Inositol Supplement Effects, Uses, Safety and Dosage

2019-02-18T15:27:01-05:00Categories: Anxiety|Tags: , , , |

Inositol is a nutrient, also available in supplement form, that plays a crucial role in facilitating communication between brain cells via all major neurotransmitters and believed to have several benefits related to mood and more.

Type: Nutrient Supplement/Mood
Used For: Panic Disorder, Anxiety, Insomnia, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome), Promoting Hair Growth  
Typical Dosage: 500 mg- 4 grams per day
Some Possible Drug Interactions: No Known Interactions
Supplement Interactions: No Known Interactions

What is Inositol?

Inositol is a sugar alcohol and rearranged form of glucose. It is a major component of cell membranes and considered a pseudovitamin, structurally similar to the B-vitamins (previously classified as Vitamin B8) but is not technically a vitamin. There are nine different types of this natural compound with the most common one being myo-inositol, the form that is generally being referred to in this article.

Inositol Benefits, Uses and DosageThis nutrient is produced in the body from glucose and found in most plants and animals. Foods that contain Inositol include meats, citrus fruits, grains, nuts, beans and fresh vegetables.

It is involved in transporting fat in the body so it doesn’t collect, especially in the liver and may also positively influence the action of insulin.

Inositol also helps neurons produce energy in the central nervous system and facilitates their communication via neurotransmitters, acting as a vital secondary messenger.

In simpler terms, it is a molecule highly involved in cellular signaling, receiving messages from neurons prior to firing off neurotransmitters and assisting by relaying that message to the receiving neuron, playing a needed role in successfully completing the signals of these chemical messengers.

Although Inositol does not boost levels of neurotransmitters, supplementation may help promote better neuronal signaling and boost the effectiveness of various major neurotransmitters that depend on Inositol to relay messages like Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA, and Norepinephrine, chemicals thought to be highly involved in attention, cognition, controlling mood, regulating sleep, appetite control, coping with stress and anxiety.

While deficiencies of Inositol are unlikely since the body can produce it under normal circumstances and it is found in many foods, human dietary requirements have not yet been assessed and low levels in the brain may hinder the function of these important neurotransmitters that can result in mood disorders and other problems.

As a Nootropic, people have used myo-Inositol supplements to help combat the symptoms of anxiety, depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), to curb panic attacks and to enhance mental productivity.

How Does Inositol Work?

When Inositol is taken in supplement form or in non-grain foods, it is made easily available to the blood and then goes to work, helping to support cell walls, breaking down excess fat and transporting lipids away from cells.

It also helps in the process of opening calcium channels in the brain, crucial to the release of major neurotransmitters, triggering their activity. These chemical messengers send signals from one neuron to the receptor of another and involved in a wide variety of psychological and physical functions.

In particular, it appears Serotonin exhibits the greatest boost in activity, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in modulating mood, regulating sleep patterns and controlling the stress response.

When the “job” of this chemical messenger is not working properly for any reason, it is believed to result in a depressed mood, irritability, obsessive and negative thoughts, insomnia and other associated symptoms. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter often targeted in anti-depressant medications (SSRI’s) which are prescribed to treat panic attacks, depression, anxiety and OCD.

In addition, Inositol contributes to the growth of new neurons, also known as neurogenesis within the brain which may help to preserve cognitive function in healthy people as we age and may contribute to the long-term health of the brain.

Inositol Benefits

As a Nootropic, Inositol supplementation is often used for its potential benefits related to curbing the symptoms of anxiety, depression and enhancing brain efficiency. It plays a major role in facilitating communication between neurons and all major mood-related neurotransmitter systems rely on it to transmit messages.

Adequate levels of Inositol are associated with reduced fatigue related to depression, while low levels in the brain (in some people) have been linked to those that suffer from symptoms of these conditions and others such as compulsive disorders.

The effects of Inositol on depression, panic disorder and OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) have been formally studied. It has shown some promise for many types of anxiety including agoraphobia (fear of places or situations that may cause panic).

In a double-blind controlled study, its effects on patients with panic disorder (at doses of up to 18g/per day for a month) were compared to the SSRI, Fluvoxamine (Luvox) and showed to work just as effectively in reducing the number of panic attacks per week and the severity of agoraphobia with minimal side effects.

Additionally, in another study, the effects of Inositol on patients with OCD was investigated. It was found that 18 grams of Inositol administered orally over six weeks, significantly improve symptoms compared to placebo based on scores of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale.

