Sunday, April 12, 2009

Niacin as one of the best and cheapest ways to manage cholesterol !

Niacin (nicotinic acid or vitamin B3), has long been regarded as one of the most effective weapons in managing cholesterol. It can lower levels of triglycerides, fatty acids and to a lesser extent, the "bad" kind of cholesterol (LDL) while at the same time powerfully increasing the "good" kind (HDL). But because of its side effect (it causes embarrassing, uncontrollable intense flushing, a rush of blood to the face and other skin surfaces accompanied by a prickling sensation) its not being used. Now thanks to the researchers lead by Dr. Robert Walters, who have come up with a novel explanation (allergy). The following is the explanation of the researchers :

Niacin stimulates production of a vasodilator that dramatically increases blood flow to the face, causing the flush and the hot, prickly sensation - and beta-arrestin1 is the culprit that enables that to happen. However, beta-arrestin1 plays no role whatsoever in niacin's ability to lower cholesterol and fatty acids.

The finding reinforces some of Lefkowitz's (who has jointly worked with this group) recent research (that demonstrated that beta-arrestins which oftenly work in tandem with G proteins) can sometimes work independently of them and there by initiating their own signals.

The discovery opens the door to the possibility of developing a "biased ligand," a drug that would trigger GP109A, but not the beta-arrestins. Though further studies are essential in this regard, its a good beginning, as the research has achieved the first target i.e., to keep all the lipid-modifying benefits of niacin, but isolate its downside. Congrats Dr. Robert Walters et. al.,

No comments: