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Inositol

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What other names is Inositol known by?

1,2,3,4,5,6-Cyclohexanehexol, 1,2,5/3,4,6-inositol, (1S)-inositol, (1S)-1,2,4/3,5,6-inositol, Antialopecia Factor, (+)-chiroinositol, cis-1,2,3,5-trans-4,6-Cyclohexanehexol, Cyclohexitol, Dambrose, D-chiro-inositol, D-Myo-Inositol, Facteur Anti-alopécique, Hexahydroxycyclohexane, Inose, Inosite, Inositol Monophosphate, Lipositol, Meso-Inositol, Méso-Inositol, Monophosphate d'Inositol, Mouse Antialopecia Factor, Myo-Inositol, Vitamin B8, Vitamine B8.

What is Inositol?

Inositol is a vitamin-like substance. It is found in many plants and animals. It can also be made in a laboratory.

Inositol is used for diabetic nerve pain, panic disorder, high cholesterol, insomnia, cancer, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, promoting hair growth, a skin disorder called psoriasis, and treating side effects of medical treatment with lithium.

Inositol is also used by mouth for treating conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including failure to ovulate; high blood pressure; high triglycerides; and high levels of testosterone.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Panic disorder. Inositol shows some promise for controlling panic attacks and the fear of public places or open spaces (agoraphobia). One study found that inositol is as effective as a prescription medication. However, large-scale clinical trials are needed before inositol's effectiveness for panic attacks can be proven.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is some evidence that people with OCD who receive inositol by mouth for 6 weeks experience significant improvement.
  • An ovary disorder known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Taking a particular form of inositol (isomer D-chiro-inositol) by mouth seems to lower triglyceride and testosterone levels, modestly decrease blood pressure, and promote ovulation in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Problems breathing in premature infants known as "acute respiratory distress syndrome," when given intravenously (by IV).
  • Psoriasis brought on or made worse by lithium drug therapy. Inositol doesn't seem to help psoriasis in people not taking lithium.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Alzheimer's disease.
  • Autism.
  • Depression. Limited research suggests that depressed people receiving inositol for 4 weeks may improve at first, but then get worse again after awhile. There was also some expectation that inositol might make antidepressant medications called SSRIs work better. But research so far hasn't shown this to be true.

Likely Ineffective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early studies suggest inositol might not help improve ADHD symptoms.
  • Cancer.
  • Hair growth.
  • Problems metabolizing fat.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate inositol for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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