- Helps to maintain healthy hormone balance
- Used as part of a healthy diet to regulate insulin sensitivity
- Helps support healthy stress levels
Inositol is a common molecule found in the glucose metabolic pathway and is responsible for regulating a wide range of bodily functions. Inositol has been found to be effective in improving female vitality; helping to maintain healthy hormone and stress levels and improving overall health.
Recommended dosage of inositol supplements depends on the desired effects. For PCOS and insulin sensitivity, around 400 - 2000 mg daily is effective; for anti-anxiety effects 6 g - 10 g have been tested to have beneficial effects. In extremely high doses, some gastrointestinal discomfort has been reported.
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“As always, I keep coming back to LiftMode and have not been let down. This is pure Inositol and works as advertised. It is sweet to the taste and seems to promote a sense of well being. It has no harsh highs, lows, or come downs -- as it is a very natural ingredient that is healthy for your body and mind. Would recommend buying this from LiftMode to anyone interested.” - E. S. Orth, Liftmode.com Inositol verified buy on Amazon
What is Inositol?
Myo-Inositol is commonly referred to simply as inositol. It is sometimes classified as a vitamin, but it is not a true vitamin because it is very common in food sources and can be synthesized naturally by our bodies.[i] It forms part of the glucose metabolism system (the system to convert sugar into energy) and also acts as an important signaling molecule in many biological processes.
Lack of inositol from the diet does not seem to cause negative health effects, probably because it is easily synthesized by our bodies. However, it is quite uncommon to find people with inositol deficiency because it is actually very prevalent in our diets. Most foods contain some inositol.[ii]
Inositol supplements provide an effective way to help to promote general health and well-being. Inositol may be effective in helping to manage some symptoms of PCOS, a common female hormonal disorder. It may increase your body's sensitivity to insulin and has the potential to help regulate blood sugar and maintain a healthy circulatory system.[iii] At higher doses, Myo-Inositol has been found to been effective at reducing feelings of stress.[iv]
Inositol effects / benefits
Helps to maintain healthy hormone levels in women
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting roughly 10-15% of women globally.[v]It is known as a ‘silent killer’ because of its links to the development of other medical disorders including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. [vi] Other difficult symptoms include excess hair growth, male-pattern baldness, mood changes, anxiety, irregular periods, and acne. These symptoms are thought to be a result of impaired insulin resistance and the resulting unnaturally high levels of testosterone in PCOS-diagnosed women.[vii]
Multiple studies have confirmed the effectiveness of inositol in improving symptoms of PCOS. The major effect of inositol is to improve insulin sensitivity, and it is thought that the reduced testosterone levels in PCOS patients are a result of this effect.[viii]
Supplementation with 2000 mg of inositol daily for 12 weeks has been shown to restore periods in women who lost their menstrual cycle as a result of PCOS.[ix]
Even in low doses (200 mg daily) inositol has been shown to significantly improve ovulation in PCOS diagnosed women.[x]
May help to maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure
Our bodies produce insulin as a response to sugar in the blood. Insulin’s job is to facilitate the breakdown of sugar, as part of a big biochemical pathway. Insulin resistance means that our bodies are resistant to the effect of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar.[xi] This can prompt the body to create more insulin in response, creating an effect called high blood insulin.
Inositol is part of the big biochemical pathway that breaks down sugar (glucose). It is produced naturally and is broken down into two molecules: P-IPG and A-IPG. These two have a love-hate relationship that helps to regulate the breakdown of sugar and other bodily functions.[xii]
Inositol supplementation appears to regulate the ratio of P-IPG and A-IPG and helps to restore normality in otherwise dysfunctional P-IPG and A-IPG relationships, thereby lowering high blood sugar.[xiii]
High blood sugar, high blood pressure and even diabetes-related misuse of glucose have been shown to be treatable with moderate doses of inositol supplements.[xiv]
Anti-stress and calming effects
Inositol has potent calming and stress-reducing effects at high doses (around 4 g to 18 g daily). The first study to show this was an animal study, which showed that rats performed better in stress-response tests after having been treated with inositol.[xv] One human study indicated that inositol is may be at least as effective as a common medication used for stress, with fewer reported side-effects.[xvi]
At least human study has shown the potential mood-boosting effects from using inositol. In the study, high doses of 12 g daily, for 4 weeks, significantly reduced symptoms of depression in the participants.[xvii]
However, these mood-boosting effects do not seem to work in people who are diagnosed with depression and are resistant to SSRI treatment.[xviii]This suggests that the anti-anxiety effects of inositol are related to serotonin in the brain.
