Synonym: Myo-inositol, D-chiro-inositol, inositol hexaphosphate (IP6)

Characteristics: Inositol is a generic name for nine different stereoisomers, with myo-inositol being the most common type. It is produced from an aqueous extract of corn kernels by precipitation and hydrolysis of crude phytate. It is a type of sugar that affects cell signaling, the body's response to insulin, and several neurotransmitters associated with mood and cognition (proper brain functions - perception, attention, memory, etc.). It is often referred to as vitamin B8, but in reality, it is not a vitamin, because its deficiency does not cause disease and the body can partially produce it on its own.

Absorption: It is absorbed in the small intestine.

Dietary Supplements: D-chiro-inositol, inositol hexaphosphate (often referred to as "IP6"), and the compound myo-inositol are the most widely used dietary supplement ingredients.

Natural sources: Inositol occurs naturally in watermelon, citrus fruits, and many fiber-rich foods (such as beans, brown rice, corn, sesame seeds, and wheat bran). Cooking or freezing fruits and vegetables reduces the inositol content.

Effect: Inositol plays an important role in the growth and proper functioning of cells. Some research has found that inositol may have a number of health benefits. It can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. It can regulate high cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and alleviate depression. It is recommended for alleviating the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The supplement is often touted as a cure for hair thinning and balding, but robust scientific confirmation of this effect is lacking. There is some evidence that inositol helps lower testosterone and balance hormones in people with PCOS, which may help reverse the hair thinning associated with the condition.

Deficiency: Symptoms of inositol deficiency in humans are extremely rare, but may include alopecia, eczema, insomnia, constipation, and hyperlipidemia.

Recommended daily dose: doses range from 2g/twice a day to 12g a day.

Side Effects: Generally considered safe in adults. Side effects tend to be mild and may include nausea, stomach pain, fatigue, headache, and dizziness. Most side effects occur at doses higher than 12 grams per day.

Interactions: drugs to treat diabetes mellitus, antihypertensives (high blood pressure).

Pregnancy: no information available.

Breastfeeding: no information available.

Warning: In people with diabetes, long-term use or excessive use of inositol can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Some studies suggest positive effects of inositol in bipolar illness, but unfortunately there are also concerns that it could cause a manic or hypomanic episode. High doses of inositol hexaphosphate can reduce the body's ability to absorb zinc, calcium, iron, and other essential minerals, which can cause deficiencies.

Toxicity: Consumption of high doses of inositol has been reported to cause only gastrointestinal distress.


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