh garlic? i love it, how much (cooking with) it do you think you need to have the same effect as the capsuls?

I had 300 mg tabs…I think. Anyways I had taken them a few times and noticed dick all. Well one day I took 2…on and empty stomach. I had symptoms similar to colin my dad even asked if I got sunburned heheeh. I was pitch red. I think if you take it on a full stomach it doesn’t happen. :slight_smile:

Tyler - Yeah I really like the new Doc, I’ll pass on your praise to him. He really understands our needs as weight lifters. For example he never questions why I want Blood work done to determine my Test levels he just suggests that we check liver and kidney functions as well. If I tell him “It hurts when I do A, B, or C” He never says “Stop doing A, B, or C”


nkeago - I guess we just learn a little harder (Painfully) than other folks. Although I have recorded that little experiment for the next time someone asks me if I am using gear. I simply tell them “Nah I just use 500mg of Niacin every morning.”

Been there, ouch. Back in the early seventies, Bob Green, a bodybuilder who wrote for Ironman published an article on how all the pros where using niacin to help them get great pumps and also they would take it before they hitting the beach to get great tans. So my friends and I got some and tried it. Ouch!!!
Best of Luck.

Heh, yep, I’ve done this one before. Except I popped a bunch of niacin (I can’t remember how much, but it was 10 times what I intended to take, damn decimals) and then went straight to the gym for that wicked pump I had heard about.

And oh, a pump I got. I was totally beat red all over and itchy and tingly, sitting there doing incline flyes. It was ridiculous!