While it is suggested that people who suffer from depression have lower levels of Inositol, the evidence for its use for this purpose is contradictory. In a double-blind controlled trial on patients suffering from depression, individuals given Inositol compared to placebo showed an overall improvement in scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale at the four-week point.

In another study, its indicated that Inositol may be most useful for depression, mood swings and anxiety associated with PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder), a condition with symptoms such as severe depression, tension and irritability more pronounced than in PMS that occurs before menstruation.

Other benefits associated with Inositol include lower cholesterol levels and a boost in the breakdown of fat throughout the body when combined with Choline which produces lecithin. It is also suggested that it may promote hair growth.

Finally, according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Inositol is rated Possibly Effective for lithium-induced side effects, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in the form of d-chiro inositol, panic disorder and respiratory distress syndrome.

While research has been promising on the effects of Inositol for mental health conditions, repetition and more large-scale studies are needed. It is sold only as a dietary supplement and it is not approved by the FDA as a drug to prevent or treat any conditions.

Does Inositol Have Side Effects?

Inositol oral supplementation is considered generally well-tolerated and rated Likely Safe even at high dose levels but there are reported side effects including stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, nervousness and headaches when taken at extremely high doses.

If you experience these side effects, the best course of action is to reduce the dosage and/or stop taking it for a few days and start up again at a later date.

Inositol has no known interactions with medications or supplements at this time, however, it is always recommended to speak with your doctor first before taking this or any supplements to ensure they are right for you.

If you are pregnant, this supplement should be avoided. Inositol may affect a hormone called Oxytocin which is involved in stimulating uterine muscles to contract during childbirth. In addition, do not take Inositol if you suffer from bipolar or bipolar-spectrum disorder without consulting with your doctor first.

Inositol Dosage

Inositol has been used in clinical trials in doses of up to 18 grams but this dosage level is not typically needed for most people. Most users have reported positive effects at daily dosages ranging between 500 mg-4 grams which can be divided up into three administrations throughout the day. It is available in capsule and powder form.

It best to start at the lower end of the dosage range and do not increase it until you can determine how your body responds to this supplement and its effects.

There is a lot of evidence that suggests Inositol compliments the effects of Choline, which is also thought to support the health of brain cells, nerve transmission and is a precursor to Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation and learning.

At the typically reported ratio of 1:1, you may want to consider stacking this supplement with a high-quality choline source such as Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline for best results.

Rate this article : 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)


