What is Inositol?
Inositol, or specifically myo-inositol in dietary supplements, is a carbohydrate. Unlike the table sugar (known as sucrose), though it is not a conventional sugar, yet it has half the sweetness as compared to that of table sugar. The compound plays very important role in cell signaling, and it is part of cell membranes. The dietary supplements of inositol are aimed for improving mood, thinking, and focus as well as for treating depression and anxiety.
How does Inositol work?
Inositol is naturally present in various foods, especially citrus fruits like oranges, cantaloupe, dried prunes, and grapefruits as well as in plant seeds, beans, grans, nuts and cereals enriched with dietary fiber (bran). However, from most of these natural resources, inositol occurs in the form of indigestible molecules, thus it is not available to the human body. This is one of the reason, why eating beans and brans cannot overcome the inositol deficiency. The problem is highlighted in developing countries where these are common food sources, and no proper food preparation methods are followed. In addition, various important minerals (e.g. Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium etc.) are chemically combined with such indigestible molecules, and mineral deficiency can occur in people consuming more brans, beans and seeds in their diet.
Effects if Inositol
There are certain mammals, known as ruminants, whose stomach is capable of bacterial fermentation for such indigestible molecules. Unfortunately, humans are not among ruminant family, yet there exists certain food processing techniques which can break down such molecules, and make them digestible. Moreover, in certain plant-derived substances like lecithin, the inositol is digestible and absorbed to the systematic circulation. Inositol is also synthesized within human body few grams a day, most of which is produced in kidneys. It is an interesting fact to remember that inositol was discovered as a part of human’s spinal fluid. However, in some cases, this inherent production of inositol be insufficient for sustaining the cell signaling processes, which are very important in terms of cognitive and general health.
Recommended Dosage / Usage Instructions
As we have previously described that adopting an inositol-based diet cannot enhance the inositol level in blood because the constituent compounds of natural food tend to be indigestible. One may be worried that what’s the solution if inositol deficiency occurs, which is why supplements of inositol are available now. To help for example, depression and anxiety related issues, usually higher doses are recommended as compared to standard doses in PCOS-related problems. Inositol is usually combined with choline-rich foods, or choline supplements. Choline is a prime neurotransmitter, and is regarded as an essential nutrient for cognitive health. Combination of choline with inositol is claimed to be synergetic.
Studies on Inositol
The compound has undergone robust research for its efficacy in treating women subfertility, menstrual disorders, insulin insensitivity and other complications due to PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome).
Side-Effects of Inositol
The supplement is considered safe at standard doses, however mild side effects may appear such as headache, nausea, dizziness, tiredness etc. If any of such side effects is appeared at any level, you should stop taking the supplement and consult with your primary healthcare provider.
If it is the matter of stacking, or the parallel medicines, or if you are in special medical condition, a specialist should be consulted prior to a decision about dose, stacking, or dose schedule.
Inositol is commonly used to mimic cocaine in films and dramas.