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Slow-release niacin backed for lowering cholesterol, finds Lonza study

By Nathan Gray , 06-Feb-2013
Last updated on 06-Feb-2013 at 16:13 GMT

Slow-release niacin supplements are an effective way to lower cholesterol levels, while intake of inositol hexanicotinate (IHN) is ineffective, according to new research data.

The Lonza sponsored study, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, compared the effects of an extended-release form of niacin to IHN and placebo on cholesterol levels in a blinded placebo controlled trial of 120 participants – finding that inositol hexanicotinate (IHN) is ineffective in managing high cholesterol while a wax-matrix form of extended release niacin (Niamax, Lonza) can help to lower cholesterol.

Led by Dr Joseph Keenan and his team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, USA, the study found that participants consuming a daily dose of niacin improved blood lipid markers and lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by 11% and 18% respectively.

Speaking to Nutraingredients, Ulla Freitas from Lonza explained that the new study signifies the firms commitment to niacin both in the USA and Europe. However she added that the findings of the study –which used a dose of 1500mg per day of niacin – must be set against the regulatory environment where such levels are above European daily intake recommendations.

Study details

Keenan and his team performed the randomised trial in 120 subjects with high cholesterol (diagnosed as mild-to-moderate dyslipidemia) at the University of Minnesota’s Clinical Research Center.  The participants were randomised (40 per group) to receive 1500 mg/d niacin, 1500 mg/d IHN, or placebo for six weeks after a four week diet lead-in period.

All subjects received instruction for a heart-healthy diet, and were monitored for diet, medication side effects, blood chemistries, blood lipids and dosing compliance throughout the study, they noted.

Results showed IHN and placebo produced no significant improvement in blood lipids, while the wax-matrix niacin demonstrated positive lipid benefits – reducing total cholesterol 11%, LDL cholesterol 18%, non-HDL cholesterol 15% and triglycerides 9%.

Keenan also noted that the niacin supplementation promoted an increase in HDL cholesterol by 12%.

Blood chemistry monitoring showed a modest rise in liver enzymes within the range of normal, which was not considered clinically significant, the research tem added.

The team also noted that six subjects in the wax-matrix niacin arm of this study completed the study on a reduced dose (500 to 1000 mg/day) and had comparable lipid benefits to the full dose subjects.

Source: Journal of Clinical Lipidology
January-February 2013, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 14-23, doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2012.10.004
“Wax-matrix extended-release niacin vs inositol hexanicotinate: A comparison of wax-matrix, extended-release niacin to inositol hexanicotinate “no-flush” niacin in persons with mild to moderate dyslipidemia”
Authors: J.M. Keenan

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