1,2,3,4,5,6-Cyclohexanehexol, 1,2,5/3,4,6-inositol, (1S)-inositol, (1S)-1,2,4/3,5,6-inositol, Antialopecia Factor, (+)-chiroinositol, cis-1,2,3,5-trans-4,6-Cyclohexanehexol, Cyclohexitol, Dambrose, D-chiro-inositol, D-Myo-Inositol, Facteur Anti-alopécique, Hexahydroxycyclohexane, Inose, Inosite, Inositol Monophosphate, Lipositol, Meso-Inositol, Méso-Inositol, Monophosphate d'Inositol, Mouse Antialopecia Factor, Myo-Inositol, Vitamin B8, Vitamine B8.
Overview InformationInositol 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 used to for metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It's also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
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.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- 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.
- A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome). Taking inositol with or without alpha-lipoic acid seems to improve insulin resistance, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome.
- A type of anxiety marked by episodes of intense fear (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.
- A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Taking either D-chiro-inositol or myo-inositol by mouth seems to lower triglyceride and testosterone levels, decrease blood pressure, and improve the function of the ovaries in overweight or obese women with PCOS. Taking the two forms of inositol together seems to improve blood pressure, blood sugar, ovulation, and pregnancy rates better than taking either form alone.
- Preterm birth. Taking inositol with folic acid during pregnancy seems to lower the chance of having a preterm birth when compared with folic acid alone in women who are at a higher chance of developing diabetes during pregnancy. It's unclear if inositol is helpful for preventing preterm birth in women who are not at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy.
Possibly Ineffective for
- A sudden and serious lung condition (acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS). Giving inositol intravenously (by IV) to premature babies with ARDS does not seem to help. In fact, it might be harmful. The largest study to date shows that inositol does not decrease the risk of death or blindness in these infants. It might even slightly increase the risk of death and blindness.
- Alzheimer disease. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of Alzheimer 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 shows 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.
- An eye disorder in premature infants that can lead to blindness (retinopathy of prematurity). Giving inositol intravenously (by IV) for a short amount of time and then by mouth to premature babies doesn't seem to lower the chance of developing retinopathy. In fact, it may even increase the risk of death.
- Schizophrenia. Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of schizophrenia.
Likely InEffective for
- Nerve pain in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). Taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve the symptoms of nerve pain caused by diabetes.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early studies show inositol might not help improve ADHD symptoms.
- Bipolar disorder. Early research in children with bipolar disorder shows that taking inositol with a certain omega-3 fatty acid improves mania and depressive symptoms.
- Diabetes. Early research in overweight people with type 1 diabetes shows that taking a combination of folic acid and a form of inositol called D-chiro-inositol decreases blood glucose more than taking folic acid by itself. Inositol might also help prevent diabetes in pregnancy. Taking a certain form of inositol called myo-inositol along with folic acid during pregnancy might reduce the chance of developing diabetes during pregnancy in women who are at risk. But giving inositol to pregnant women that already have diabetes doesn't seem to help.
- Inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility). Early research suggests that adding myo-inositol to folic acid does not increase pregnancy rates in women undergoing medical fertility treatments.
- Lung cancer. Early research shows that taking inositol does not reverse the growth of pre-cancer cells in people at high risk for lung cancer.
- A type of anxiety marked by recurrent thoughts and repetitive behaviors (obsessive-compulsive disorder or 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 (SSRIs).
- A type of anxiety that often develops after a terrifying event (post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD). Early research shows that taking inositol by mouth doesn't improve distress in people with PTSD.
- Hair pulling (trichotillomania). Taking inositol by mouth doesn't seem to improve symptoms of compulsive hair pulling.
- Hair growth.
- High cholesterol.
- Problems metabolizing fat.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. It may cause nausea, stomach pain, tiredness, headache, and dizziness in some people.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks in children ages 5-12 years old. It is also POSSIBLY SAFE when used in the hospital for premature infants with a sudden and serious lung condition (acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS) for up to 10 days. However, inositol is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used for longer than 10 days in premature infants with ARDS.
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.
Diabetes: Inositol may lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c levels. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use inositol.
We currently have no information for INOSITOL Interactions.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For side effects caused by lithium: 6 grams of inositol has been taken daily.
- For a grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome): 2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) has been taken twice per day for one year.
- For a type of anxiety marked by episodes of intense fear (panic disorder): 12-18 grams of inositol has been taken daily.
- For a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS): 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 combination of 550 mg of myo-inositol and 150 mg of D-chiro-inositol has also been taken twice daily for up to 12 weeks.
- For preventing preterm birth: 2 grams of a certain form of inositol (isomer myo-inositol) plus 200 mg of folic acid has been taken twice daily throughout pregnancy. 1100 mg of myo-inositol plus 27.6 mg of another form of inositol (isomer D-chiro-inositol) and 400 mg of folic acid has been taken daily throughout pregnancy.
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- Machado-Vieira R, Viale CI, Kapczinski F. Mania associated with an energy drink: the possible role of caffeine, taurine, and inositol. Can J Psychiatry 2001;46:454-5. View abstract.
- Matarrelli B, Vitacolonna E, D'Angelo M, et al. Effect of dietary myo-inositol supplementation in pregnancy on the incidence of maternal gestational diabetes mellitus and fetal outcomes: a randomized controlled trial. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2013;26(10):967-72. View abstract.
- Maurizi AR, Menduni M, Del Toro R, et al. A pilot study of D-chiro-inositol plus folic acid in overweight patients with type 1 diabetes. Acta Diabetol. 2017;54(4):361-65. View abstract.
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