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.

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