Study Title:

Inositol Hexaniacinate Helps Intermittent Claudication

Study Abstract

Intermittent claudication, a deficiency of blood supply to an exercising muscle, results in pain, ache, cramping or fatigue, usually in the calf, after a short period of walking but not at rest. It may also involve hip, thigh, buttocks and foot. It is caused by arterial insufficiency, generally secondary to atherosclerosis. The use of niacin esters, IHN in particular, for this condition has been examined extensively. O’Hara,6,28 in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, reported on a group of 100patients who were given either 2 grams of IHN or placebo twice daily for 3 months. They were tested monthly on a special exercise machine that simulated box-stepping. The elapsed time and the number of steps taken to achieve claudication pain were recorded. There was a gradual increase in time to claudication
pain in both groups over the 3-month period, but the changes were statistically significant only in the IHN group. Furthermore, after 3 months, the patients receiving IHN reported significantly greater subjective improvement than did the placebo group. As with Raynaud’s, discussion of the mechanisms involved has led to controversy.

While arterial dilation may be involved, it has been postulated that reduction in fibrinogen, improvement in blood viscosity and resultant improvement in oxygen transport is induced by IHN.28 Kiff studied 80 patients with intermittent claudication over a 3 month period in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with IHN at a dosage of 2 grams twice daily. Symptoms, maximum treadmill distance and walking time were assessed. The most significant finding in this study was that reduction of cigarette smoking had a major influence on treadmill measurements. When smoking was factored out of the equation, the IHN group had significant improvement in treadmill distance.5

Tyson found improvement in walking time and number of paces, as measured by stop watch and pedometer, in a group of 86 patients, with statistical significance of IHN over placebo in the most severely effected group.29 Intermittent claudication poses some difficulties in assessment as the exercise, in itself, will benefit both the placebo and the test group. The IHN, in all studies cited above, seemed to have been tolerated as well or better than placebo. Seckfort has reported that in chronic cases of vascular insufficiency, doses up to 1800 mg. daily were administered without noticeable side effect.30

Study Information

Kathleen A. Head,
Inositol Hexaniacinate: Safer Alternative to Niacin
Alternative Medicine Review
1998 June

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