The Link Between Vitamin B and Cholesterol

The term "cholesterol" can evoke concern in some Filipino adults, particularly those who are aging. These feelings are valid, especially for individuals with elevated levels of "bad" cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Excess LDL cholesterol in the body can accumulate in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.1 For years, health experts and doctors have recommended lifestyle interventions and strategies to help individuals lower their LDL cholesterol levels, aiming for levels below 130 mg/dL (3.4 mmol/L), and achieve ideal total cholesterol (TC) levels below 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L).2 

Consequently, nutrients derived from food and supplements like niacin have been the subject of cholesterol-related studies. Keep reading to learn if niacin can lower bad cholesterol levels in the body and if other B vitamins can provide the same benefit.


Does Niacin Reduce Bad Cholesterol Levels?

Chances are, you have probably encountered niacin before. It's another term for vitamin B3 found in poultry, fish, brown rice, nuts, seeds, bananas, and red meat, as well as supplements. It can also come in two forms: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, which are also found in food and supplements.

Niacin mainly functions as a coenzyme in the body and assists in converting nutrients into energy, creating and fixing DNA, producing cholesterol and fats, and promoting antioxidant capabilities.3 Aside from these health benefits, niacin has been linked to instances of reduced LDL cholesterol levels and improved outcomes in people dealing with this issue. 

Multiple studies have concluded that niacin therapy has helped raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also known as “good” cholesterol, while lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoprotein(a).4,5 

In fact, authors of a 2015 study noted that when it comes to increasing levels of HDL cholesterol while lowering amounts of lipoproteins like LDL, niacin is the “most powerful drug.”6

Researchers who conducted a NMR lipoprotein profile analysis, as highlighted in a 2020 study, noted that niacin is able to promote these reductions in LDL cholesterol levels by reducing particle numbers without changing their average size.7 

There are three known options of niacin treatment: immediate release, extended release, and long acting. Each of these niacin formulations are administered at different doses and times.8 

Unfortunately, you may need to be wary of utilizing this nutrient in addressing high levels of bad cholesterol because it may only be effective in high doses. As a result, niacin therapy for high cholesterol levels may lead to side effects like headaches, stomach discomfort, itching, and flushing.9 In some cases, high niacin doses may also raise your risk for other health issues like glucose intolerance, liver damage, or gastrointestinal problems.10 

With that said, if you want to know more about using niacin therapy to your advantage, consult your doctor first so you can carefully weigh its pros and cons.


Can Other B Vitamins Lower Cholesterol Levels?

Aside from niacin (or vitamin B3), there are actually other B vitamins that have been linked to reductions in LDL cholesterol levels in the body. If you are curious as to how does vitamin B help lower bad cholesterol levels, here’s what some studies have to say:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): In this study involving South Korean subjects, people who had enough vitamin B1 or thiamine in their bodies had significant reductions in their total serum cholesterol levels. This refers to the total amount of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (TG) in a person’s system.11

    Further analysis also revealed that among those who had enough vitamin B1 intake, there was a low percentage of people struggling with higher total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.12
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Administration of a derivative of panthothenic acid called pantethine over a 16-week period helped reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in female subjects, compared to baseline levels. Significant reductions started at week 4 of the study, and continued until weeks 8 and 16. As a result, there was a 12% decrease in LDL cholesterol levels among subjects as early as week 8. At week 16, a 13% decrease of LDL cholesterol levels was recorded, compared to a placebo.13

  • Vitamin B12: In this 2020 study that focused on Saudi Arabian women, researchers discovered that participants who had higher serum vitamin B12 levels exhibited lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, TG levels, and TC/HDL, TG/HDL, and LDL/HDL ratios when compared to those with lower vitamin B12 levels.

    A linear regression analysis conducted also revealed an independent and inverse association between serum vitamin B12 levels and total cholesterol, TG, and LDL cholesterol levels, as well as TC/HDL, TG/HDL, and LDL/HDL ratios. In fact, an increase of just one serum dose (SD) in serum vitamin B12 levels amounting to (176.5 pmol/L) helped reduce TC, TG, and LDL cholesterol levels.14

Aside from these B vitamin-specific findings, authors of an October 2022 study highlighted that high total cholesterol levels and a B vitamin deficiency were linked to thickened aortas, higher LDL cholesterol levels, reduced “aortic water diffusion,” and “disrupted vascular reactivity.”15


No Better Time to Start Taking Vitamin B Supplements Than Today

With these positive benefits linked to B vitamins, you’re probably interested in increasing your daily B vitamin intake. Undeniably, the best source of various B vitamins for your daily needs would be from your diet, especially food choices rich in these nutrients. 