  1. Levine J. Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1997 May;7(2):147-55.[source]
  2. Levine J, Barak Y, Gonzalves M, Szor H, Elizur A, Kofman O, Belmaker RH. Double-blind, controlled trial of inositol treatment of depression. Am J Psychiatry. 1995 May;152(5):792-4.[source]
  3. Palatnik A, Frolov K, Fux M, Benjamin J. Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;21(3):335-9.[source]
  4. Fisher SK, Novak JE, Agranoff BW. Inositol and higher inositol phosphates in neural tissues: homeostasis, metabolism and functional significance. J Neurochem. 2002 Aug;82(4):736-54.[source]
  5. Clements RS Jr, Darnell B. Myo-inositol content of common foods: development of a high-myo-inositol diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 Sep;33(9):1954-67. [source]
  6. Gillaspy GE. The cellular language of myo-inositol signaling. New Phytol. 2011 Dec;192(4):823-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03939.x. Epub 2011 Nov 2.[source]
  7. Dinicola S, Minini M, Unfer V, Verna R, Cucina A, Bizzarri M. Nutritional and Acquired Deficiencies in Inositol Bioavailability. Correlations with Metabolic Disorders. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(10):2187. Published 2017 Oct 20. doi:10.3390/ijms18102187[source]
  8. Levine J. Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1997 May;7(2):147-55.[source]
  9. Greenberg EF, Lavik AR, Distelhorst CW. Bcl-2 regulation of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor and calcium signaling in normal and malignant lymphocytes: potential new target for cancer treatment. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Oct;1843(10):2205-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2014.03.008. Epub 2014 Mar 15.[source]
  10. Camfield DA, Sarris J, Berk M. Nutraceuticals in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): a review of mechanistic and clinical evidence. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Jun 1;35(4):887-95. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.02.011.[source]
  11. Urrila AS, Hakkarainen A, Castaneda A, Paunio T, Marttunen M, Lundbom N. Frontal Cortex Myo-Inositol Is Associated with Sleep and Depression in Adolescents: A Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study. Neuropsychobiology. 2017;75(1):21-31. doi: 10.1159/000478861.[source]
  12. Shimon H, Agam G, Belmaker RH, Hyde TM, Kleinman JE. Reduced frontal cortex inositol levels in postmortem brain of suicide victims and patients with bipolar disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 1997 Aug;154(8):1148-50.[sources]
  13. Brink CB, Viljoen SL, de Kock SE, Stein DJ, Harvey BH. Effects of myo-inositol versus fluoxetine and imipramine pretreatments on serotonin 5HT2A and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in human neuroblastoma cells. Metab Brain Dis. 2004 Jun;19(1-2):51-70.[source]
  14. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Inositol monograph, accessed Dec 14, 2018[source]
  15. Harvey BH, Brink CB, Seedat S, Stein DJ. Defining the neuromolecular action of myo-inositol: application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Jan;26(1):21-32. Review. [source]
  16. Fux M, Levine J, Aviv A, Belmaker RH. Inositol treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;153(9):1219-21.[source]
  17. Taylor MJ, Wilder H, Bhagwagar Z, Geddes J. Inositol for depressive disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD004049. Review.[source]
  18. Galazis N, Galazi M, Atiomo W. D-Chiro-inositol and its significance in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2011 Apr;27(4):256-62. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2010.538099. Epub 2010 Dec 10.[source]
  19. Fedorenko OA, Popugaeva E, Enomoto M, Stathopulos PB, Ikura M, Bezprozvanny I. Intracellular calcium channels: inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Sep 15;739:39-48. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.10.074. Epub 2013 Dec 1. Review.[source]
  20. Levine J, Barak Y, Gonzalves M, Szor H, Elizur A, Kofman O, Belmaker RH. Double-blind, controlled trial of inositol treatment of depression. Am J Psychiatry. 1995 May;152(5):792-4.[source]
  21. Mukai T, Kishi T, Matsuda Y, Iwata N. A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014 Jan;29(1):55-63. doi: 10.1002/hup.2369. Epub 2013 Dec 3.[source]
  22. Kofman O, Belmaker RH. Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award 1993. Biochemical, behavioral, and clinical studies of the role of inositol in lithium treatment and depression. Biol Psychiatry. 1993 Dec 15;34(12):839-52.[source]
  23. Rango M, Cogiamanian F, Marceglia S, Barberis B, Arighi A, Biondetti P, Priori A. Myoinositol content in the human brain is modified by transcranial direct current stimulation in a matter of minutes: a 1H-MRS study. Magn Reson Med. 2008 Oct;60(4):782-9. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21709.[source]
  24. Phaneuf S, Europe-Finner GN, Carrasco MP, Hamilton CH, López Bernal A. Oxytocin signalling in human myometrium. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1995;395:453-67.[source]
  25. Gianfranco C, Vittorio U, Silvia B, Francesco D. Myo-inositol in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011 Oct;26(7):526-30. doi: 10.1002/hup.1241.[source]
  26. Pintaudi B, Di Vieste G, Bonomo M. The Effectiveness of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol Treatment in Type 2 Diabetes. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;2016:9132052.[source]
  27. Suzuki S, Suzuki C, Hinokio Y, et al. Insulin-mimicking bioactivities of acylated inositol glycans in several mouse models of diabetes with or without obesity. PLoS One. 2014;9(6):e100466. Published 2014 Jun 27. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100466[source]
  28. Shimada M, Hibino M, Takeshita A. Dietary supplementation with myo-inositol reduces hepatic triglyceride accumulation and expression of both fructolytic and lipogenic genes in rats fed a high-fructose diet. Nutr Res. 2017 Nov;47:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Aug 24.[source]
  29. Ortmeyer HK. Dietary myoinositol results in lower urine glucose and in lower postprandial plasma glucose in obese insulin resistant rhesus monkeys. Obes Res. 1996 Nov;4(6):569-75.[source]
  30. Harvey BH, Scheepers A, Brand L, Stein DJ. Chronic inositol increases striatal D(2) receptors but does not modify dexamphetamine-induced motor behavior. Relevance to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2001 Feb;68(2):245-53.[source]
  31. Dinicola S, Minini M, Unfer V, Verna R, Cucina A, Bizzarri M. Nutritional and Acquired Deficiencies in Inositol Bioavailability. Correlations with Metabolic Disorders. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(10):2187. Published 2017 Oct 20. doi:10.3390/ijms18102187[source]
  32. Kontoangelos K, Vaidakis N, Zervas I, et al. Administration of inositol to a patient with bipolar disorder and psoriasis: a case report. Cases J. 2010;3:69. Published 2010 Feb 23. doi:10.1186/1757-1626-3-69[source]

Top Rated Inositol Supplements

Leave A Comment

Our Site uses session cookies to enhance the user experience. By continuing to use the site you agree to our cookie policy. OK