Nutrition

Inositol Benefits for Anxiety, PCOS and Depression

Inositol could be just what you're looking for if you're struggling with anxiety or depression. Safe and natural, inositol benefits the treatment of mental health problems and PCOS.

SUMMARY

The list of inositol supplements includes choices such as D-chiro-inositol and myo-inositol. So, what is inositol capable of doing for your health? Inositol powder can be used to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

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Inositol is a supplement that tends to fly under the radar with many people; still, it has a lot to offer in supporting your mental and physical health. 

This nutrient is a carbohydrate, and it takes various forms. The inositol family includes options such as myo-inositol, D-chiro-inositol and inositol triphosphate.

How can inositol support your healthy lifestyle? And what is inositol used for in wellness protocols?

Inositol benefits certain mental health conditions in key ways. It’s been used to treat ailments such as depression, anxiety disorder and panic disorder. And inositol powder has been used successfully to treat a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS). 

Let’s take a closer look at the ways in which inositol benefits healing. 

In this article, we will:

  • Explain what inositol is, and discuss the different variants
  • List important inositol health benefits
  • Share a lineup of inositol foods
  • Find out if there are any inositol side effects
  • List an ideal inositol dosage

What is inositol?

Inositol is also called vitamin B8, and it’s a carbohydrate that’s naturally found in the human body.

You’ll find inositol in certain foods. If you want to up your intake of this nutrient, you can also invest in an inositol supplement.

There are different variants of inositol, and each is called an isomer. Two of the most common variants are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol. 

So, what is inositol used for by the body?

Inositol plays a key role in helping your body build cell membranes. It also supports your central nervous system, and it can increase the impact neurotransmitters have on your brain. 

When it comes to mental health, inositol benefits your well-being by balancing certain chemicals in the body. For this reason, inositol supplementation is an effective treatment for a host of mental conditions and mood disorders. The list includes anxiety, depression and panic disorder.

And inositol benefits your physical health as well. It does this via its impact your body’s insulin level. It can improve insulin signaling and helps the body use insulin more effectively. That quality enables inositol powder to help treat conditions such as metabolic syndrome, PCOS and gestational diabetes. 

Inositol benefits

When it comes to your health evolution, what is inositol good for?

Here are some inositol benefits you should know about:  

Inositol benefit #1: Treats depression

Depression is a common ailment. According to the World Health Organization, this mental illness affects more than 264 million people of all ages worldwide. It’s a leading cause of disability. If it’s severe and untreated, depression could lead to suicide. 

So, what is inositol capable of doing for depression? 

Research shows inositol benefits the treatment of depression. It’s surmised that inositol is able to achieve this outcome thanks to its effect on neurotransmitters in the brain. 

  • In a 1995 study, a 12-gram dosage of inositol was given to depressed patients each day over a four-week period; others in the study were given a placebo. Those who received the inositol showed a notable improvement in depression symptoms relative to those who got the placebo. 
  • A small 1993 study administered a 6-gram daily dose of inositol to eleven depressed patients who had been resistant to other types of treatment. Nine of the eleven patients experienced major improvement in depression symptoms. 

If you’re having a hard time finding relief from depression, an inositol supplement may be the solution you’re seeking. 

Inositol benefit #2: Relieves anxiety and OCD

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can affect your mood. If there’s inadequate serotonin in the body, the shortage could trigger panic and anxiety attacks, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 

Research shows that inositol supplements can improve mental health problems associated with serotonin.

Clinical studies in this area are still somewhat limited. But the research that exists shows that inositol benefits the treatment of conditions such as anxiety and panic disorders in a notable way. 

In people with certain mental conditions, inositol deficiency may be a factor. These people often exhibit inositol levels that are abnormally low. 

  • 1995 study looked at the impact inositol had on participants with a panic disorder that causes panic attacks. The study showed that participants who took inositol experienced fewer and less severe panic attacks than those who took a placebo. 
  • And in a 1996 study, inositol was used to treat participants with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Thirteen patients with OCD were divided into two groups. One group got 18 grams of inositol per day over a six-week period; the other group got a placebo. Those who received inositol treatment showed clear improvement in their OCD symptoms.