There is a multitude of other potential benefits of inositol supplementation. We have listed the three most studied benefits. To find out more about other potential benefits of inositol please read through the Inositol page on Examine.com or even on Wikipedia.
Beware of getting information about inositol and other supplements from other web sources, especially ones that are not referenced or do not provide links to their references.
Inositol recommended dosage
Recommended usage of inositol supplements varies depending on the desired effects.
To help with hormonal balance, and to help maintain a healthy circulatory system, dosage appears effective around the 2000 - 4000 mg range.
For anti-stress effects, a far higher dosage of around 8 - 12 g daily appears to be effective, according to recent studies.[xix]
It is important to note that many of the benefits of inositol supplementation become far more significant with prolonged use. Up to 4 weeks after initial dosage, results appear to peak in many of the studies examined.
Inositol side effects / warnings
Inositol side effects are minimal which is a great benefit, especially when compared to commonly prescribed SSRIs. In extremely high doses of 30 g daily, the only significant side effects are mild gastrointestinal upset. The same study was conducted over a 3 month period and has found that prolonged use of inositol appears safe.[xx]
Several studies have been conducted on pregnant women using inositol supplements and no adverse effects have yet been found.[xxi]
Important for men: testosterone
There is a fair amount of online information relating to lowered testosterone levels after inositol dosage. However, it is important to note that the studies which showed lowered testosterone levels were studied on women with PCOS - a hormonal disorder that produces insulin resistance and increased testosterone levels as a result.
Inositol is effective at increasing insulin sensitivity and, therefore, regulating testosterone levels in women with PCOS.[xxii] So far, there have been no studies on men to show that inositol can directly lower testosterone levels.
[i] “Inositol” Examine.com, accessed 11/25/2015 http://examine.com/supplements/inositol/#summary3-3
[ii] “Myo-inositol content of common foods: development of a high-myo-inositol diet” Rex S. Clements, Jr., M.D. and Betty Darnell, M.S., RD. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 33: 1954-1967, 1980. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/33/9/1954.full.pdf
[iii] “The effect of myoinositol supplementation on insulin resistance in patients with gestational diabetes.” Corrado F et al, Diabet Med. 2011 Aug;28(8):972-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03284.x.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21414183
[iv] “A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders” Mukai T, Kishi T, Matsuda Y, Iwata N Human Psychopharmacology 2014; 29(1): 55-63.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0062698/
[vi] “PCOS Symptoms and causes” Jean Hailes: For Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/pcos/symptoms-causes
[vii] “Metformin in polycystic ovary syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis” Jonathan M Lord, Ingrid H K Flight, Robert J Norman, BMJ 2003;327:951http://www.bmj.com/content/327/7421/951
[viii] “Impact of insulin and body mass index on metabolic and endocrine variables in polycystic ovary syndrome.” Ciampelli M et al, Metabolism. 1999 Feb;48(2):167-72http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10024076
[ix] “Myo-inositol administration positively affects hyperinsulinemia and hormonal parameters in overweight patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Genazzani AD et al, Gynecol Endocrinol. 2008 Mar;24(3):139-44. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18335328
[x] “Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial.” Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC, Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003 Nov-Dec;7(6):151-9.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15206484
[xi] “chiro-inositol deficiency and insulin resistance: a comparison of the chiro-inositol- and the myo-inositol-containing insulin mediators isolated from urine, hemodialysate, and muscle of control and type II diabetic subjects” Asplin I, Galasko G, Larner J, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jul 1;90(13):5924-8.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8392181
[xii] “Metabolic and hormonal effects of myo-inositol in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a double-blind trial.” Costantino D et al, Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Mar-Apr;13(2):105-10.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499845
[xiii] “Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes” NIH Online, accessed 24-11-2015 http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pages/index.aspx
[xiv] “Effects of myo-inositol supplementation in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome: a perspective, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Giordano D et al, Menopause. 2011 Jan;18(1):102-4.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20811299
[xvi] “Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder.” Palatnik A et al, J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;21(3):335-9 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11386498
[xix] “Inositol” Examine.com, accessed 24-11-2015 http://examine.com/supplements/inositol/#summary1
[xxi] “Effect of dietary myo-inositol supplementation in pregnancy on the incidence of maternal gestational diabetes mellitus and fetal outcomes: a randomized controlled trial.” Matarrelli B et al, J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2013 Jul;26(10):967-72.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23327487