Niacin (also known as nicotinic acid or vitamin B3) has been prescribed, apparently by the ton, by many doctors for boosting HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Though most discussions about cholesterol are centered around lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), boosting good cholesterol is beneficial as it may also help lower the bad type.
Niacin is also available over the counter and, as would be expected, it is quite popular. Besides being linked to cholesterol benefits, it is also essential energy release, promoting healthy skin, digestive health, hormone production, and a healthy brain, among other things.
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, niacin does not offer significant cardiovascular health benefit and may actually increase risk of diabetes, infections, and bleeding.
Many people with cholesterol imbalance today are seeking natural remedies in a bid to avoid a lifetime of medications. In fact, there is a conspiracy theory around statin drugs (prescribed for lowering cholesterol levels) as they are often given to otherwise healthy individuals who have to take them for the rest of their lives.
 Mayo Clinic