Health benefits of Inositol

health Jul 25, 2021
Photo by Jeremy Zero / Unsplash

Inositol is a carbohydrate found naturally in many plants and animals. It is often referred to as vitamin B8, but it is not a vitamin at all. It is a type of sugar.
In plants it is found in the form of phytic acid (which is chemically known as inositol hexaphosphate, or IP6) and it releases inositol by the action of bacteria of the digestive tract.
In animals, it is found in almost all tissues and is present in the highest levels in the heart and brain tissues.
It plays many roles in the human body.

It's role in human body and health benefits

  • As a major component of cell membranes, it plays a structural role in the human body by providing structure to the cells.
  • It stimulates insulin hormone action and thus helps to control blood sugar.
  • Antioxidant properties of it help to fight against the damaging effects caused by free radicals in the brain, circulatory system, and other body tissues.
  • It also plays a key role in the processing of fat in the liver and in the functioning of muscles and nerves.
  • It improves anxiety disorders by affecting the neurotransmitter levels in the body. It stimulates the secretion of the hormones serotonin and dopamine to improve conditions like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
    It slows down the progression of Alzheimer's disease and also prevents certain cancers.
  • Inositol balances certain chemicals in the body to help conditions such as panic disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Inositol is used to treat conditions associated with metabolic syndrome which is the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high triglycerides and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
  • It helps in reducing the symptoms of bipolar spectrum disorders in children.
  • Inositol controls panic disorder and the fear of public places or open spaces (agoraphobia).
  • Inositol reduces psoriasis symptoms in people taking lithium, a drug commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
  • In the case of diabetes, it is used to relieve diabetic nerve pain. It prevents diabetes during pregnancy by regulating the functioning of insulin. It also controls blood sugar levels in in people with type 2 diabetes
  • Some people use inositol to promote hair growth
  • The risk of death in infants with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), is reduced by the intravenous intake of inositol.
  • It promotes ovulation in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is an ovary disorder (failure to ovulate).
  • It lowers testosterone levels.
  • People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), show significant improvement upon oral intake of inositol for 6 weeks

‌‌Dietary sources

Inositol is not an essential nutrient because it is produced from the carbohydrates of the food that we eat.
Plant sources of inositol are citrus fruits, cantaloupe, and fibre-rich foods such as beans, brown rice, corn, sesame seeds, and wheat bran.

It will be safe to take supplements, if the diet contains only small amounts of inositol.
Daily doses up to 18 grams do not cause any harm.
But excessive intake of Inositol in the form of supplements may cause nausea, gas, difficulty sleeping, headache, dizziness and tiredness.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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