The 5 Benefits of Inositol You Need to Know
Inositol benefits may include brain power and fertility. It may not be an essential vitamin, but its potential is still notable.
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The Promising Health Benefits of Inositol
What Is Inositol?
Once upon a time, inositol was considered a B-vitamin called vitamin B8. However, because it was discovered that the body produces it, it is no longer considered a vitamin.
Inositol is a carbohydrate (sugar) that you can also get from your diet.
Like other B-vitamins, it plays a role in vital brain functions. Because of the many hats it wears, some scientists think it may be beneficial for depression, women's reproductive health, and even weight management.
1. Inositol May Help with Anxiety and Depression
B-vitamins are essential brain vitamins. They play a role in normal brain function, creating healthy brain cells to producing neurotransmitters like serotonin. And it seems inositol is no exception.
Serotonin, among other things, is a hormone that regulates our mood. And low levels of this hormone could lead to depression. Inositol, as part of its role in producing neurotransmitters, could stimulate serotonin production.
One study found that patients with depressive symptoms have low levels of inositol. It suggests that inositol could be a biomarker for depression.
A meta-analysis of inositol suggests that it may help people with depression.
Another study found that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder improved after taking 18g/day of inositol for six weeks.
But because current studies are small, it's hard to say if inositol is effective. There are even studies that find that inositol does not help with mental disorders.
It's no secret that inositol plays a key role in brain health. But whether this means that it can act as a therapeutic agent is still up for debate.
2. Inositol May Help with Mood Swings
As mentioned, inositol plays a role in producing neurotransmitters which could include serotonin.
Abnormal levels of serotonin could lead to mood swings.
Because of this, inositol might help you improve your mood and keep mood swings at bay.
Again, research is still inconclusive. In the meantime, there are other effective ways to get your serotonin boost.
3. Inositol May Help Curb Your Appetite
When you're stressed, you might crave your favorite sugary desserts. But stress-eating might be a sign that your body is telling you about a craving of its own—serotonin.
Carbs stimulate serotonin production. So stress eating is actually your body's way of treating itself.
Another way to give your body healthy doses of serotonin? You guessed it. Inositol.
Inositol, by encouraging serotonin production, may help beat your cravings by feeding it the serotonin it needs in the first place.
4. Potential Benefits of Inositol for Women’s Health (Hormone Ratios, Fertility, and Menstrual Cycle)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is scary for women trying to get pregnant. If you've consulted with a doctor to help with your pregnancy, this is something you might have talked about.
PCOS is a condition where a woman has higher levels of androgen, which could cause trouble with ovulation and irregular periods.
Inositol may help improve functions that PCOS disrupts. This includes fertility, menstrual cycles, and insulin resistance.
Luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) work together to stimulate ovulation and follicular growth. Studies suggest that inositol may help improve the LH/FSH ratio and menstrual cycle in PCOS patients.
But inositol might also be beneficial for men. Other studies suggest that inositol may also improve fertility in men by boosting testosterone levels and improving sperm motility, concentration, and morphology.
Women with PCOS may also be insulin resistant.
Research shows that inositol may help improve insulin resistance in women with PCOS. This is important because insulin resistance might pull up the likelihood of women getting type 2 diabetes.
5. Inositol May Help Manage Insulin Resistance like Metformin
Metformin is a drug that treats type 2 diabetes. It works by controlling your blood sugar and helping your body use insulin.
As mentioned earlier, inositol could help insulin resistance in women with PCOS. But did you know that studies suggest that inositol may be just as effective as metformin? It might even have lesser side effects than metformin.
A 2019 study found that taking metformin and inositol together works even better to improve fertility in women with PCOS.
Another study found that both treatments could help improve the body mass index in 50% of their subjects.
Promising as the studies may seem, they are not conclusive. There are tried, tested, and FDA-approved ways to manage diabetes. And your doctor is the best person to tell you how to go about it.
The benefits of inositol are still subject to more studies. Current studies are small, lacking in animal models, and the results are inconsistent. But the potential benefits are impressive, promising—and for some—possibly life-changing (or creating).
Inositol might help you deal with depression, stress, and the midnight snacks that may come with it. It could also help manage type 2 diabetes along with metformin. And, if the research is correct, with fewer side effects.
If there is an inositol health benefit that struck a chord with you, then talk to your doctor about it. Inositol supplements may be safe to use and may be helpful to you.
Bear in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements. So you can't be too sure that your supplements are made with the best ingredients or are effective.
Do you think you could benefit from inositol supplements? Let us know in the comments section below.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is only meant to share information and should not be taken as medical advice.
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