Inositol is a type of sugar that helps make cell membranes and regulate insulin levels. It may be beneficial for people with conditions such as metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers inositol to be generally safe, but some people may experience mild side effects if they take higher dosages.
Read on to learn more about inositol, including what it is and its benefits, side effects, and food sources.
Inositol is a type of sugar that is similar to glucose. Humans can make it themselves or take it in through their diet.
The body needs inositol to
There are nine forms of inositol, but the
People take myoinositol supplements for a wide range of health reasons, many of which have evidence to support them. For instance, people may use it for:
- mental health
- skin health
- reproductive health
- pregnancy health
- metabolic health
Inositol may be particularly beneficial for people with certain conditions.
A randomized controlled trial in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that inositol may help treat bipolar disorder in children. Combining omega-3 fatty acids with inositol reduced symptoms of mania and depression in children aged 5–12 years.
However, the study had a small number of participants, and the researchers excluded children whose condition was severe. More research is necessary to confirm whether inositol helps people with bipolar disorder.
PCOS causes the ovaries or adrenal glands to produce excessive levels of male sex hormones, which can affect fertility and insulin resistance.
- improving ovarian function and fertility
- decreasing male sex hormone levels and thereby reducing the severity of acne and excessive hair growth
- improving metabolic health
- regulating the hormones involved in reproduction and ovulation
Gestational diabetes refers to high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The hyperglycemia usually reverses after the birth, but it can cause pregnancy complications.
The researchers concluded that supplementing myoinositol in early pregnancy helps reduce the rate of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and high birth weight.
People with metabolic syndrome have several risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These may include obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood glucose. According to a
Additionally, raised glucose levels lower myoinositol levels in a person’s tissues. The body breaks down the myoinositol faster, and the kidneys eliminate it faster, creating a vicious cycle.
The study authors highlight the many studies demonstrating the safety of myoinositol. They conclude that doctors should consider it as a treatment for people with metabolic syndrome, as well as those with diabetes.
Many people can take inositol. The FDA classes inositol as “generally recognized as safe.” However,
Additionally, inositol clinical trials tend to last no longer than 1 year, so it is unclear whether inositol is safe to take in the long term.
People should speak with a doctor before trying inositol to check that it is safe for them.
Clinical trials investigating the benefits of inositol tend to involve doses of anywhere between
If a person is taking inositol for medical reasons, they should consult a doctor first. The doctor will be able to advise on the most suitable dosage.
An alternative to supplementation with inositol is getting more of this substance from food. Although they are uncommon in modern diets, the animal products
- blood products
Other foods that contain inositol include:
- Brazil nuts
- cantaloupe melon
- citrus fruits, except lemons
People can also eat foods containing substances that the body uses to make inositol, such as:
Inositol is a type of sugar that helps form the structure of cell membranes. It also regulates insulin and neurotransmitters. The human body can make inositol, but people can also get it from supplements and some foods.
Research suggests that inositol may be beneficial for people with certain health conditions, including PCOS and metabolic syndrome. It appears to be generally safe, but anyone who wishes to try this supplement should discuss it with a doctor first.