What is Inositol?
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance found in plant and animal-life. It is produced by the human body as well, however, many people suffer from deficiencies, and therefore rely on inositol supplements to ensure they achieve proper dosage levels on a daily basis. Inositol can also be produced in a lab setting and is available through several manufacturers in a supplement form. Regardless of the reason for taking inositol, or the dosage levels required, it is important to understand how it works, how it interacts with other supplements you are taking, what the benefits and uses are, and possible side effects and complications of using inositol. These are a few factors one should consider, prior to taking a supplement form of inositol.
Inositol Molecular Structure
Benefits of using Inositol
Inositol comes in various forms, the most common being Myo-inositol and D-chiro inositol. It is used for many purposes, one of the most common being to treat metabolic syndrome and conditions which are linked to the polycystic ovarian syndrome. However, inositol is known to benefit users in many ways, including:
1. Healthy hormone levels
Women who ingest inositol supplements are known to have and maintain healthy hormone level balances. For women who suffer from imbalances, this is a simple solution to the problem. Women who suffer from hormonal imbalances have higher androgen levels, which can be reduced by the regular consumption of inositol. Whether supplementing or getting from food sources directly, the proper levels will help balance hormonal imbalances and treat different conditions in women.
2. Circulatory System improvements
Studies have also suggested that incorporating inositol supplements into the dietary regimen can help improve overall circulatory system function. Acting as a secondary messenger, the inositol helps the body take up more glucose from the blood, triggering improved circulatory function. Inositol can act as a 'secondary messenger', especially for women, who consume high levels of carbohydrates. It naturally helps the body process blood sugars, helping resolve issues with higher cholesterol levels, weight gain, and high triglyceride levels.
3. Stress Symptoms
It can help reduce symptoms of stress and boost your mood/morale. Inositol can trigger serotonin levels in the brain; this is naturally going to enhance your mood and spirits and is going to help trigger possible issues with depression or mood swings. Inositols act naturally on the brain as a natural serotonin, which will naturally enhance your mood, and help in treating depression. In fact, inositol is a primary ingredient in many antidepressants and other medications which are intended to treat similar conditions.
4. Treating Pain
Inositol is linked to helping treat nerve pain, ADD, Alzheimer's, autism, and is also known to help in promoting skin and hair growth. So, you are not only going to feel less pain and aches, you are also going to have younger, healthier, more jovial looking skin as well. Over time, you are going to feel fewer aches and pains, you will find it easier to move, and inositol will act as that much-needed boost or jolt of energy that your body craves.
Of course, there are many natural benefits of taking inositol supplements, and for those who do not get sufficient levels through diet alone, a supplement is a great option to help naturally increase deficiencies. These are a few of the many benefits one will derive by naturally increasing the levels of inositol they ingest on a day to day basis, and will naturally feel better, more energized, and will feel fewer aches and pain on a daily basis.
Uses of Inositol
Inositol has been widely used for treating many conditions. It has been used for treating diabetes. As it can act as a natural insulin inhibitor, for those who are diabetics, this is a natural way to ensure your body is naturally digesting blood glucose levels in the body. If you do consume too many carbohydrates, it will act as a secondary messenger, send a signal to the brain, and will help your body naturally process the carbohydrates, glucose, and blood sugar levels, which are naturally recurring in your body.
Those who suffer from metabolic syndromes, or high triglyceride levels, the inclusion of an inositol supplement is also a great option for helping reduce those levels. It will help naturally flush the system, and help reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels.
For panic disorder sufferers, inositol can naturally help work as a relaxant or a calmant. If you suffer from mood swings, if you are constantly feeling uptight, or if you panic and get frazzled easily, this might be a supplement which can help in treating these conditions. It works effectively to help naturally decrease anxiety and will help you calm down and relax a bit.
Depression sufferers can greatly benefit from taking an inositol supplement as well. It is a natural serotonin booster; what this means is that it will naturally work to help build up the "feel good" messengers, so you won't feel depressed, tired, or down all the time. If you do suffer from depression, if you find your moods fluctuate from minute to minute, or if you are feeling stressed and need something that can help you relax, this is a natural solution to your problems. Not only is it a natural vitamin-like substance, it is not addictive as is the case with some antidepressants or other products you can take if you do suffer from certain conditions you wish to treat.
