Inositol is a collection of nine different stereoisomers but the name is usually used to describe only the most common type of inositol, myo-inositol. Myo-inositol is the cis-1,2,3,5-trans-4,6-cyclohexanehexol and it is prepared from an aqueous extract of corn kernels by precipitation and hydrolysis of crude phytate.

Health Benefits of Inositol

Inositol, also called myo-inositol, D-chiro-inositol, or hexaphosphate (IP6), plays a critical function in the body’s cellular growth. Though it used to be referred to as Vitamin B8, inositol is not actually a vitamin. It’s a type of sugar that helps your body process insulin.

Inositol used to be thought of as an essen tial nutrient, which is any nutrient that must be obtained from your diet. However, observations have shown that the liver and kidneys produce inositol from glucose, so it’s not an essential nutrient.

In addition to being produced by your body, inositol is also found in a wide range of healthy foods. Though inositol is a sugar that your body produces from glucose, diets high in sugar can actually inhibit inositol availability.

Health Benefits

Inositol is essential for several different cellular processes. It acts as a secondary messenger for your cells and helps with functions such as regulating insulin and binding neurotransmitters.

Additionally, inositol provides health benefits like:

Improved Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome includes several risk factors such as high blood pressure, belly fat, and high blood sugar, which all increase the risk for diabetes and heart disease. In one study, women who were postmenopausa land had metabolic syndrome took inositol supplements for one year. At the end of the year, they all showed improvement in their metabolic syndrome. In fact, 20% of the women no longer met the criteria for having metabolic syndrome.

Reduced Chance of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. In one study, women at high risk for gestational diabetes were treated with inositol and compared to a group of women who were given a placebo. The women given inositol were less likely to develop gestational diabetes and less likely to require insulin.

Management of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by increased insulin resistance, which has side effects such as increased body mass index (BMI) and abnormal menstrual cycles. Inositol was as effective as metformin, a medicine that is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, at increasing insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. About half of the women showed a decrease in BMI and their menstrual cycles returned to normal.

Lower Blood Sugar Levels

A type of inositol, D-chiro-inositol, combined with folic acid also increased insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 diabetes. People treated with inositol and folic acid had lower average blood sugar levels, known as HbA1c, than the people in the control group.

Decreased Panic Attacks

People with panic disorder reported fewe rpanic attacks while taking inositol than they did with fluvoxamine, an antidepressant that is often used to treat anxiety disorders. Negative side effects such as nausea and tiredness occurred less often with inositol than with fluvoxamine. Because it’s a natural supplement, people who are hesitant to take psychiatric drugs like antidepressants may be more willing to take inositol.

Improved Psoriasis in People Taking Lithium

Lithium carbonate is widely prescribed for people with bipolar affective disorders. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of lithium can be psoriasis, a skin condition. People with psoriasis who were taking lithium showed an improvement in their psoriasis after using inositol supplements. People with psoriasis who were not taking lithium did not show an improvement with inositol supplementation.

Health Risks

Because inositol is water-soluble, it doesn't have a high risk of overdose. Even at high doses, side effects are mainly limited to nausea, gas, and diarrhea.

Amounts and Dosage

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for inositol. Two different formulas are used in supplements, myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. Most studies administer between 10 - 18 grams per day of inositol to achieve desired results with minimal to no side effects.


Inositol: Health Benefits, Safety Information, Dosage, and More (

The Health Benefits of Inositol

Natural compound may help boost mood and metabolism

Inositol is a substance found naturally in cantaloupe, citrus fruit, and many fiber-rich foods (such as beans, brown rice, corn, sesame seeds, and wheat bran). It is also sold in supplement form and used as a complementary therapy to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including metabolic and mood disorders.

Inositol is often referred to as vitamin B8, but it is not actually a vitamin. It's a type of sugar that influences the insulin response and several hormones associated with mood and cognition. Inositol also has antioxidant properties that fight the damaging effects of free radicals in the brain, circulatory system, and other body tissues.

D-chiro-inositol, inositol hexaphosphate (often referred to as "IP6") and the compound myo-inositol are the most widely used inositol supplements. They are generally considered safe if taken appropriately.

Health Benefits

Alternative health providers recommend inositol supplements for a wide range of health conditions, including:

In addition, inositol is believed by some to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and prevent certain cancers. Some people also use inositol to promote hair growth or overcome insomnia. Research, however, is lacking.

According to the latest research, inositol may be beneficial for some disorders, including mental health issues, PCOS, and metabolic disorders. Here's a closer look at the science.

Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Inositol is believed to improve depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders by stimulating the production of the "feel-good" hormones serotonin and dopamine. The hypothesis is largely supported by research in which myo-inositol concentrations in blood is suggested a reliable marker for clinical depression.

The benefits have mostly been seen in people with panic disorder (PD) in whom depression is common. A small study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacologyi nvestigated the effect of myo-inositol on 20 people with PD.

After being provided a daily 18-gram dose of m yo-inositol for four weeks, the participants were given a daily 150-mg dose ofLuvox (fluvoxamine)—a commonly prescribed psychiatric drug—for the four weeks. When compared to a matched set of individuals not given myo-inositol, those who did had an average of 2.4 fewer panic attacks per week.

A number of other studies have investigated the use of inositol with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat a variety of depressive and anxiety disorders. The results have thus far been inconclusive.

In addition to panic disorder, inositol may be useful in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) given its effect on serotonin and dopamine levels.

Metabolic Disorders

There is evidence to suggest inositol can correct may metabolic disorders that contribute to the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

A 2016 pilot study ublished in the International Journal of Endocrinology reported that people with type 2 diabetes given myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol daily along with their anti-diabetes drugs had a significant drop in their fasting blood glucose (192.6 mg/dL down to 160.9 mg/dL) and A1C (8.6 percent down to 7.7 percent) after three months.

Another small study published in the journal Menopause suggested that myo-inositol may aid in the treatment of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. According to the research, women assigned to six months of myo-inositol supplements experienced significantly greater improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels than women provided a placebo.

When treated with myo-inositol, women with metabolic syndrome experienced an 11 percent drop in diastolic blood pressure, a 20 percent drop in triglycerides, and a 22 percent increase in "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

All of these values translate to an improvement of metabolic syndrome as well as a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

D-chiro-inositol may help manage PCOS, according to a small study published in Endocrine Practice. For this study, 20 women with PCOS were given either a placebo or 6 grams of D-chiro-inositol once daily for six to eight weeks.

The results revealed that D-chiro-inositol helped treat several abnormalities associated with PCOS, including high blood pressure and elevated levels of blood fats. In addition, elevated testosterone levels (consistent with PCOS-related hormone imbalances) decreased by 73 percent compared to 0 percent for those given a placebo.

Generally speaking, a normalization of hormonal balances translates to an improvement of PCOS symptoms.

Other Benefits

Inositol has also been found to reduce psoriasis symptoms in people taking lithium, a drug commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. Depending on the usage, lithium-induced psoriasis can affect anywhere from 3 percent to 45 percent of users.

Possible Side Effects

Inositol is generally considered safe in adults. Side effects, if any, tend to be mild and may include nausea, stomach pain, tiredness, headache, and dizziness. Most side effects occur with doses greater than 12 g per day.

Dosage and Preparation

Inositol supplements are sold as tablets and capsules. There is no recommended daily allowance for inositol and there is no standardized dosing schedule.

Manufacturers recommend the following doses for supporting individual conditions:


Inositol: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions (