Inositol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is essential for proper cellular function and metabolism. It is found in many common foods, such as fruits, grains, and nuts, and is also produced by the body. Inositol is sometimes referred to as a vitamin-like substance because it is similar in structure to the B-vitamin family, but it is not classified as a vitamin.
Inositol is commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its potential wellness benefits.* It has been studied for its potential role in insulin sensitivity, symptoms of anxiety, and promoting healthy hair and skin.*
Types of inositol
There are several different forms of inositol, including myo-inositol, d-chiro-inositol, and scyllo-inositol, among others. Myo-inositol is the most commonly used form in dietary supplements and is the form found in most foods.
Myo-inositol has been extensively studied and is the most well-understood form of inositol. It is involved in multiple cellular functions, including cell membrane formation, signal transduction, and glucose metabolism. It may also play a role to support insulin signaling and insulin function in the body.*
Potential benefits of inositol
Insulin sensitivity: Myo-inositol may play a role on insulin sensitivity in individuals with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and metabolic syndrome.* Insulin sensitivity is deemed important for supporting healthy blood sugar levels and diabetes.
Anxiety: Inositol may also have a role in symptoms of anxiety. Some studies have shown that myo-inositol may play a role to positively supporting anxiety and depression.*
Promoting healthy hair and skin: Inositol might also play a role for promoting healthy hair and skin.* Inositol has been shown to support the production of sebum, which is an oil produced by the skin that can contribute to acne and other skin conditions.* In addition, inositol is a component of keratin, which is a protein that is essential for healthy hair and nails.
Other potential benefits: In addition to the benefits listed above, inositol has been studied for its potential role in inflammation, fertility, and supporting healthy brain function.*
It is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of inositol for these and other concerns and that some studies might show some results for certain types of populations only and/or in specific settings.
Inositol as a supplement
Inositol is available as a dietary supplement. It typically comes in powder or capsule form and can be taken orally. The recommended dosage of inositol varies depending on the intended use and the specific form of inositol being used.
Inositol is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses, but may cause side effects like stomach upset, headache, and dizziness in some individuals. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting to take any new supplement, especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are taking any medications.
Inositol is a versatile nutrient with potential health and wellness benefits. While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of inositol, it has shown promise in certain areas. If you are interested in taking inositol as a supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider first and to follow recommended dosages.
In addition to taking supplements, it is also possible to increase your intake of inositol through your diet. Foods like fruits, grains, and nuts are good sources of inositol, and increasing your intake of these foods may be beneficial for overall health.
It's important to remember that inositol should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eating a well-rounded diet, getting regular exercise, and practicing other healthy habits are essential for maintaining overall health and preventing chronic disease.