Does Niacin help preserve kidney function?
Kidney Week 2014: American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting: Abstract TH-OR052. Presented November 13, 2014
Niacin has been shown to decrease reactive oxygen species, inflammation, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperphosphatemia, and endothelial dysfunction which may help prevent a decline in kidney function as we age. This was an observational study which looked at 120,000 patients in the VA hospital system. At baseline, all patients had normal eGFR (kidney function). However, the niacin patients had a higher body mass index than non-niacin patients (31 vs 29 kg/m²), lower high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol levels (39 vs 46 mg/dL), higher triglyceride levels (214 vs 148 mg/dL), and more use of ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and statins and were more likely to have hypertension, diabetes, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and congestive heart failure. (These are all risk factors for developing kidney disease)
But, before we hop on the NIACIN bandwagon, it is also known that NIACIN has absolutely NO proven benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease and there are a lot of side effects including flushing, diabetes and gout. We also know that low HDL is NOT predictive of heart disease and raising HDL or lowering triglycerides any way other than diet and exercise has no benefits.
Double-blinded studies need to be done to explore these findings before we can routinely recommend niacin for the general population.