- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Inositol for Mental Health, Fat Burning, and Calming Anxiety
What is inositol?
It is an isomer, or molecular component of glucose, which accounts for its sweet, pleasant flavor. It is often grouped in the B-vitamin family and is sometimes referred to as B8, although it is not officially a vitamin. It is a precursor of phospholipids, which are major components of all cell membranes. Inositol and phospholipids have a major role in signal transmission for neurotransmitters and hormones. Therefore, inositol is important in regulating serotonin, and insulin, in breaking down fats and reducing cholesterol.
Benefits of Inositol
It helps in the transportation of fats through the body also helping neurons communicate efficiently with the nervous system, and therefore has a calming effect on the body. Because of its benefit in improving nerve function, it is beneficial to diabetics in helping reduce numbness, tingling and burning. Inositol combines with choline to produce lecithin, preventing high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and other heart disease. Death and disability have been reduced in premature babies with underdeveloped respiratory systems when given inositol. It is vital to hair growth, healthy skin, and eye health. Therefore a deficiency of inositol results in hair loss, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, and eye problems. It may have anticancer properties. It helps maintain hormone balance by controlling estrogen in the body.
Additionally, inositol has been found beneficial for the following ailments and diseases: bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other mental disorders and illnesses. it is effective in controlling anxiety and panic*. It can help reduce the effects of impotence in type 2 diabetic men. It has been found helpful in treating alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, Raynaud's Disease, gallbladder disorder, hemorrhoids, pancreatitis, and vertigo. Further, it can help lessen the extreme side effects of protracted withdrawal as a result of weaning off prescription medications.
It is noteworthy to report that some people find that higher doses of inositol have a sedative effect, while others dealing with ADD, and ADHD in rare instances actually find that it can have an activating effect. In using this supplement, the best thing is to start with a small dose and monitor exactly how it will affect you.
*Inositol compared in effectiveness to Fluvoxamine: "In the first month, inositol reduced the number of panic attacks per week (mean and SD) by 4.0 (2) compared with a reduction of 2.4 (2) with fluvoxamine (p = 0.049). Nausea and tiredness were more common with fluvoxamine (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively). Because inositol is a natural compound with few known side effects, it is attractive to patients who are ambivalent about taking psychiatric medication. Continuing reports of inositol's efficacy in the treatment of depression, panic disorder, and OCD should stimulate replication studies."
Side Effects of Too Much Inositol
Since it is water soluable, it will not accumulate in the body to create toxicity. It will, rather, be excreted by the body normally. However, in high doses, it can cause gas and diarrhea. In pregnant women, it could possibly cause contractions because of its relationship with oxytocin, a key uterine stimulator.
Foods Rich in Inositol
Whole grains, wheat germ, dried beans, lentils, garbanzo beans (chick peas), brown rice and nuts. Many vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, and more. Fruits such as cantaloupe, citrus fruits (except lemons), honeydew melon, blackberries and more. It is found in meats including pork, veal and calve's liver. It is also found in lecithin.
Supplementing with Inositol
Recommended dosage is printed on the label of the container that you purchase, and under normal circumstances should be followed. However, in treating some of the conditions mentioned above, a higher dose is usually required to see benefit. Dosages of between 1 gram (1000 mg) upwards of 18 grams (18,000 mg) a day are used in more extreme cases.
Inositol can be purchased in bulk as a powder, or in capsule form. Powder form easily mixes with fruit drinks or water, and has a sweet taste.
In starting any supplement, it's always wise to stay within the recommended dosage and increase every few days in order to see fully how the supplement will act in your body. Although side effects from high dosages are generally considered very minor, they can be extremely inconvenient, as described below.
Inositol can be purchased in capsule or powder form
Additional Reasons to Supplement with Inositol
Those who consume large amounts of caffeine, have taken antibiotics for long periods of time, significantly decrease the body's supply of inositol and could benefit from supplementation.
Our Bodies Assimilate Nutrients Depending on Many Factors
Note that many individuals could likely have different results from supplementing with inositol, depending on the condition of their body. Everyone's metabolism is not the same, nor is everyone's ability to assimilate nutrients the same. Additionally, in cases where brain or other organ damage has occurred, the body's ability to assimilate nutrients is likely compromised. There can also be other problems in the digestive tract which can inhibit assimilation. To learn more about assimilation problems and how to correct them, read here.