Inositol hexanicotinate, or inositol niacinate, is a form of niacin, or vitamin B3. It is available as a dietary supplement that has several health benefits; it is used to reduce elevated blood lipids, improve circulation and reduce blood clotting. Speak to your doctor before taking inositol hexanicotinate or niacin supplements.
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Regular niacin supplements, when taken in high dosages, can cause a niacin flush -- an uncomfortable reaction resulting in a burning sensation and reddening of the skin of your face and joints. Inositol hexanicotinate is less likely to cause the niacin flush; however, it may be more likely to cause liver damage with long-term use.
Inositol hexanicotinate may be used to lower elevated blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Inositol hexanicotinate may increase HDL or “good” cholesterol. According to “Natural Standard,” an evidence-based monograph that focuses on alternative medicine, niacin and inositol hexanicotinate may help to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events, such as the development of heart disease or heart attack.
Improves Blood Flow
Inositol hexanicotinate is a vasodilator when taken in large doses. It causes the release of the compound histamine, which relaxes the muscles around your arteries; this causes an increase of the interior diameter of arteries, improving blood flow. Inositol hexanicotinate also breaks up a protein that normally causes blood clotting.
A report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, published in the Vitamins and Mineral Safety 3rd Edition, states that inositol hexanicotinate is not shown to exhibit negative side effects like its niacin counterpart. In fact, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that researchers are trying to determine if inositol hexanicotinate might be a safer alternative to niacin since it offers the same benefits without serious side effects. Since research is not conclusive, you should use caution and speak to your doctor before taking inositol hexanicotinate. There is a chance that, like niacin, it could raise glucose levels in the blood, so it may be unsafe for people who have diabetes. It may also raise uric acid levels, which can exacerbate the symptoms of gout. Inositol hexanicotinate may irritate peptic ulcers when taken in large doses and interfere with anti-diabetic, anti-coagulant or anti-platelet drugs.