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- What Is Inositol?
- May Have Mental Health Benefits
- May Improve Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- May Help Control Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors
- May Prevent Diabetes During Pregnancy
- Other Potential Benefits
- Side Effects and Interactions
- Recommended Dosages
- The Bottom Line
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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 (2).
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 (3, 4).
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 (1).
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.
Inositol may help balance important chemicals in your brain, including those believed to affect your mood, such as serotonin and dopamine (4).
Interestingly, researchers have found that some people with depression, anxiety and compulsive disorders have lower levels of inositol in their brain (5, 6).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes hormone imbalances in women, which may lead to irregular periods and infertility. Weight gain, high blood sugar and undesirable cholesterol and triglyceride levels are also concerns with PCOS (16).
Inositol supplements may improve PCOS symptoms, particularly when combined with folic acid.
For instance, clinical studies suggest that daily doses of inositol and folic acid may help reduce levels of triglycerides in the blood. They may also improve insulin function and slightly lower blood pressure in those with PCOS (17, 18, 19).
What’s more, preliminary research found that the combination of inositol and folic acid may promote ovulation in women with fertility issues from PCOS (20, 21).
Clinical studies suggest inositol supplements may be beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome (21, 22).
Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that raise your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Specifically, five conditions are associated with metabolic syndrome (23):
•Excess fat in the stomach area
•High levels of triglycerides in the blood
•Low “good” HDL cholesterol levels
Some women experience high blood sugar during pregnancy. This condition is called gestational diabetes (GDM) and complicates up to 10% of pregnancies in the US every year (25, 26).
In animal studies, inositol has been directly related to the function of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels (27, 28).
Only a limited number of studies are available on the supplement and GDM in humans. However, some suggest that a combination of 4 grams of myo-inositol and 400 mcg of folic acid may be helpful in preventing GDM when taken daily throughout pregnancy (29, 30, 31).
However, more research is needed, as other studies have not shown the same effects (32).
Inositol has been studied as a potential treatment option for many conditions.
Besides those already mentioned, research suggests inositol may be helpful in the following conditions:
•Respiratory distress syndrome: In preterm infants, inositol appears to be helpful for treating breathing issues from underdeveloped lungs (33).
•Type 2 diabetes: A preliminary study suggests that inositol and folic acid taken daily for 6 months may aid blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (34).
Inositol supplements seem to be well-tolerated by most people.
However, mild side effects have been reported with doses of 12 grams per day or higher. These include nausea, gas, difficulty sleeping, headache, dizziness and tiredness (36).
Up to 4 grams of inositol daily has been taken by pregnant women in studies without adverse effects, though more research is needed in this population (37, 38).
There are also not enough studies to determine the safety of the supplements while breastfeeding. However, breast milk seems to be naturally rich in inositol (39).
In addition, it’s unclear whether inositol supplements are safe for long-term use. In most studies, inositol supplements were only taken for a year or less.
As with any supplement, talk to your doctor before taking inositol.
There are two main forms of inositol used in supplements, namely myo-inositol (MYO) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI).
Though there is no official consensus on the most effective type and dosage, the following have appeared to be effective in research studies:
•For mental health conditions: 12–18 grams of MYO once daily for 4–6 weeks (8, 9, 10, 13).
•For polycystic ovary syndrome: 1.2 grams of DCI once daily, or 2 grams of MYO and 200 mcg of folic acid twice daily for 6 months (17, 20).
•For metabolic syndrome: 2 grams of MYO twice daily for one year (23).
•For blood sugar control in gestational diabetes: 2 grams of MYO and 400 mcg of folic acid twice daily during pregnancy (29, 30, 31).
Research suggests that inositol may aid people with mental health and metabolic conditions, such as panic disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
It appears to be safe for most people and cause only mild if any side effects in daily doses up to 18 grams.
While your diet likely contains small amounts of inositol, taking a supplement may prove beneficial for some.
Always discuss the use of supplements with your healthcare provider first.
Mar 26, 2023 · When taking saw palmetto as the treatment for hirsutism, you should be aware of the fact that saw palmetto can increase the risk of bleeding. For this reason, you should consult your healthcare provider first, especially if you are already on blood thinning medications.
Mar 26, 2023 · Take 1 soft gel 3 times a day with meals. The company recommends not taking more than 2 pills per meal and no more than 4 pills per day. Do not take Release on an empty stomach, as doing so might lower your blood sugar too much. You can take Release just before, during, or just after eating.