You might have heard about Inositol in many health forums or by doctors every now and then. It’s quite the topic these days because of all the recent research was done on it! Thanks to science, more and more people have found out about its plethora of benefits.
Inositol is basically a vitamin-like substance that is present in most plants and animals. It is also produced by your body and it can also be produced in the laboratory in its synthetic form. The most common types are Myo-inositol and D-chyro inositol.
It is a chemical compound similar to that of a vitamin and was earlier thought to be part of B complex vitamins. But later on, it was discovered that our bodies produce their own inositol and so it was not considered a vitamin in its true form anymore. Some health conditions cause people to produce less of inositol so they would need supplementation.
Besides supplementation, you can also have certain foods that are high in inositol such as brown rice, nuts, leafy greens, whole grain flour, soy flour and citrus fruits. Lecithin granules and its other sources also produce inositol.
This vitamin like compound is present in high concentrations of the brain and plays a part in functioning with many neurotransmitters. Although healthy brain function is its main purpose, it has a host of other benefits that you can enjoy if you include it in your diet.
- Helps in regulating mood and nerve signals
- Helps regulating liver and brain health, weight loss
- Helps in conditions, like PCOS insulin sensitivity and fertility
Inositol works by helping your body use its insulin properly. The pancreas produces this hormone and releases it into the bloodstream. Insulin makes the cells in our blood use and absorb glucose (sugar) thereby giving us the energy we need.
When you eat food, the body breaks it down into glucose and stores it up as energy or for later use. Your body increases the production of insulin if there is an increase in glucose levels. The insulin receptors then bind themselves to the surface of the cells. When your insulin receptors bind themselves, they also release and unlock other messengers to the cell that tell it o take the glucose from the blood.
People that suffer from insulin resistance have a hard time having their glucose extracted out from the cells and eventually end up getting diabetes because the glucose in the blood remains high. This results in the pancreas producing more Inositol plays its role as a secondary messenger that helps the insulin to attach itself to the cells and perform its function.
1. Treats Anxiety Disorders And Depression
Inositol regulates the hormone levels in the brain and helps in producing endorphins such as dopamine and other neurotransmitters that promote healthy function of the brain and body such as serotonin and melatonin. It also helps in reducing cortisol which is the body’s stress hormone and is released when someone is in anxiety, stress and depression. Inositol supplements are also used to treat OCD and panic attacks as well.
People with panic disorders who experience extreme anxiety attacks can greatly benefit from inositol as it helps them to relax in what would normally be stressful situations for them. It is even given as a prescription medication for many people and clinical studies have proven it to be very useful. However, before taking any supplementation or medication, it is always wise to consult your doctor.
Even though inositol has shown to be effective for people with OCD, it doesn’t improve the conditions if someone is already on medications for it such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Inositol not only helps in regulating neurotransmitters in the brain, it also communicates with GABA receptors in it. GABA receptors are the ones that help make a person stay calm and composed in situations where they would otherwise panic and get into the fight or flight mode.
2. Promotes Sleep
One of the major reasons for people unable to sleep on time at night is because they are over thinking and stressed out about things. Even if they are not consciously thinking about anything stressful, the brain’s receptors are not releasing the sleep regulating hormone called serotonin and melatonin. When these hormones are low then it gets harder to fall asleep.
The sleep that you get is disturbed and you are not able to reach the deep or REM sleep in your sleep cycle. If taken regularly, inositol helps regulate your sleep pattern and you end up waking up fresh and energetic in the morning.
Everyone knows how important sleep and how to get good sleep is because missing just one night of proper sleep can result in a groggy and foggy mind the following day. Your mood and energy levels get affected and you are not your best. Losing sleep on a regular basis can be detrimental to one’s health which is inositol is an amazing supplement you can use to give your body the peaceful sleep it deserves.
3. Blood Circulation
Inositol greatly helps in improving blood circulation throughout the body. By regulating proper blood flow, it can help people with conditions such as atherosclerosis and cardiac issues. Healthy blood flow in your body ensures that the cells are nourished and your body gets plenty of oxygen and the optimum amount of nutrients it needs.
4. Fertility For Women
Inositol is an essential compound for women suffering from infertility. Women that have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) have a hormonal imbalance that makes it difficult to impossible to get pregnant. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is affecting a majority of women these days. Girls as young as 13 have been diagnosed with it and doctors haven’t figured out the cure for it. Research points towards the unhealthy and processed junk food and hormone injected animals these days that people consume.
This results in women of child-bearing years to have a hormonal imbalance and they develop cysts in their ovaries. Inositol acts as a messenger for insulin. Insulin resistance is a common symptom for all women that have PCOS. High levels of insulin cause the body to release testosterone levels, gain weight and become diabetic. Inositol helps to keep those levels at bay and promote a fertile reproductive system.
