Inositol is not a new discovery, but it has been under-publicized until recently. The truth is, inositol is a naturally-occurring chemical that is produced by your own body!
Learning about how to use this supplement effectively begins with understanding more about what it is, how it works, how to use it (including precise dosing instructions) and whether or not you are a good candidate to take it.
What Is Inositol?
So what is Inositol, exactly? It is sometimes referred to as "vitamin B8" when combined with adenosine monophosphate (AMP) or on its own.
At its most fundamental, it is a simple carbohydrate that is considered a form of sugar alcohol - glucose but slightly rearranged in its chemical composition to serve as a quick energy source.
If you are following a meal plan to induce ketosis for weight management, it is important to know that taking vitamin B8 will not impact your blood sugar.
What Are the Benefits of Inositol?
Inositol benefits the human body in some pretty amazing ways. For example, this chemical is vital for creating cell membranes. It also assists with carrying messages from your brain to the rest of your body throughout your central nervous system.
Support for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
There are two specific forms (out of the nine total forms) that can boost sensitivity to insulin, which can be helpful if you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Fertility Issues & Gestational Diabetes
If you are trying to get pregnant and have fertility problems, taking this supplement combined with folic acid can reduce the risk of contracting gestational diabetes by up to 92 percent for pregnant women.
Menopause-Related Metabolic Syndrome
Taking this supplement combined with alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to be effective for women in the post-menopause phase of life who have metabolic syndrome according to WebMD.
Mental Health America cites the supplement as being beneficial to fight the symptoms of depression as well as sadness, fatigue, hostility, anxiety and possibly panic disorder.
The supplement can be used to ease some of the side effects of taking lithium, most notably psoriasis, in people with bipolar disorder, according to WebMD.
Mental Health America states that it also has had some effectiveness treating symptoms of bipolar disorder itself.
Numerous studies reviewed and catalogued by health expert Dr. Mercola show that the supplement can be used to effectively treat panic disorder symptoms.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Infants
Some infants born prematurely can develop a life-threatening condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome.
As WebMD reports, giving the supplement via IV in a hospital setting (NICU) can decrease several serious side effects, including bleeding in the brain, blindness and death.
Several research studies have examined how taking the supplement may benefit people struggling to recover from various eating disorders, including bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
One double-blind study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders showed that the supplement greatly outperformed the placebo for treating patients with both eating issues.
A number of research studies reviewed by health expert Dr. Josh Axe report good results when using the supplement to fight the progression of a number of types of cancer, including lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
It is thought to possibly work by boosting the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
The supplement may be useful as well for combatting some of the difficult symptoms associated with PMS, or premenstrual syndrome.
The Journal of Human Psychopharmacology reported that one particular form of the supplement delivered a reduction in discomfort and depression symptoms for patients diagnosed with PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
In an ever-escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity, the supplement may prove vital to help stabilize blood sugar and support weight management.
Other reports show the supplement can improve the human body's responsiveness (sensitivity) to insulin, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, reduce cravings and control weight gain.
Because of how the supplement works to improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar, as well as evidence it performs well to reduce risk of gestational diabetes, there is evidence to suggest the supplement may also be useful in treating diabetes.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The American Journal of Psychiatry published results of a study showing that patients diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, experienced a significant reduction in symptoms while taking the supplement. Patients taking a placebo showed no reduction in symptoms.
Where Is It Found?
Vitamin B8 is widely available in its natural state in plants, animals and people. It can also be readily found in many foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition outlined a number of common food groups that contain one popular form of the supplement used to treat a number of different health issues.
Food groups high in the supplement include fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts and grains. It is important the foods be fresh and not canned, frozen or salted.
Specific foods cited as being high in the supplement include these: various nuts, sprouted beans and grains, oats, bran, bell peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, potatoes, coconut and coconut products, organic eggs, pears, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, citrus, bananas, grass-fed beef and dark leafy greens.
It is also possible to take it in supplement form either as a powder or in a capsule (the capsule usually contains a smaller amount of powder inside). The form you select should match your dosage - powder is easier if you are taking a larger dose while capsules can be easier for smaller doses and for when you are on the go or traveling.
What Is the Recommended Dosage?
It is very important to adjust your dosage for the type of health issue you want to address.
Dosing instructions will be different for premature infants and for adults. For adults, doses can range from 2 grams up to 18 grams depending on the health issue being addressed.
In addition to adjusting the dosage to the condition, it is important to choose the right form of the supplement (nine separate forms exist). For this, it is best to talk with your health practitioner or physician.
When in doubt, always follow the manufacturer's dosing instructions and start with the lowest possible dosage until you see how your body is going to react. Never give a supplement to a child without medical supervision.
Are There Side Effects?
There are few documented side effects. Nausea, dizziness, headache and fatigue are possible side effects of taking the supplement.
Side effects can increase when increasing the dosage, which is another good reason to start with the minimum recommended dosage at first.
Who Can Use It?
While at this time there are no documented interactions to be aware of, to be safe, always take the advice of your physician before adding any new supplement to your existing health and treatment plan.
Since the supplement is used for improving fertility and reducing the risk of gestational diabetes, it is thought to be safe to take even if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. However, always talk with your ob-gyn before starting to take the supplement.