Friday, May 24, 2013

Inositol Hexanicotinate Versus Nicotinic Acidity (Niacin)

Nicotinic acid is effective in boosting "good" cholesterol. An uncomfortable side effect is skin flushing. Inositol hexanicotinate, a form of nicotinic acid, causes less flushing. But clinical evidence does not fully support its therapeutic properties.


Nicotinic acid is a common name for vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin. According to the Mayo Clinic, clinical evidence verifies its ability to raise so-called "good" or HDL cholesterol levels.

Side Effect

Skin flushing occurs when taking nicotinic acid, discouraging its therapeutic use. Related forms of the vitamin are promoted for use because they cause little or no flushing.


One related form is inositol hexanicotinate, a chemical cousin of nicotinic acid. It is marketed as beneficially raising HDL cholesterol the same as nicotinic acid but without the skin flushing side effect.

Inconclusive Research

Research studies exist to support the cholesterol-regulating properties of inositol hexanicotinate. But critics argue that these studies are out of date because they were conducted in the early 1960s. They also argue they were not conclusive.


Nicotinic acid is a vitamin and so can be purchased without a prescription. High doses are required for therapeutic effects, however, and are usually prescribed for this purpose. Self-administration of nicotinic acid is discouraged because it can cause liver damage in high doses, adversely affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and interact with other medications. The same caution applies to inositol hexanicotinate.

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