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February 18, 2018

Inositol: Benefits & Recommended Dosage

What Is Inositol?

Inositol is a pseudo-vitamin chemical compound, which was earlier known as vitamin B8 and considered part of the B complex vitamins. However, once it was discovered that our body can make its own inositol, it was no longer considered a true vitamin. It is naturally found in plants and animals. Inositol is a sugar alcohol with six hydroxyl groups, and myo-inositol is what this sugar alcohol is converted to in the brain.

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Inositol is also an important component of structural lipids and its various phosphates (PI and PPI). Inositol and its phosphates are mostly found in fruits like oranges, grape fruits, cantaloupe, almonds, nuts and vegetables.

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Some health conditions cause the body to produce less of this compound, so supplementation is occasionally required. That being said, you can also eat certain foods to increase your levels, such as brown rice, citrus fruits, nuts, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, cereals, soy flour, and whole grain bread. Lecithin granules and other sources of lecithin are also great sources of this vitamin-like substance.

Inositol is found in high concentrations in the brain where it works closely with various neurotransmitters and therefore, is most commonly associated with neural functions. While this is the main aspect of health linked to this chemical, there are many other impressive health benefits you can enjoy by ensuring you have enough of it in your diet.

Inositol And The Human Body

Inositol’s primary function is to keep fats collecting from the body particularly in the liver. Inositol is added to energy drinks because it is efficient in converting nutrients into energy.

Inositol Benefits

  • Anxiety Relief

Inositol consumption lowers the anxiety symptoms – GABA receptors are the culprit along with serotonin. GABA receptors are responsible for keeping you cool and depleted levels of these make you anxious. Inositol works really well here as it almost mimics the functioning of depleted GABA receptors and works as a substitute. As a substitute, it replaces the non-functional GABA receptors and occupies the same role.

People suffering from anxiety usually have low levels of serotonin. Administration of inositol helps in regulating serotonin levels thereby imparting a calm mindset.

  • Circulation

This compound is known to play a key role in the flow of blood through the body. By regulating circulation, inositol can help to prevent atherosclerosis and heart problems, while also ensuring that the rest of the body gets the oxygen and resources that it needs.

  • Female Fertility

Some women who are struggling to get pregnant will take supplements of the compound to boost their fertility. By improving the hormonal balance in the body, it can help create the conditions necessary for life to take hold!

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder affecting women which causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Inositol act as a second messenger for insulin and its deficiency contributes to the various features of PCOS. According to a study, a combination of inositols, in the form of myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol, help in maintaining the endocrine and reproductive health in women with PCOS.

  • Autism

Although the research into this particular effect of inositol is limited, a deficiency in this compound has been linked to autism in young children. It is always important to speak with a doctor before giving powerful supplements to your child, but in some cases, this is a viable option.

  • OCD Treatment

OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It’s a physiological disorder potentially caused due to lower levels of serotonin – so again, inositol comes into play here. Inositol is converted into two neurotransmitter chemicals into the brain that regulate serotonin levels.

Inositol is a natural drug for the treatment of OCD but a variation known as cholin inositol is available. Cholin inositol is a prescribed drug and should only be used under a qualified physician.

People suffering from OCD should never consume caffeine as caffeine increases the brain activity and decreases inositol levels.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

As you age, and your neural capacity begins to diminish, it is important to prevent oxidative stress in the brain, and promote healthy communication of neurotransmitters. By increasing the amount of inositol in your system, you can lower your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Diabetes

Some pregnant women are given supplements of this compound to lower the risk of gestational diabetes; it can also help to reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Weight Loss

Your body often needs catalysts to help it lose weight and change its basic composition. Inositol is an excellent way of boosting weight loss efforts and stimulating the metabolism to encourage calorie burning.

  • Promoting Sleep

One of the major reasons for not getting asleep at night is over-thinking. The human brain is unable to rest and thoughts keep coming and going thereby keeping us awake. The thought process is guided by serotonin, a hormone. When serotonin levels are low, we are unable to sleep – maintaining optimal levels of serotonin promotes deep and sound sleep. Inositol works very well with serotonin and makes sure that the levels are high enough to make you feel peaceful during your sleeping hours.

Inositol not only works to promote healthy serotonin levels but it also communicates with the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors proper functioning ensures that you keep your cool. In situations of higher stress, GABA receptors don’t work correctly thereby imparting insomnia. Inositol keeps a check on the proper functioning of GABA receptors and makes sure they are covered to give you anxiety- and stress-free calmness.

  • Hormone Levels

The many beneficial effects that this compound has on the body are related to its impact on hormones and communication between the brain and other parts of the body.

  • Other Benefits Of Inositol

  • Fights depression symptoms
  • Inositol hexaphosphate is used in cancer treatment
  • Liver detoxification when combined with choline
  • Boosts brain
  • Keeps cell membrane, healthy
  • Improves nerve function
  • Hair Care and Growth

Depleted levels of Inositol affect the hair and individuals suffering from hair fall or itchy scalp might be inositol deficient. Deficiency in inositol levels happens largely due to these two reasons:

  1. Diet doesn’t include inositol: Diet might be a main problem as most of us don’t supplement with B Vitamins as well as Inositol. Inositol is found in citrus fruits as well as other fruits and vegetables. If the diet doesn’t have those foods, it might lead to lower levels of Inositol hence hair issues.
  2. Caffeine intake: Too much of tea, coffee and alcohol intake reduces Inositol levels; thereby giving rise to hair as well as other health issues.

Supplementing with Inositol powder can be beneficial for hair growth.

While it is rather easy to maintain your inositol levels through a healthy diet, and through the production by your own body, some people are recommended to supplement their intake, particularly if they are suffering from neurological disease. If you are using this compound for fertility and hormone control, the recommended amount ranges from 2-4 grams. However, for neurological conditions, the dosage may increase to 12-20 grams per day. Before using this supplement, always speak with your doctor about your specific health concerns.

Inositol Side Effects

While this sugar alcohol is certainly important for our overall health, there are some potential side effects associated with it, particularly if it is taken in excess. These negative effects can include complications with pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as nausea and certain psychological disorders.

  • Pregnancy: Given that inositol has a notable effect on the hormone levels of the body, it isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing women to take this supplement.
  • Nausea: When you first begin taking this supplement, it can affect your digestive system in certain ways, which could lead to nausea, upset stomach or diarrhea.
  • Bipolar Disorder: The effects of this compound in the brain are powerful, but for those suffering from bipolar disorder, supplementation with inositol may not be a good idea, as it can worsen the symptoms.
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