What is inositol?
Inositol, also called myoinositol or vitamin B8, is a naturally occurring sugar derivative found in the body and various food products, such as citrus fruits, corn, cantaloupe, brown rice, beans, wheat bran, and sesame seeds. It is available as a nutritional supplement for various health benefits.
Although previously called a vitamin, inositol is no longer considered one because it can be formed in sufficient quantities in the body from dietary carbohydrates.
What are the benefits of inositol?
There is little evidence concerning the role of inositol in the treatment of the following listed conditions. Hence, inositol must not be used for them unless advised by your doctor.
Inositol may be prescribed for various health conditions, such as:
- Panic disorder
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Gestational diabetes (diabetes mellitus that is first diagnosed during pregnancy)
- Mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or seasonal affective disorder
- Respiratory distress syndrome in the newborns
- Anxiety disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Type II diabetes mellitus
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Management of lithium side effects
- Hair growth
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Retinopathy of prematurity
Multiple studies, however, suggest that inositol is involved in various crucial functions in the body, such as:
- Maintenance of cell structure and function
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Promote brain functioning by optimizing the levels of various substances called neurotransmitters in the brain
- Regulate lipid levels in the blood
- Help regulate blood pressure
- Protect against harmful free radicals due to its antioxidant properties
Is inositol safe?
Every drug or supplement has its specific risks. Studies suggest that inositol is probably safe for most adults when used for up to 10 weeks. It can, however, cause certain side effects, such as:
Inositol is probably safe for premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome.
Because there is a lack of sufficient data on the safety of inositol during pregnancy and lactation, it is better to avoid it in these conditions unless prescribed by your doctor. The safety of inositol for skin application is not well established.
Studies suggest that too much inositol may worsen bipolar disorder symptoms. This may occur due to the consumption of energy drinks, such as red bull, that are high in inositol.
Inositol may cause adverse effects when taken with certain medications. Because it increases insulin sensitivity, it may cause dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) in people on diabetes medications. Thus, regular blood sugar monitoring is advised in such cases.
What is the dosage of inositol?
Inositol is available in pill and powder forms for oral administration. The dosages of this supplement differ depending on the condition and the general health of the patient. It is, thus, advised to consult the doctor to know the correct dosages for you.
According to scientific research, inositol dosages for some health conditions are:
- Panic disorder: 12 to 18 grams per day.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 18 grams per day.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: D-chiro-inositol 1200 mg per day.
- Lithium-related psoriasis: 6 grams per day.
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Formoso G, Baldassarre MPA, Ginestra F, Carlucci MA, Bucci I, Consoli A. Inositol and antioxidant supplementation: Safety and efficacy in pregnancy. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2019;35(5):e3154. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6617769/
WebMD. Inositol - Uses, Side Effects, and More. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-299/inositol
RxList. Inositol. https://www.rxlist.com/inositol/supplements.htm
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