Inositol: Everything You Need to Know

Inositol: Everything You Need to Know

Inositol is a pseudovitamin that plays a vital role in body functions. Also referred to as mayo, this pseudovitamin is found in common food sources such as dried prunes, bran flakes, and navy beans. Low levels of Inositol in the body do not cause any health disorders. However, the vitamin is unique and comes with some promising benefits, when it comes to treating health conditions such as obesity, PCOS, anxiety, and depression.

Inositol supports plenty of biological processes in your body, and is considered a potent vitamin to speed up fat metabolism, nerve functioning, and insulin signaling. Not only this, many clinical studies have shown Inositol as an effective “female health supplement.” Taking Inositol for PCOS is tremendously advantageous to overcome infertility issues.  A bulk of evidence shows Inositol as an essential vitamin that can help people alleviate mood issues, and a number of anxiety-related symptoms.

That is to say, this vitamin-like substance may serve as a complementary therapy, to help you reduce the symptoms of various disorders.

Let’s delve into the details, to find out how Inositol food sources and supplements can help promote overall health.

What is Inositol?

As mentioned earlier, Inositol is a vitamin-like substance naturally found in cantaloupe, and different fiber-rich foods that may include sesame seeds, brown rice, beans, and wheat bran.  Inositol is used to treat a myriad of medical conditions, including mood and metabolic disorders.

You might have heard many medical practitioners referring to it as vitamin B8. Despite having many properties of vitamins, Inositol is not a vitamin. Typically, it is a sugar type (carbocyclic) that has a tendency to influence hormones responsible for controlling cognition and mood. Inositol can also affect insulin response in the body.  The carbocyclic sugar is present in abundant quantity in the human brain and various other mammalian tissues.

Inositol hexaphosphate (also known as” IP6”), Myo-inositol, and D-chiro-inositol are some of the widely used supplements of inositol. These supplements are safe to consume if taken according to professionally prescribed dosages.

What is Inositol Used For?

Inositol has nine types that occur in nature. Two forms, D- chiro-inositol, and Myo-inositol, are widely used to reinforce cell functions.  Precisely, the collection of nine inositols has similar molecular structures. Myo-inositol is used in dietary supplements for its promising health benefits. Inositol is mainly used for restoring insulin sensitivity and improving female fertility.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and type II diabetes, for example, are the two disorders that are most investigated for the benefits of inositol. The vitamin-type substance has mixed benefits for fertility and insulin resistance. That is one of the reasons why myoinositol is prescribed by doctors as a PCO treatment for women. It is considered the best inositol for PCOS.

Due to the inositol’s benefits to improving fertility in women and the anxiolytic effects, it can help reduce PMS symptoms (anxiety and dysphoria). Taking inositol in pregnancy, along with iron supplements or folic acids, may help women reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Health Benefits of Inositol

In the last few decades, the therapeutic interest for the potential role of inositol has significantly increased. The nine molecules, including inositol arginine, Myo-inositol, and IP6 for inositol cancer treatment, have been widely studied by researchers and medical professionals. The health providers and doctors recommend Myo-inositol supplements for a plethora of health-related benefits. Let us navigate some of the most prominent health benefits of inositol.

Inositol for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Endocrine Practice published a small study that found D-chiro-inositol beneficial for managing PCOS symptoms.  The study was conducted on twenty women who were experiencing PCOS symptoms. The women were treated with 6g of D-chiro- inositol a day for eight weeks. The inositol PCOS treatment helped women reduce many abnormalities associated with this fertility-related disease.

Moreover, D-chiro inositol was very helpful in maintaining the elevated levels of fats in the blood and high blood pressure. The dose decreased the elevated testosterone level (hormonal imbalance) by 73% as compared to women who were not given inositol. The study concluded that inositol helps normalize hormonal balance in the body that translates to a reduction of PCOS symptoms.

Many studies mention that inositol may improve the function of female fertility eggs (ovaries). Therefore, medical professionals recommend taking 2-4g of inositol per day to improve the regularity of the menstrual cycle as well as ovulation.

Inositol for Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, not all supplements will give you the same benefits. Plus, they lack sufficient scientific evidence that could prove their efficacy. Choline inositol and myoinositol, in this regard, are some of the supplements that may have a huge impact on the hormones.  Both molecules of inositol serve as secondary messengers for the body cells.  Myo-inositol, particularly, aids in weight loss and is potentially powerful in treating hormone imbalance, mood disorders, and PCOs.

It is worth noting that hormone messengers in the human body regulate both weight loss and weight gain mechanisms. The fat hormones, such as Leptin, send messages to the tissues and brain to modulate the basal metabolic rate and caloric burn. That is why it is imperative to impact fat hormones to achieve long-term weight loss goals.

Myo-inositol and choline inositol help reduce Leptin resistance to keep disorders like hypothalamic obesity at bay. Leptin resistance refers to dysregulation of the hormonal system that often makes shedding pounds incredibly difficult.  Many studies have shown choline inositol as an effective supplement when it comes to reducing Leptin levels in the body. Myo-inositol may also help lower insulin levels to treat obesity. Inositol weight loss gives you long-lasting results as using continuous dosages of myoinositol can prevent Leptin levels from rising. You can maintain the weight you have lost for a long time.

How Much Choline Inositol do you Need to take for Weight Loss?

This is one of the most common questions many people have in mind when they begin their inositol weight loss journey. According to the National Institute of Medicines, you can take 200-500mg of choline inositol a day. If you are a lactating mother, a dose of 425 mg per day is enough to help you fight obesity.