However, if you think you need assistance when it comes to nourishing your body with B vitamins, feel free to ask your doctor about a supplement like Vitamin B-Complex Vaneular®! This supplement is home to five notable B vitamins: B1, B2, B6, B12, and Nicotinic Acid (B3).

Together with a healthy and balanced diet and exercise, this supplement may help you achieve your daily B vitamin requirements and aid in reducing your risk for deficiencies related to B vitamins. 

Moreover, Vitamin B-Complex Vaneular® may help maintain the normal function of the nervous system and manage various neuromuscular disorders.

Take one tablet of Vitamin B-Complex Vaneular® orally each day, or as directed by your doctor. When not in use, store the tablet in a location where the temperature does not exceed 30 degrees Celsius. Keep them out of the reach and sight of children.

Vitamin B-Complex Vaneular® is available at Php 22.00 SRP per tablet. Vitamin B-Complex Vaneular® is available in leading drugstores nationwide, and online via Lazada and Shopee.

On a final note, do remember that tablets containing niacin (vitamin B3) and/or other B vitamins are not meant to serve as a form of treatment for high levels of LDL cholesterol. 

If symptoms persist or you have other concerns about your cholesterol levels, consult your doctor.


  • 1 LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides | (2023, May 16). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • 2 Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). (2017, September 7). High cholesterol: Overview. - NCBI Bookshelf. 
  • 3 Niacin – vitamin B3. (2023, March 8). The Nutrition Source. 
  • 4,8 McKenney, J. M. (2004). New perspectives on the use of niacin in the treatment of lipid disorders. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164(7), 697. 
  • 5,7 Gordon, S. M., Amar, M., Jeiran, K., Stagliano, M., Staller, E., Playford, M. P., Mehta, N. N., Vaisar, T., & Remaley, A. T. (2020). Effect of niacin monotherapy on high density lipoprotein composition and function. Lipids in Health and Disease, 19(1). 
  • 6,9 Zeman, M., Vecka, M., Perlík, F., Hromádka, R., Sta?ková, B., Tvrzická, E., & Žák, A. (2015). Niacin in the Treatment of Hyperlipidemias in Light of New Clinical Trials: Has Niacin Lost its Place? Medical Science Monitor, 21, 2156–2162. 
  • 10 Griffin, R. M. (2022, April 26). Niacin (Vitamin B3). WebMD. 
  • 11 Huizen, J. (2021, September 22). What is serum cholesterol? 
  • 12 Nguyen, H. D., Oh, H., Yoon, I. M., & Kim, M. (2021). Association between levels of thiamine intake, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and depression in Korea: a national cross-sectional study. Journal of Nutritional Science, 10. 
  • 13 Evans, M., Rumberger, J. A., Azumano, I., Napolitano, J., Citrolo, D., & Kamiya, T. (2014). Pantethine, a derivative of vitamin B5, favorably alters total, LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in low to moderate cardiovascular risk subjects eligible for statin therapy: a triple-blinded placebo and diet-controlled investigation. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 89. 
  • 14 Al-Musharaf, S., Aljuraiban, G. S., Hussain, S. D., Alnaami, A. M., Saravanan, P., & Al-Daghri, N. M. (2020). Low Serum Vitamin B12 Levels Are Associated with Adverse Lipid Profiles in Apparently Healthy Young Saudi Women. Nutrients, 12(8), 2395. 
  • 15 Almer, G., Opriessnig, P., Wolinski, H., Sommer, G., Diwoky, C., Lechleitner, M., Kolb, D., Bubalo, V., Brunner, M. S., Schwarz, A. N., Leitinger, G., Schoiswohl, G., Marsche, G., Niedrist, T., Schauer, S., Oswald, W., Groselj-Strele, A., Paar, M., Cvirn, G., . . . Tehlivets, O. (2022). Deficiency of B vitamins leads to cholesterol-independent atherogenic transformation of the aorta. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 154, 113640.

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