INOSITOL Overview Information
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance. It is found in many plants and animals. It is also produced in the human body and can be made in a laboratory. Inositol can be found in many forms (called isomers). The most common forms are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.
Inositol is commonly used orally for treating a disorder called metabolic syndrome and conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including failure to ovulate, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high levels of testosterone. It is also used for depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
Inositol is also given by mouth or intravenously (by IV) to premature babies to with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
How does it work?
Inositol might balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with mental conditions such as panic disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It might also help insulin work better. This might help with conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or diabetes during pregnancy.
Possibly Effective for:
- Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). Taking a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus folic acid by mouth during pregnancy seems to reduce the chance of developing diabetes during pregnancy by 60% to 92% in women who are at risk.
- Side effects caused by lithium. Taking inositol by mouth seems to improve psoriasis, a skin condition caused by lithium. But it doesn't seem to help psoriasis in people not taking lithium. Inositol doesn't seem to improve other side effects caused by lithium.
- Metabolic syndrome. Taking inositol with or without alpha-lipoic acid seems to improve insulin resistance, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and blood pressure in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome.
- Panic disorder. Inositol shows some promise for controlling panic attacks and the fear of public places or open spaces (agoraphobia). One study found that inositol is as effective as a prescription medication. However, larger clinical studies are needed before inositol's effectiveness for panic attacks can be proven.
- An ovary disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Taking particular forms of inositol (D-chiro-inositol or myo-inositol) by mouth seems to lower triglyceride and testosterone levels, modestly decrease blood pressure, and improve the function of the ovaries in overweight or obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Some research also shows that taking the two forms of inositol together improves ovulation better than taking D-chiro-inositol alone. Also, the combination seems to improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood insulin levels better than taking myo-inositol alone.
- Pregnancy-associated complications. Taking a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus folic acid by mouth during pregnancy seems to reduce the number of babies weighing more than 8 pounds 13 ounces at birth. However, the combination doesn't seem to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy, the risk of preterm delivery, the rate of caesarean section, or the risk of the baby having a certain breathing problem after birth.
- A breathing problem in premature babies known as "acute respiratory distress syndrome". Giving inositol intravenously (by IV) to premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome seems to improve breathing. Also, giving these babies inositol by mouth or intravenously (by IV) seems to decrease the risk of death, the risk of developing a condition that can cause blindness, or the risk of bleeding in the brain.
Possibly Ineffective for:
- Alzheimer's disease. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Anxiety. . Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve the severity of anxiety symptoms.
- Autism. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of autism.
- Depression. Most research shows that inositol doesn't improve symptoms of depression. While some early research suggests that depressed people receiving inositol for 4 weeks may improve at first, they seem to get worse again after a while. There was also some expectation that inositol might make antidepressant medications called SSRIs work better. But research so far hasn't shown this to be true.
- Schizophrenia. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of schizophrenia.
Likely Ineffective for:
- Nerve problems caused by diabetes. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve the symptoms of nerve pain caused by diabetes.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early studies suggest inositol might not help improve ADHD symptoms.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is some evidence that people with OCD who receive inositol by mouth for 6 weeks experience an improvement in OCD symptoms. However, inositol doesn't seem to improve OCD symptoms in people already being treated with medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Early research suggests that taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve distress in people with PTSD.
- Hair growth.
- High cholesterol.
- Problems metabolizing fat.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Other conditions.
INOSITOL Side Effects & Safety
Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. It can cause nausea, stomach pain, tiredness, headache, and dizziness.
Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in the hospital for premature infants with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Not enough is known about the use of inositol during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bipolar disorder:There is some concern that taking too much inositol might make bipolar disorder worse. There is a report of a man with controlled bipolar disorder being sent to the hospital with extreme agitation and impulsiveness (mania) after drinking several cans of an energy drink containing inositol, caffeine, taurine, and other ingredients (Red Bull Energy Drink) over a period of 4 days. It is not known if this is related to inositol, caffeine, taurine, a different ingredient, or a combination of the ingredients.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes): 2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 200 mg of folic acid have been taken twice per day beginning during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- For treating lithium-related psoriasis: 6 grams of inositol daily has been used.
- For metabolic syndrome: 2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) has been taken twice per day for one year.
- For panic disorder: 12-18 grams of inositol daily has been used.
- For treating symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome: 1000 to 1200 mg of a certain form of inositol (isomer D-chiro-inositol) has been used. Also, a product containing 4 grams of another form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 400 mcg of folic acid has been taken daily for up to 6 months. A specific product containing 550 mg of myo-inositol and 13.8 mg of D-chiro-inositol has also been taken twice daily for up to 6 months.
- For complications during pregnancy: 2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 200 mg of folic acid has been taken twice per day beginning during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- For a breathing problem in premature infants called respiratory distress syndrome: 120-160 mg/kg of inositol or 2500 mcmol/L of inositol has been used in the hospital.
- For a breathing problem in premature infants called respiratory distress syndrome: 80-160 mg/kg of inositol has been used in the hospital.