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What Is Inositol Hexaniacinate?

By M. Gideon Hoyle

Inositol hexaniacinate is a form of vitamin B3 that your body uses to convert the energy content of food and to aid the proper function of your skin, nerves and digestive system. Therapeutic use of some forms of vitamin B3 supplements may provoke serious or life-threatening side effects in some individuals. However, use of inositol hexaniacinate supplements may provide treatment benefits without serious side effects. (See References 1)


In addition to inositol hexaniacinate, commonly available supplemental forms of vitamin B3 include niacin—also known as nicotinic acid—and niacinamide, also known nicotinamide, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC. Typically, you can meet your body’s daily vitamin B3 requirements through dietary sources such as fish, beef liver and kidneys, peanuts, beet, brewer’s yeast and sunflower seeds. However, you may receive various forms of B3 supplements to address deficiencies or to treat conditions such as hardening of your arteries, high cholesterol and type 1 diabetes. (See References 2)

Vitamin B3 Deficiency

If you develop a mild vitamin B3 deficiency, potential symptoms include vomiting, canker sores, indigestion, depression and fatigue, the UMMC reports. If you develop a severe deficiency, you may symptoms of a condition called pellagra, including diarrhea, scaly and cracked skin and dementia. In most cases, vitamin B3 deficiency is a direct result of alcohol abuse. (See References 2)

Niacin Risks

When taken in relatively low daily doses of 50 to 100 mg, niacin supplements can produce side effects that include headache, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, agitation and skin flushing, according to the University of Michigan Health System. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe daily doses as high as 3,000 mg to achieve specific therapeutic results. When used at this level, niacin can produce serious side effects, including the development of disorders such as gastritis, liver damage and diabetes, as well eye damage and heightened levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. Doctors sometimes prescribe timed-release doses of niacin to avoid some of these risks, but timed-release products may produce effects that include liver toxicity or liver failure. (See References 1)

Inositol Hexaniacinate

Use of inositol hexaniacinate may reduce or eliminate the types of side effects associated with niacin while still delivering therapeutic benefits, the University of Michigan Health System reports. Although current research on this subject is limited, some individuals in controlled settings have received very high doses of inositol hexaniacinate without reporting any adverse effects. Still, the University of Michigan Health System recommends that you take therapeutic doses of this supplement only while under a doctor’s explicit guidance. (See References 1)


If you take any form of B vitamin in isolation for extended amounts of time, you can create significant imbalances relative to other important members of the B vitamin family, the UMMC notes. To avoid any potential problems, make sure to take B complex vitamins—which contain multiple B forms—whenever you take inositol hexaniacinate or any other single type of B vitamin. Since supplementation may also trigger unanticipated reactions with other medications, you should also consult your doctor before beginning any supplementation program. (See References 2)

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