Inositol nicotinate a chemical compound that is very similar to vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin. European physicians have been prescribing this nutritional supplement for people who have kidney stones since the 1970's with good results, but it is better known in the United States and Canada as the no-flush form of niacin that can be taken in larger doses without causing redness of the skin or aggravating rosacea.
Most applications of inositol nicotinate rely on the slow release of niacin. For kidney stones, the benefit of the supplement is in the slow release of inositol, which prevent the crystallization of calcium with other compounds in the urine. Inositol prevents the formation of the smaller black or brown kidney stones (the kind that don't grow “horns”) that are more common when the urine is alkaline.
When it is a particularly good idea to take inositol nicotinate to prevent kidney stones?
- When kidney stone sufferers first begin a vegan diet. Replacing meat, fish, eggs, and dairy raises the pH of the urine, making it more alkaline. Inositol nicotinate is more beneficial when the urine is alkaline.
- When kidney stone sufferers also have intestinal absorption problems, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ischemic colitis, short bowel syndrome, or irritable bowel syndrome. Inositol buffers calcium so that the kidneys don't have to process large amounts of calcium at one time.
- When kidney stone sufferers eliminate most leafy greens, high-fiber grains, nuts, and seeds from their diets. Leafy green vegetables, bran, nuts, and seeds are avoided because they are high in oxalates. They are needed, however, because they slow down the absorption of calcium and magnesium into the bloodstream. Inositol nicotinate binds calcium without providing oxalates.
How much inositol nicotinate is enough? Starting with a dosage of 500 mg per day, increase dosage by 500 mg per day once a week, if there are no problems with redness of the skin or facial flushing. Adults may take up to eight 500-mg capsules for a total of 4000 mg per day. Do not use inositol nicotinate if you have liver disease. If you live in a country where inositol nicotinate supplements are restricted, add one-half ounce (15 grams) of rice bran to cereal or white rice daily.