Before the introduction of statin drugs, niacin (vitamin B3) was used to control cholesterol. There are various forms of this natural vitamin and there are some minor side-effects with usage such as a warm flushing that starts about 10-15 minutes after taking it and lasts for 20-30 minutes before slowly dissipating and eventually going away after an hour.
I just started a 500 mg, once per day, regimen to see the effects on my cholesterol levels. Apparently your body is supposed to get used to it after a week and the flushing diminishes. I'm on day 2 so I'll update everyone in a separate post.
The optimal dosage according to what I have read is 1-2 grams per day, so with the 500 mg tablets I'm supposed to take between 2 and 4 doses. It is recommended to initiate with a small dosage until your body adjusts and then increase gradually. I'm going to stick with 500 mg. and see the impact on my next blood test before increasing dosage.
Other side effects include an increase in uric acid which increases the possibility of getting gout. That's another reason I'm sticking to the lower dosage.
There are extended release tablets but I understand they may cause liver toxicity after a while.
It is strongly suggested that you begin treatment under the supervision of a doctor.