If you have high cholesterol, the experts say it’s time to do yourself a favor. Ask your doctor about taking a Vitamin B-3 supplement. 

That’s because vitamin B-3, also known as niacin, has a proven 60-year track record of lowering cholesterol levels. In fact, niacin has been scientifically studied over 42,000 times. And has been shown to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, raise levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and help minimize artery-clogging triglycerides. One long-term study even found that vitamin B-3 lowered the risk of heart attack and stroke by more than 25-percent. 

So, the question is, if vitamin B-3 is so great, why don’t doctors recommend the over-the-counter supplement to their patients more often? According to cardiologist Dr. Bradley Bale, it all boils down to dollars and cents. Pharmaceutical companies spend big bucks marketing new cholesterol meds to doctors and their patients. So, a cheap remedy like niacin, which costs about $0.07 per dose, gets lost in the shuffle.

Also, the supplement does have some side effects. The most common is a temporary reddening of the skin known as “the niacin flush.” Plus, you can damage your liver by taking too much B-3, or taking “non-flush” or extended-release forms of niacin, which are harder for the body to metabolize. So, make sure you talk to your doctor before you decide to take niacin, or any other over-the-counter medication or supplement.