- What other names is Inositol known by?
- What is Inositol?
- How does Inositol work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Inositol.
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.
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...
- Alzheimer's disease.
- 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...
- Nerve problems caused by diabetes.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Early studies suggest inositol might not help improve ADHD symptoms.
- Hair growth.
- Problems metabolizing fat.
- High cholesterol.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
- Other conditions.
Inositol might balance certain chemicals in the body to possibly help with conditions such as panic disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Inositol is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in the hospital for premature infants with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of inositol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bipolar disorder: There is some concern that taking too much inositol might make bipolar disorder worse. There is a report of a man with controlled bipolar disorder being hospitalized with extreme agitation and impulsiveness (mania) after drinking several cans of an energy drink containing inositol, caffeine, taurine, and other ingredients (Red Bull Energy Drink) over a period of 4 days. It is not known if this is related to inositol, caffeine, taurine, a different ingredient, or a combination of the ingredients.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For panic disorder: 12 to 18 grams per day.
- For obsessive-compulsive disorder: inositol 18 grams per day.
- For treating symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome: D-chiro-inositol 1200 mg per day.
- For treating lithium-related psoriasis: 6 grams daily.
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).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Agranoff BW, Fisher SK. Inositol, lithium, and the brain. Psychopharmacol Bull 2001;35:5-18. View abstract.
Allan SJ, Kavanagh GM, Herd RM, Savin JA. The effect of inositol supplements on the psoriasis of patients taking lithium: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 2004;150:966-9. View abstract.
Barak Y, Levine J, Glasman A, et al. Inositol treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a double blind, cross-over placebo controlled trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1996;20:729-35. View abstract.
Benjamin J, Agam G, Levine J, et al. Inositol treatment in psychiatry. Psychopharmacol Bull 1995;31:167-75.. View abstract.
Benjamin J, Levine J, Fux M, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of inositol treatment for panic disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:1084-6. View abstract.
Colodny L, Hoffman RL. Inositol--clinical applications for exogenous use. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:432-47. View abstract.
Fux M, Levine J, Aviv A, Belmaker RH. Inositol treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:1219-21. View abstract.
Goodman GA, Rall TW, Nies AS, Taylor P. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed.
Gregersen G, Bertelsen B, Harbo H, et al. Oral supplementation of myoinositol: effects on peripheral nerve function in human diabetics and on the concentration in plasma, erythrocytes, urine and muscle tissue in human diabetics and normals. Acta Neurol Scand 1983;67:164-72. View abstract.
Gregersen G, Borsting H, Theil P, Servo C. Myoinositol and function of peripheral nerves in human diabetics. A controlled clinical trial. Acta Neurol Scand 1978;58:241-8. View abstract.
Hallman M, et al. Inositol supplementation in premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome. N Engl J Med 1992;326:1233-9. View abstract.
Hallman M, Pohjavuori M, Bry K. Inositol supplementation in respiratory distress syndrome. Lung 1990;168:877-82. View abstract.
Harwood AJ. Lithium and bipolar mood disorder: the inositol-depletion hypothesis revisited. Mol Psychiatry 2005;10:117-26. View abstract.
Levine J, Aviram A, Holan A, et al. Inositol treatment of autism. J Neural Transm 1997;104:307-10. View abstract.
Levine J, Barak Y, Gonzalves M, et al. Double-blind, controlled trial of inositol treatment of depression. Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:792-4. View abstract.
Levine J, Barak Y, Kofman O, Belmaker RH. Follow-up and relapse analysis of an inositol study of depression. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci 1995;32:14-21. View abstract.
Levine J, Goldberger I, Rapaport A, et al. CSF inositol in schizophrenia and high-dose inositol treatment of schizophrenia. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 1994;4:487-90. View abstract.
Levine J, Mishori A, Susnosky M, et al. Combination of inositol and serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the treatment of depression. Biol Psychiatry 1999;45:270-3. View abstract.
Levine J. Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 1997;7:147-55. View abstract.
Machado-Vieira R, Viale CI, Kapczinski F. Mania associated with an energy drink: the possible role of caffeine, taurine, and inositol. Can J Psychiatry 2001;46:454-5. View abstract.
Nemets B, Mishory A, Levine J, Belmaker RH. Inositol addition does not improve depression in SSRI treatment failures. J Neural Transm 1999;106:795-8. View abstract.
Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, et al. Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J Med 1999;340:1314-20. View abstract.
Nomenclature of Cyclitols. IUPAC Commission on the Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry (CNOC) and IUPAC-IUB Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (CBN). Available at: http://www.chem.qmw.ac.uk/iupac/cyclitol/ (Accessed 23 January 2004).
Palatnik A, Frolov K, Fux M, Benjamin J. Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2001;21:335-9.. View abstract.
Salway JG, Whitehead L, Finnegan JA. Effect of myo-inositol on peripheral-nerve function in diabetes. Lancet 1978;2:1282-4. View abstract.
Shaldubina A, Stahl Z, Furszpan M, et al. Inositol deficiency diet and lithium effects. Bipolar Disord 2006;8:152-9. View abstract.
Shaltiel G, Shamir A, Shapiro J, et al. Valproate decreases inositol biosynthesis. Biol Psychiatry 2004;56:868-74. View abstract.
Souza FG, Mander AJ, Foggo M, et al. The effects of lithium discontinuation and the non-effect of oral inositol upon thyroid hormones and cortisol in patients with bipolar affective disorder. J Affect Disord 1991;22:165-70. View abstract.
Williams RS, Cheng L, Mudge AW, Harwood AJ. A common mechanism of action for three mood-stabilizing drugs. Nature 2002;417:292-5. View abstract.