What is inositol?
Inositol usually refers to a group of nutrients that are structurally related. This structure closely resembles glucose molecules. Sometimes they are collectively referred to as vitamin B8 but in the real sense they are not vitamins. A more appropriate term would be that they are pseudovitamins (false vitamins). These compounds are found in many foods but citrus fruits and unprocessed grains contain the highest levels.
When a supplement’s package shows ‘inositol’ in the label, it is in most cases referring to myo-inositol. This type is the most available in nature. It forms about 90% of all the inositol in the body. The other 10% is shared among eight other types of inositol.
Inositol is important in the functions of the cells. It has a unique ability to move into and out of the cells according to the prevailing biological situation. This helps to set up signals to other parts of the body and organs for necessary response. It plays a role in transmitting impulses in the brain and for this reason has been found to be useful in certain brain related health issues.
This compound also affects the efficiency of insulin in a positive way and may therefore help in blood sugar metabolism
Overt inositol deficiency is not common. Patients suffering from insulin resistance have an increased excretion rate of inositol in their urine. This can lead to relative deficiency.
Lithium treatment also affects the amount of inositol in the body and may lead to deficiency and the need for supplementation.
People suffering from depression or mood swing disorder have been found to have low inositol levels. This may suggest that low levels of these molecules can lead to mental issues such as these two. One study showed that signs and symptoms of depression improved with inositol supplementation.
The health benefits of inositol are many and varied. Research has demonstrated these in many studies. Some of the science-backed ones include:
- Supports in the management of mental issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic attack disorders
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is a hormone imbalance disorder in females that is accompanied by abnormalities in the ovaries, excess male hormones, and irregularly or no ovulation as well as abnormal menstrual bleeding.
- Pregnancy related diabetes.
- It helps to reduce the skin symptoms caused by lithium treatment for mood disorders
- Reduces excessive body hair growth in women with or without PCOS
- It augments the efficacy of the contraceptive pill in the treatment of PCOS
- May improve quality of life in patients with certain types of cancer
- Supports better sleep
- Supports heart health
- Helps to balance hormone levels in women
- Reduces high cholesterol levels
- Supports better sugar metabolism by reducing effects of insulin resistance
- Helps to reduce signs and symptoms of PMS
- Helps to maintain a healthy nervous system
- May help in reducing the urge to eat and also in the breakdown of fats. This can help to reduce or maintain a healthy weight.
- Supports ovulation and fertility
Inositol is found in both animal and plant sourced foods. The main plant-based sources include:
Fruits such as:
- Kiwi fruits
Whole grains such as
Vegetables that include:
Nutritional supplements are another reliable source of inositol. As the name suggests, these products only play a nutrition supplemental role. The main focus should be on sourcing this nutrient from the food we eat. The supplement is there to fill gaps that are usually left by today’s hectic life and food options.
There are both natural and synthetic inositol products. Always make sure of the type included in your dietary supplement so that you make an informed decision when making the purchase. In most cases, inositol is part of a supplement with other ingredients. An example is the all-natural Essential multivitamin, multi-mineral, and other ingredients supplement from Belisan. This product has many ingredients that work together with inositol for improved health. One such ingredient is choline
According to the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine – Supplement Sampler, inositol is a generally safe product. Doses as high as 12gms per day have been used and were well-tolerated. Since individual users differ in the way their bodies treat inositol (as well as other supplements), it is important to stick to the recommended dosage indicated on the label.
Inositol has been found to be safe throughout pregnancy.
Some users may experience transient and reversible signs and symptoms after using inositol. These may include:
The same source further explains that there are no known adverse reactions between inositol and any medications or supplements.
Inositol is a safe nutritional product that goes a long way in supporting overall health. It can also be useful in the management of certain health conditions and in the reduction of risks to suffer from some specific health conditions. It is important to talk to your doctor if you consider using this product to manage a specific health problem.
If your aim is to support your health through a supplement that offers you a wide range of ingredients, then consider daily multivitamin Essential from Belisan. This will not only help you to maintain your inositol levels, but it will also help you support good levels of essential vitamins and minerals.
To learn more about daily multivitamin Essential or to make a purchase, click here.
- Benjamin J, Levine J, Fux M, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of inositol treatment for panic disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:1084-6.
- D’Anna, V. Di Benedetto, P. Rizzo, E. Raffone, M. L. Interdonato, F. Corrado & A. Di Benedetto (2011) Myo-inositol may prevent gestational diabetes in PCOS women, Gynecological Endocrinology, 28:6, 440-442, DOI: 10.3109/09513590.2011.633665
- Morgante G, Cappelli V, Di Sabatino A, Massaro MG, De Leo V. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hyperandrogenism: the role of a new natural association. Minerva Ginecol. 2015;67(5):457-463.
- Lam, S., McWilliams, A., MacAulay, C., Wattenberg, L., & Szabo, E. (2006). A phase I study of myo-inositol for lung cancer chemoprevention. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, 15(8), 1526-1531.
- Seedat, S., & Stein, D. J. (1999). Inositol augmentation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder: an open trial. International clinical psychopharmacology, 14(6), 353-356.
- Vucenik, I., Kalebic, T., Tantivejkul, K., & Shamsuddin, A. M. (1998). Novel anticancer function of inositol hexaphosphate: inhibition of human rhabdomyosarcoma in vitro and in vivo. Anticancer research, 18(3A), 1377-1384.