Inositol is a nutrient that was formerly classified as a member of the B-complex family.
Because inositol is produced in the human body, it is not considered an essential nutrient — meaning it does not have to be obtained through your diet or other means.
However, getting an extra amount of inositol in your system may be beneficial, according to the results of some pretty interesting studies. Let’s dig into them.
Inositol Benefits PMDDA meta-analysis published this year confirmed a benefit for inositol in depression, particularly among women dealing with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 1
Studies indicate it could alleviate symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and panic attacks. Anecdotal reports of a calming, relaxing effect associated with inositol-use may help explain the effect.
Inositol Helps PCOSInositol may be of help to women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disease characterized by irregular periods, acne, hair loss, obesity, and insulin resistance.2
In a trial of patients undergoing fertility treatments, women with PCOS and other fertility problems who took inositol had better egg quality and a greater number of clinical pregnancies.3
In another trial of PCOS patients, myo-inositol (the most common form of inositol) plus D-chiro-inositol (a more rapidly absorbed form) resulted in improvements in LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and insulin resistance.4
And in a different study, myo-inositol reduced plasma luteinizing hormone, testosterone, insulin, and other abnormally elevated hormone levels in women with PCOS, while improving insulin sensitivity and the regularity of the menstrual cycles.5
Inositol Combats Insulin ResistanceDue to its role in insulin function, inositol could benefit those who are insulin resistant too.
In a trial of women who have metabolic syndrome, the administration of inositol and alpha-lipoic acid decreased triglycerides in 43.2% of those who received the combination. The nutrients also increased HDL cholesterol and reduced waist size.6
In another study involving 80 metabolic syndrome patients, myo-inositol plus dietary changes improved blood pressure, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and triglycerides compared to those treated only with dietary changes and a placebo.7
Inositol May Reduce the Risk of Gestational DiabetesInositol could help prevent gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
In a recent study of pregnant women who had a type 2 diabetic parent, the women given two grams of myo-inositol twice a day were half as likely to develop gestational diabetes compared to those who received a placebo. They also had a lower risk of delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.8
Inositol Protects Against CancerIn a clinical trial, smokers taking up to 18 grams of myo-inositol daily showed a regression in pre-cancerous lung lesions.9 (Note: This dosage is not recommended except under a doctor's supervision.)
Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), an inositol-containing compound found in cereals and beans, has also shown anti-cancer benefits. According to a Polish study published in 2012, IP6 stops the spread of cancer cells by suppressing genes that are implicated in tumor growth and metastasis.10
The Bottom LineAlthough inositol is made in the human body, there are also benefits to supplementing with it. A beneficial dose is about 100 mg daily.
Inositol is present in most B-complexes and can also be found in multivitamin formulas.
- Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;29(1):55-63.
- Ginekol Pol. 2014 Jan;85(1):54-7.
- Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Nov;17(22):3095-102.
- Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Feb;17(4):537-40.
- Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013 Apr;29(4):375-9.
- Trials. 2013 Aug 28;14:273.
- Menopause. 2011 Jan;18(1):102-4.
- Diabetes Care. 2013 Apr;36(4):854-7.
- Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Aug;15(8):1526-31.
- Acta Pol Pharm. 2012 Nov-Dec;69(6):1307-12.
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