Inositol Depression and Anxiety

You might have read several inositol anxiety reviews on the internet. The carboxylic sugar is believed to have therapeutic effects on the individuals suffering from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and sleep deprivation. Inositol stimulates the “feel good” hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, in the brain. Myoinositol, if taken adequately, may reduce the symptoms associated with clinical depression.

The benefits of inositol have been seen in patients with panic disorders (PD). Depression is also common in these patients. The Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology published a small study to evaluate the effects of inositol on patients with panic disorder and anxiety.  The participants in the study were given 18g of inositol dosage for anxiety for four weeks. The other participants were treated with 150g of the psychiatric drug, Luvox. Researchers found a major difference in the condition of sufferers, when the effects of supplements were compared. Individuals who used myoinositol experienced fewer panic attacks, than participants who were given Luvox.

In addition to this study, several other studies have shown the optimal effects of inositol to treat depressive disorders, when paired with SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

Inositol for Healthy Pregnancy

Inositol can be effective in pregnancy, particularly for women with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Several studies have confirmed the findings to validate the use of inositol by expectant mothers who suffer from glucose intolerance and inositol metabolic syndrome.  Myoinositol, for instance, plays a physiological role in both embryonic development and mammalian gametogenesis.

Inositol for Cancer Prevention

Recently, inositol hexaphosphate IP6 has drawn the attention of medical professionals for its significant role in preventing tumor growth and cancer. IP6 or inositol hexaphosphate is one of the naturally occurring carbohydrates. It is abundantly found in fiber-rich plants and other high-fiber diets.

The carbohydrate is important in regulating critical cellular functions, that include: cell proliferation, signal transduction, and differentiation.  It contains amazing natural antioxidant properties that are not only effective in preventing cancerous tumors, but also pathological calcification, kidney stone formation, and immunity disorders.

Many experimental models have displayed IP6’s striking anticancer actions.  According to many studies, the anticancer property of inositol is inconsistent if it is not combined with IP6. Plus, IP6 aids in increasing the differentiation of harmful cells. This results in reduced production of several tumor markers, such as PSAP, CEA, and AFP.

Inositol Choline for Hair Growth

This is another great benefit of incorporating inositol into your diet. Inositol, specifically Choline, is a great solution to frizzy and fragile hair.  It helps your natural tresses by strengthening their follicles, and retaining moisture. Lack of moisture is one of the major causes of dry and damaged hair.  Inositol Choline keeps hair moisturized, and helps women achieve quick and substantial growth in their hair.

Furthermore, it promotes natural hair and prevents baldness. People with insufficient intake of vitamin B8 are susceptible to baldness. However, the issue can be subsided by taking proper intake of inositol for hair health.

Does Inositol Have Side Effects?

The best part of adding inositol to your diet is that it has minimal side effects. It is a natural substance that might surface some mild side effects in the first time user. Irritation and rashes are some of the most common side effects that you may experience when using inositol.

People with weak gastrointestinal systems, and immunity, may also experience nausea, headache, tiredness, and dizziness upon consuming vitamin B8.  Taking small dosages, in the beginning, is the right way to familiarize your body with the use of inositol supplements.

Pregnant women are recommended to not take more than 4 g of inositol per day, to avoid any adverse effects. Other than this, inositol supplements are considered safe to use. Moreover, there is no sufficient evidence on the negative interaction of inositol with other supplements or drugs. Phytic-acid, however, may interfere with inositol when it comes to absorbing minerals, particularly zinc, iron, and calcium.

Recommended Dosages of Inositol

As mentioned previously, the D- chiro-inositol and Myo-inositol are the main forms that are used in inositol supplements.  While there is no standard dosage or effective type of inositol, the following dosages have proven to be effective in research studies:

  • For mental conditions: 12–18g of Myo-inositol a day for 4–6 weeks
  • For PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome): 1.2g of D- chiro-inositol a day, or 2g of Myo-inositol and 200 mg of folic acid for six months
  • For metabolic syndromes: 2g of Myo-inositol twice a day for 12 months
  • For blood sugar tolerance in diabetes: 2g of Myo-inositol and 400mg of folic acid twice a day during pregnancy
  • For blood sugar tolerance in type-2 diabetes: 1g of D- chiro-inositol and 400mg folic acid once a day for six months

What are Inositol Deficiency Symptoms?

It is worth mentioning that your body manufactures an adequate amount of inositol, and it is also present in plenty of food items.

However, your body needs to have a significant intake of inositol if you are on antibiotics, or addicted to caffeinated drinks, such as tea and coffee. High consumption of coffee may destroy vitamin B8 in your body, and can cause inositol deficiency.

Look for the following symptoms if you are suffering from inositol deficiency.

  • Memory loss
  • Excess fat in the liver
  • Constipation
  • High cholesterol
  • Eczema
  • Eye abnormalities
  • Patchy baldness, hair loss, and alopecia
  • Hardening of arteries

Bottom Line

All in all, inositol or vitamin B8, is an essential nutrient that your body needs to balance hormones, and maintain other healthy functions of the body.  Although it is not recognized as a real vitamin, it is synthesized in your body from carbohydrates and glucose by gut bacteria. This vitamin-type substance can help people improve PCOS symptoms, reduce weight, strengthen hair, prevent cancer, and enhance nerve functions in the body.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.