Inositol

Inositol is a vitamin-like substance which can be found in many forms.

Updated: August 27, 2019

Inositol is a vitamin-like substance which can be found in many forms (called isomers). The most common forms are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. It is found in many plants and animals. It is also produced in the human body and can be made in a laboratory. The vitamin can be used for for diabetes, nerve problems caused by diabetes, gestational diabetes, metabolic syndrome as it help insulin work better. The conditions associated with menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including failure to ovulate, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high levels of testosterone can be improved by Inositol.
It is also used for depression, schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), compulsive hair pulling (trichotillomania), bipolar disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses. Complications during pregnancy such as neural tube birth defects can be avoided by taking inositol by mouth. It is also used to prevent the side effects of lithium dgug. Premature babies with acute respiratory distress syndrome are given Inositol by mouth or intravenously. Inositol might balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with mental conditions such as panic disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Uses & Effectiveness:

Possibly Effective for:

Side effects caused by lithium:

Taking inositol by mouth seems to improve psoriasis, a skin condition caused by lithium. But it doesn't seem to help psoriasis in people not taking lithium. Inositol doesn't seem to improve other side effects caused by lithium.

Metabolic syndrome:

Taking inositol with or without alpha-lipoic acid seems to improve insulin resistance, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood pressure in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome.

Panic disorder:

It is type of anxiety marked by episodes of intense fear. Inositol helps controlling panic attacks and the fear of public places or open spaces called as agoraphobia as a prescription medication. However, larger clinical studies are needed before inositol's effectiveness for panic attacks can be proven.

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS:

It is a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts. Inositol seems to be beneficial for PCOS. Taking particular forms of inositol (D-chiro-inositol or myo-inositol) by mouth seems to lower triglyceride and testosterone levels, decrease blood pressure, and improve the function of the ovaries in overweight or obese women with PCOS. Some research also shows that taking the two forms of inositol together improves ovulation better than taking D-chiro-inositol alone. Also, taking this combination seems to improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood insulin levels better than taking myo-inositol alone.

Possibly Ineffective for:

Acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS:

This is a sudden and serious lung condition. Giving inositol intravenously (by IV) to premature babies with ARDS does not seem to help and might be harmful. Older early research suggests that inositol decreases the risk of death, blindness, bleeding in the brain, and other adverse events. However, the latest study shows that inositol does not decrease the risk of death, blindness, or other outcomes in these infants. It might even slightly increase the risk of death and blindness.

Alzheimer disease:

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of Alzheimer disease.

Anxiety:

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve the severity of anxiety symptoms.

Schizophrenia:

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of schizophrenia.

Depression:

Most research shows that inositol doesn't improve symptoms of depression.
While some early research shows that depressed people receiving inositol for 4 weeks may improve at first. However, they seem to get worse again after a while. There was also believe that inositol might make antidepressant medications called SSRIs work better which is not proven to be true.

Autism:

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of autism.

Likely InEffective for:

Diabetic neuropathy:

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve the symptoms of nerve pain caused by diabetes.

Insufficient Evidence for:

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early studies show inositol might not help improve ADHD symptoms.

Diabetes:

Taking a combination of folic acid and a form of inositol called D-chiro-inositol decreases blood glucose more than taking folic acid by itself in overweight people with type 1 diabetes. Inositol might also help prevent diabetes in pregnancy. Taking a certain form of inositol called myo-inositol along with folic acid during pregnancy might reduce the chance of developing diabetes during pregnancy in women who are at risk.
However, giving inositol to pregnant women that already have diabetes doesn't seem to help.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD:

This is a type of anxiety marked by recurrent thoughts and repetitive behaviors. There is some evidence that people with OCD who receive inositol by mouth for 6 weeks experience an improvement in OCD symptoms. However, inositol doesn't seem to improve OCD symptoms in people already being treated with medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD:

It is a type of anxiety that often develops after a terrifying event. Early research shows that taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve distress in people with PTSD.

Bipolar disorder:

Taking inositol with a certain omega-3 fatty acid improves mania and depressive symptoms in children with bipolar disorder.

Hair pulling (trichotillomania):

Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of compulsive hair pulling.

Lung cancer:

Taking inositol does not reverse the growth of pre-cancer cells in people at high risk for lung cancer.
More evidence is needed to rate inositol for the below uses:

  •     Cancer.
  •     Hair growth.
  •     High cholesterol.
  •     Problems metabolizing fat.
  •     Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  •     Other conditions.

Side Effects & Safety:

Inositol is possibly safe for most adults when taken by mouth. However, it can cause nausea, stomach pain, tiredness, headache, and dizziness.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children:

Inositol is possibly safe when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks in children ages 5-12 years old. It is also possibly safe when used in the hospital for premature infants with a sudden and serious lung condition known as acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS, for up to 10 days. However, inositol is possibly unsafe when used for longer than 10 days in premature infants with ARDS.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding:

Inositol is possibly safe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Not enough is known about the use of inositol during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Diabetes: Inositol may lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c levels. Monitor your blood sugar carefully and keep a watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if you have diabetes and use inositol.

Dosing:

The following doses have been studied in scientific research and is recommended:

Adults:

By Mouth:

Gestational diabetes:

2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 200 mg of folic acid can be taken twice per day beginning during the first trimester of pregnancy for diabetes during pregnancy .

Treating lithium-related psoriasis:

6 grams of inositol can be given daily.

Metabolic syndrome:

2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) can be taken twice per day for one year.

Panic disorder:

12-18 grams of inositol can be taken daily.

Treating symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome:

1000 to 1200 mg of a certain form of inositol (isomer D-chiro-inositol) can be used. Also, a product containing 4 grams of another form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 400 mcg of folic acid can be taken daily for up to 6 months.
A specific product containing 550 mg of myo-inositol and 13.8 mg of D-chiro-inositol can also be taken twice daily for up to 6 months.

Complications during pregnancy:

2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 200 mg of folic acid can be taken twice per day beginning during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Children:

By Mouth:

Respiratory distress syndrome:

120-160 mg/kg of inositol or 2500 mcmol/L of inositol can be used in the hospital for breathing problem in premature infants.

Intravenously:

Respiratory distress syndrome:

80-160 mg/kg of inositol can be used in the hospital for a breathing problem in premature infants.


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