Inositol benefit #3: Supports healthy blood sugar levels

What is inositol good for when it comes to your body’s blood sugar levels?

Your body produces a hormone called insulin. This hormone plays a crucial role in regulating glucose metabolism and blood sugar levels in your body. 

Sometimes there are problems with the way the body responds to insulin. This condition is called insulin resistance, and it can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

This can ultimately make you more likely to develop a range of metabolic disorders. These include conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Research shows that inositol boosts insulin sensitivity and diminishes insulin resistance. In so doing, inositol benefits wellness by helping your body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. 

A 2011 study looked at the effect of myo-inositol supplementation in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome, covering a six-month period. Those who took myo-inositol experienced improvements in certain symptoms of metabolic syndrome:

  • Their blood pressure decreased
  • They noted healthier cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • They showed improvements in insulin sensitivity; optimized insulin sensitivity helps your body maintain an ideal blood sugar level

Inositol and gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a term used to describe diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time while a woman is pregnant.

It can develop when a woman’s body is unable to create all the insulin it needs during pregnancy. It causes high blood sugar that can affect the health of the pregnant woman and her fetus. 

Clinical studies show that inositol benefits blood sugar control in women with gestational diabetes.

In a 2011 study, some participants were given 4 grams of myo-inositol daily combined with 400 μg of folic acid; others were given a placebo. Those who received the myo-inositol showed the improved insulin resistance needed for ideal blood sugar control. 

Inositol benefit #4: Restores fertility in women with PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome — or PCOS — is a condition that can affect a woman’s health and fertility. It causes a woman’s body to ramp up the production of certain hormones to abnormally high levels. 

The list of PCOS symptoms includes hair loss on the head, mood changes, acne, high testosterone levels, weight gain, irregular periods and excessive body hair. PCOS can cause cysts to grow in a woman’s ovaries. Ultimately, this condition can result in infertility. 

Some researchers believe that PCOS may be caused by problems related to insulin sensitivity. With this in mind, it’s not surprising to learn that inositol benefits the treatment of PCOS.

  • In a 2007 study, myo-inositol helped restore ovarian function and fertility in PCOS patients.
  • And in a 2010 study, myo-inositol was shown to be more effective at treating PCOS than metformin, a drug that’s commonly prescribed to address the ailment. 

If you’re a woman wrestling with PCOS, it’s clear that inositol offers valuable health benefits in treating this disease. 

Inositol foods

You can supplement with inositol powder. But keep in mind that inositol is also found in certain foods. 

Inositol is present in fruits, grains, beans and nuts. These foods are especially high in inositol:

  • Cantaloupes
  • Oats 
  • Bran
  • Bananas
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Peaches

To experience maximum inositol benefits from these foods, consume them fresh. Cooking or freezing these fruits or vegetables will diminish the amount of inositol they possess. 

Inositol side effects

Inositol is present in your body. It’s also found in a host of healthy foods.

When those facts are taken under consideration, it’s not surprising to learn that this dietary supplement has a strong safety record.

Mild side effects have been reported at very high doses (12 grams or more). These include flatulence and stomach pains. Reducing the dosage can relieve these side effects. 

Inositol dosage

In research involving anxiety, depression and panic attacks, improvements were achieved using an inositol dosage of up to 12 grams daily. 

For PCOS  and metabolic syndrome, an inositol dosage of 2 grams twice daily is typically recommended by the companies that produce this supplement.

Many of the studies done so far involve myo-inositol. That means this variant is a good bet if you’re seeking to realize the health benefits associated with inositol. 

Next steps

What is inositol capable of doing to support your wellness evolution? To find out if this supplement is right for you, grab a bottle online or at your local health food store. You can also add inositol-rich foods such as cantaloupes and oranges to your diet. 

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