Of course, no two people are alike, so it is important to keep in mind that what works for one person, might not be as effective for the next. With this being said, there have been many studies and research which has proven that inositol is a natural product, that does provide many benefits to those who are taking it on a routine basis. These are a few of the many uses that you might want to consider if you do suffer from depression, if you have diabetes, or if you do suffer from mood swings, as it can possibly help in treating one, or all of these conditions, naturally.
Inositol Side Effects
Are there side effects you should be aware of if you plan on taking an inositol supplement? With any supplement or foreign substance you ingest, you should always be aware of how it is going to interact with your system/body. So, if you are currently taking other medications, the first thing you are going to want to do is to speak to your doctor. This will provide you the insight as to whether or not it is safe for you to take inositol while on those other medications, and if it is going to adversely affect you if you are taking certain medications.
Apart from the warning that it is best to speak to your doctor, prior to taking inositol if you are taking other supplements or medications, one should be aware of the side effects which have been reported with the use of inositol supplements. A headache, dizziness, and pain (body aches pain, and stomach pain) are some of the most commonly reported symptoms for those who are taking an inositol supplement. This is typically the case for those who are on higher dosage levels or have other conditions which they suffer from. When taking the supplement, if you do experience any of these, it is best to speak to your doctor, to determine if you should continue use, or if there are other options that are better for you, instead of the inositol supplement.
For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding it is best to speak to your doctor. Yes, studies suggest inositol can help possibly deter certain birth defects; with this being said, you want to know if it is safe for you to use, how it is going to interact with your body and pregnancy, as well as any possible complications or side effects you should be aware of, prior to taking a supplement. Women who are pregnant or nursing should speak to their doctor, to ensure safe use, and to ensure they are taking the appropriate dosage levels when incorporating inositol supplements into their diet.
For individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder, taking too much inositol can have an adverse, rather than the positive effect you want it to have on your system. Impulsiveness and extreme agitation are likely to occur if you are taking too much inositol. Due to the fact that bipolar sufferers, routinely suffer from mood swings, it is important to understand how this can affect you, and what to do in the event of an overdose. As is the case with other symptoms and users, if you do suffer from bipolar disorder, it is important to ensure you are taking the inositol supplement at the prescribed level, and do not overdose on it. This is the best way to ensure you do not suffer from these attacks or agitation and to ensure you are going to derive the best results when taking the supplement on a daily basis.
There are no known interactions which are particularly dangerous when taking inositol. As it is a vitamin-like substance, it is important to note that it should be taken at the proper dosage levels. Apart from this, as long as you are cleared by your doctor, to use the supplement, alongside any other medication or prescriptions which you are taking, it should be safe for use. It is best to speak to a doctor or pharmacist so you fully understand how it is going to interact with other medications, but if you are cleared for use, it is likely safe to take (for adults as well as for children). Individuals who fall into one of the categories which are listed above should speak to a doctor before they commence use of a supplementation of inositol, to ensure the best results, and to ensure safe use is achieved with the supplement.
Those who suffer from diabetes, who are bipolar sufferers, and women who are pregnant or nursing, should be fully aware of the possible complications if they decide to use inositol. Again, if it is taken at the appropriate dosage level, and if you are cleared to use the inositol by your doctor, there should not be any adverse reactions or interaction which is life-threatening or dangerous while using the supplement.
It is also important to note if you are going to be giving the supplement to children, that it should be given at the right dosage levels. More often than not, children are going to require a lower dosage than an adult. So, this should be discussed with a doctor, and it should be understood how to take the inositol on a daily basis if this is a supplement which you choose to give to your children.
Adults and children should speak to their doctor, to ensure it is safe to take with prescriptions and other medications, prior to starting the use of an inositol dosage cycle.
Overall, inositol is known to promote many benefits to those who use it and consume it at the appropriate levels on a daily basis. It does not matter whether you are getting it from food and plant sources, or if you choose to incorporate a supplement if you do suffer from a deficiency of inositol levels. No matter what the prescribed dosage levels, it is important to ensure proper use, for the desired results, and to ensure it is safe when taken with other medications.
Inositol is beneficial for men and women, and for individuals who suffer from various conditions, aches, pains, depression, and even women who are pregnant can benefit from the use of inositol in preventing certain birth defects. With this in mind, as is true with any medication or prescription that you would take, you should be aware of complications and side effects. Before you choose to use inositol, understand dangers, complications, as well as benefits and proper dosage levels, to ensure safe and effective use of the vitamin supplement.
About the author
Dr. Constance Odom, MD