Inositol, sometimes referred to as vitamin B8, naturally occurs in foods such as fruits, beans, grains and nuts. Your body can also produce inositol from the carbohydrates you eat. However, research suggests that additional inositol in the form of supplements may have numerous health benefits.
What Is Inositol?
Though often referred to as vitamin B8, inositol is not a vitamin at all but rather a type of sugar with several important functions. Inositol plays a structural role in your body as a major component of cell membranes. It also influences the action of insulin, a hormone essential for blood sugar control. In addition, it affects chemical messengers in your brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. It has been estimated that a typical diet in the US contains around 1 gram of inositol per day. Rich sources include grains, beans, nuts and fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, supplemental doses of inositol are often higher. Researchers have studied the benefits of doses up to 18 grams per day — with promising results and few side effects.
Health Benefits of Inositol
Inositol plays an important part in cell growth and functioning. It is thought that this substance may have a number of health benefits including:
- Lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor for a number of conditions including increased belly fat, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar
- Lowering high cholesterol1
- Helping the body regulate and process insulin
- Helping relieve anxiety and symptoms of panic disorder
- Reducing the risk of gestational diabetes
- Relieving symptoms of depression
- Relieving symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- In addition, some believe that inositol may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and prevent certain cancers. Some people also use inositol to promote hair growth or overcome insomnia. Research on these claims is lacking.
Due to the lack of quality research, it is too soon to consider inositol supplements as an effective, standalone treatment for any health condition. That said, inositol is generally well tolerated if taken in moderation and under the guidance of a doctor.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Always consult your health care provider before taking any supplements. Pregnant or lactating women, people with existing medical conditions, or people taking medications should consult their health care provider/s before taking any dietary supplement. If you experience any adverse condition after taking this dietary supplement, discontinue use immediately and consult your health care provider.
Keep out of reach of children.