Coronary artery disease is associated with increased serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL, but low levels of HDL. The most potent agent capable of reversing this trend is the vitamin nicotinic acid (niacin). However, compliance even with extended-release preparations and addition of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is hampered by the development of a feeling of erythema and burning ("flush"), especially on the face. We recently showed that the natural flavonoids quercetin and luteolin can eliminate "flush", as well as inhibit both niacin-induced plasma prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and serotonin increase in an animal model. We conducted a pilot clinical study in humans. Four normal male subjects received (a) 1 g immediate release niacin either alone or after (b) the dietary formulation (Algonot-plus) containing 150 mg quercetin per capsule. Subjects completed a visual scale (1 = no, 5 = worst response) symptom assessment. Erythema and burning sensation scores were both 4.75+/-0.50 and lasted for 3.63+/-1.11 hours. After Algonot-plus administration, both scores were reduced to 2.5+/-0.58 and lasted only for 1.68+/-0.70 hours. Quercetin also inhibited methylnicotinate-induced human mast cell PGD2 release. These preliminary results suggest that quercetin could reduce niacin-induced "flush" in humans.