Exercise is an important activity by which individuals can burn excess fat in their body. However, not everyone has the liberty and the ability to indulge in frequent aerobic forms of exercises. For such individuals one option is to take supplements and herbs that can help their body burn the excess fat. However, it is important to note that such supplements can never be a complete replacement for exercises. This article discusses one such so-called vitamin supplement that offers a myriad of benefits to the human body. Inositol or Myo-inositol is the wonder Vitamin supplement that will be covered in detail here.
What Is Inositol?
Inositol (also known as myo-inositol) is a naturally occurring nutrient and a glucose isomer which is used to form phospholipids in the body. Phospholipids work as cellular mediators for signal transduction in our body along with contributing towards body growth and metabolic functions. Inositol has nine distinct isomers and myo-inositol is the most popular among the lot. This supplement is synthesized in our body using Glucose 6 phosphate.
Inositol is available from natural sources and can also be made from synthetic sources in laboratories. Inositol is needed for the proper functioning of our brain, intestine, cells and for nerve growth & nerve communication. Along with Choline, Inositol helps in removing fat from the heart and liver, and also produces Lecithin. Lecithin is a type of lipid that is responsible for the production of cell membranes and also helps in absorption of Thiamin and Vitamin A in the body.
Apart from Myo-Inositol, other forms of Inositol include – Inositol Hexaphosphate (may have anti-cancer properties), D-Chiro-Inositol (helps women with PCOS) and Inositol Hexaniacinate/Inositol Hexanicotinate (for reducing cholesterol & triglycerides).
Sources Of Inositol
Our body produces Inositol using intestinal bacteria that help in converting Phytic Acid (IP6) found in plant fibers to Inositol. Myo-Inositol is available in the following food sources – fruits, beans, nuts, liver, oats, grains, citrus fruits like orange, rice, chickpeas, pork, lecithin granules, wheat germ, cantaloupe etc.
How It works?
Inositol helps in neuro communication and also in the smooth functioning of the entire nervous system by releasing two natural sedatives – serotonin and acetylcholine. Similarly, Myo-inositol is made from glucose-6-phosphate and converted to phosphatidylinositol. Phosphatidylinositol is one of the most important components of the cell membranes.
Inositol or Myo-Inositol offers many health related benefits to the humans such as – promotes healthy hair growth, prevents eczema & Psoriasis, prevents bipolar disorder & panic disorder (including OCD) and transports body fats to different organs effectively. However, some of the major benefits of using Inositol/Myo-inositol supplements include the following:
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Along with Choline, studies have shown that Inositol helps in lowering the blood cholesterol levels in humans and also in preventing the hardening of the arteries due to excessive cholesterol buildup.
For Alzheimer’s Disease & Anxiety
Some studies claim that Inositol helps in treating some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer‘s disease as Inositol has a calming effect on the nervous system of such patients. Apart from Alzheimer’s disease it can also treat individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Few studies have shown that patients suffering from breast cancer had significantly improved life and functional status after taking IP6 along with Inositol. Similarly, those suffering from lung cancer due to heavy smoking can also benefit from taking Myo-inositol supplements under proper medical guidance.
For Treating Infertility & PCOS Related Symptoms In Women
Recent studies have shown that myo-inositol supplements along with folic acid & melatonin are indeed effective for treating fertility related problems in women (for those undergoing IVF). One study also claims that myo-inositol supplements help in lowering the chance of having gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Inositol supplements also have shown to improve the ovulation rate along with significant weight loss in women suffering from PCOS & Oligomenorrhea.
For Treating Impotence In Men
Along with folic acid, Myo-inositol was found to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction in men suffering from Diabetes type 2.
Deficiency Of Myo-Inositol
Deficiency of Myo-Inositol in the human body can be determined by the following symptoms – arteriosclerosis, hair loss, blurred vision, constipation, psoriasis, mood swings and eczema. Consuming large amounts of caffeine may lead to Inositol deficiency in the body.
There is no recommended maximum or minimum dietary allowance for Inositol as some studies have shown that Inositol supplements are not toxic. However, most individuals take about 1000 mg of Inositol from their daily diet. For supplementation, a minimum dosage level of 500 mg per day can pose no dangers. Similarly, doses as high as 50 grams have shown no side effects in individuals in some studies. Inositol supplements should be taken along with water or juice.
Those suffering from PCOS can benefit by taking a dose of 1200 mg per day (of D-chiro-inositol). Similarly, those suffering from panic disorders and lithium-related psoriasis should take a dose of 12 grams (to 18 grams) and 6 grams of Inositol, respectively. However, those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder can benefit by taking 18 grams per day.
Side Effects & Overdose
The side effects noticed with Inositol supplements are – nausea, tiredness, headache and minor gastric related problems. Over dosage of Myo-inositol may lead to diarrhea. Inositol supplements should be avoided in pregnant women, lactating mothers and those suffering from disorders related to Kidneys.
Reviews Of Inositol
Inositol is considered part of the Vitamin B Complex family and Myo-inositol is considered related to Vitamin B8. Even thought Inositol is part of the Vitamin B family (and is often referred to as a vitamin) it is not a vitamin for the human beings. Inositol works mainly by removing excess fat from the liver and heart. Inositol supplements are available in the market as part of Lecithin supplements and also are sold separately in combination with Choline. They are available in the following forms – powder, tablets & capsules.
Inositol supplements help in treating psychological conditions in individuals such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Myo-Inositol (which in Inositol in its purest form) is effective for treating skin related disorders like eczema and psoriasis.
Recently, Inositol supplements have been researched a lot by women suffering from PCOS, weight gain and ovulation related problems. Inositol supplements have been used in hospitals for treating premature babies suffering from respiratory problems. However, it must be noted that Inositol supplements work better when used in combination with Choline and Vitamin E.
Possible Drug Interactions