Although there is still some ongoing research, it has shown promising results for autistic people. Research shows that children that have autism are deficient in inositol. It is important to consult the doctor if you are planning on giving your child inositol supplements.
As you age, not only does your body age, but your brain as well. As people age, neural functions start to dwindle down. When your brain starts to age, you start to have memory issues and learning new things becomes a bit of a problem. Inositol helps prevent oxidative stress in the brain and encourages healthy communication of the neurotransmitters with the rest of the body.
Taking inositol supplements regularly especially after the age of 40 can help you prevent brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia and even Parkinson’s.
Inositol helps to reduce gestational diabetes in pregnant women and also type 2 diabetes in general. It especially makes sure that insulin levels are kept at bay by delivering special nutrients in the pancreas. This is one of the reasons why it is so effective and helpful for women with PCOS as it helps in reducing their insulin resistance.
8. Weight Loss
Your body needs to have a fast metabolism in order to reduce and maintain its weight. You can’t lose weight if you a low metabolism as you will feel lethargic and low on energy all the time. Apart from having a healthy diet and an exercise regimen, there are still some deficiencies that prevent people from losing weight and one of them is due to lack of high inositol levels in their bodies.
9. Heart Problems
Inositol has proven to be helpful in lower triglycerides in the bloodstream that could lead to cardiac problems later on in life. It also helps in reducing blood pressure that is common in people with metabolic syndrome.
Inositol is crucial in the prenatal growth of babies. Higher concentrations are found in newborns and inositol levels start to get reduced by the time the babies are 1 weeks old.
Inositol also has antioxidant properties that help combat free radicals in the cells. It slows down the oxidative process which in turn delays signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces inflammation in the joints that are caused by oxidative stress in the tissues of the joints with age.
12. Hair Growth
People deficient in inositol can suffer from hair loss. This could be due to 2 reasons. A diet low in B vitamins won’t be able to nourish the follicles in your scalp and help it to grow. If your diet is low on healthy and organic foods such as citrus fruits and leafy greens, then your hair shafts are not going to benefit from their nutrients including inositol.
The other reason for hair fall could be high testosterone levels that are due to increased levels of insulin. Once insulin is curbed down, so doe testosterone and you don’t have excess DHT in your blood that causes hair loss.
How to Take Inositol?
It is quite easy to maintain high levels of inositol in your body because your body produces plenty of it unless you suffered from insulin resistance, PCOS, and other health conditions. It is recommended to take its supplements in order for your body to function at its optimum level. It is recommended to use 2-4 grams of inositol every day in the form of a pill or in powder form. This is to ensure fertility and hormone control if you are taking inositol for brain health, then it is preferred to take 12-20 grams every day.
However, it is a given that you must consult with your doctor first prior to taking it as it may interact with other medications that you might be taking.
Although considered to be a safe compound, inositol can have certain side effects in rare cases if taken too much or with certain drugs or medications. The most common side effects include the following:
- Stomach pain
There are thousands of people out there that are benefiting from this amazing compound. Let’s find out what they are saying:
I can’t believe I didn’t try this miracle worker before! I have been suffering from PCOS since my late teens and I was always on the lookout for the next medication or supplement that would chuck all the related problems out the window. I found out about inositol supplements from a friend at the gym who has the same condition as mine and I was a bit hesitant to try it. I started taking inositol and OMG! The results started to show in the first 10 days, I have patchy and dark skin tags around my neck, they fade and my energy levels increased. I can now follow a workout every day and I’m also losing weight. -Patricia
I got inositol supplements for my mother because she started to have memory problems since a few months ago. She would get mood swings because she couldn’t remember basic things like birthdays, names etc and feel depressed about it. I gave her inositol and within a month, her moods and memory started to improve. I was a bit surprised myself and got myself a bottle of inositol as well. -Meg
I got inositol for myself after I got diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety issues. I didn’t want to take any drug that would make me dependent on it so my doctor prescribed me inositol. It has really been working like a charm for me as my mood swings have stopped and I can sleep better. I no longer have panic attacks or stress before giving any presentations at work as well. -Farah
Try inositol and see for yourself how it changes your life for the better.
- Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry.
- A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders
- Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review
- Inositol versus placebo augmentation of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a double-blind cross-over study.
- Variations in myo-inositol in fronto-limbic regions and clinical response to electroconvulsive therapy in major depression
- Double-blind, controlled trial of inositol treatment of depression.
- Evaluation of Myo-Inositol as a Potential Biomarker for Depression in Schizophrenia
- P03.15. Myo-inositol for Comorbid Anxiety in Children and Adolescents With Bipolar Disorder: Promise and Pitfalls
- Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review
- Inositol for depression
- Inositol treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Inositol for depressive disorders.
- Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder.