Niacin, or vitamin B3, is a popular supplement


People with high blood levels of niacin, also known as vitamin B3, may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those with low levels. Excessive amounts of the vitamin, which is routinely added to fortified foods and can be taken as a supplement, can cause inflammation of the blood vessels.

Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide. Although researchers have made significant progress in discovering risk factors for these conditions over the past few decades, they have not identified all of them.

“If you treat [high] Cholesterol and [high] “With blood pressure and diabetes and all the existing risk factors, you can still have a heart attack,” he says. Stanley Hazen at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “There’s something we’re missing.”

In an effort to fill in these gaps, Hazen and colleagues collected blood samples from 2,331 adults in the United States and 832 adults in Europe who chose to undergo cardiovascular screening. The team analyzed the samples for substances called metabolites, byproducts of metabolic processes such as digestion. The researchers then tracked the incidence of cardiac events, e.g Heart attack and stroke, among participants over three years.

They found that people with high levels of a metabolite called 4PY were, on average, 60 percent more likely than those with low levels. This compound is only produced when the body breaks down excess niacin.

Further experiments showed that 4PY inflamed blood vessels in mice. We know that Inflammation plays a major role in the development of heart disease.says Hazen.

It’s not unusual for people to have high levels of niacin, he says. This is partly because certain foods, such as cereals and flour, are routinely fortified with vitamins in countries including the UK and US.

Niacin supplements are also becoming increasingly popular. As evidence suggests they have anti-aging benefits., says Hazen. Also, it wasn’t until recently that doctors stopped prescribing high doses of niacin to people at risk of heart disease, because the vitamin was initially thought to help people by lowering cholesterol. Protects against these conditions.

“I think this study really shows that sometimes, when it comes to vitamins, you can get too much of a good thing,” says. Jenny lived at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

However, this research was conducted primarily in people of European descent. So it’s unclear whether similar results would hold in people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds, says Jaya.