Track Your Plaque success story blows it

Joe was a Track Your Plaque Success Story. With a starting heart scan score of 278, he dropped it 12 months later to 264, a 5% reduction. Though not a huge reduction, Joe's risk for a heart attack or other coronary event was virtually zero. I was very proud of Joe.

Among the culprit lipoprotein patterns that caused Joe's plaque was lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a). Niacin was therefore crucial to his program. It was among the principal reasons he dropped his heart scan score and reduced his risk for heart attack so dramatically.

Since he retired, Joe has been freewheeling around the country, traveling and having a great time. He consequently stopped thinking about his heart disease and Lp(a). He also tired of the occasional hot flushes he'd experienced with niacin. Though the flushes were promptly aborted by drinking two glasses of water, he simply didn't want to be bothered.

So when Joe saw this interesting and tantalizing "flush-free niacin" on the store shelf, he grabbed it.

Joe came back to the office. His blood pressure was 190/94, so high that he was having occasional chest pains from it (which can happen when something called "left ventricular diastolic dysfunction" develops from hypertension). His lipoprotein patterns were terrible, including a big upward jump in Lp(a) and drop in HDL. So I asked him to have another heart scan right away: Score 371, a 40% increase. In other words, his program went down the toilet.


Simple: Flush-free niacin. I've said it before (No flush = No effect and No flush niacin kills) and I'll say it again:

Flush-free or No-flush niacin is a complete, unadulterated, completely ineffective SCAM.

Flush-free or no-flush niacin is not a substitute for niacin. Joe is yet another example of how dangerous this scam can be. It turned one of our great success stories into a failure.

Please, please, please do not fall for this misleading and potentially dangerous scam product. While the product itself is not intrinsically dangerous, it denies you the benefits of the real thing: niacin.

Thankfully, the mistake in Joe's program was caught before a heart attack or other catastrophe. He did manage to pass a stress test, though with a flagrantly out-of-control blood pressure response. We'll get him back on track--but with niacin, the real thing.

Comments (3) -

  • Anne

    7/17/2008 12:38:00 AM |

    I am not on niacin, but it is a possibility in my future. Thanks for the reminder.

    Hope that Joe gets back on track, feels better and numbers improve.

  • Anonymous

    7/19/2008 5:16:00 PM |

    This may be a little off the subject, but what do you recommend to patients who can't take niacin?

    For the majority of people, the only side effect is a minor flushing, and when I tried Niacin/Niaspan, the flushing was noticeable, but not a big deal.

    But I also had heart palpitations, fatigue, seemingly worsening asthma, and difficulty sleeping, and had to stop it. Heart palpitations was the one my doctor was concerned about.

    Maybe one day you can discuss alternatives that you recommend for folks who can't take niacin, for raising HDL?

  • Anonymous

    7/20/2008 10:15:00 PM |

    I am glad your blogged about this but for my husband, he gets some of those side effects like that other poster just mentioned. Anxiety, heart racing, weird feeling. So he stopped the "slo niacin" for now.
    Any reply is appreciated.