What does inositol do?
Inositol is part of the vitamin B-complex. It is required for proper formation of cell membranes.
Inositol affects nerve transmission and helps in transporting fats within the body. Inositol differs from inositol hexaniacinate, a form of vitamin B3.
Nuts, beans, wheat and wheat bran, cantaloupe, and oranges are excellent sources of inositol. Most dietary inositol is in the form of phytate.
Who is likely to be deficient of inositol?
Clear deficiency of inositol has not been reported, although people with diabetes have increased excretion and may benefit from inositol supplementation.
Most people do not need to take inositol. In addition, the small amounts commonly found in multivitamin supplements are probably unnecessary and ineffective. Doctors sometimes suggest 500 mg twice per day. For depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, 12–18 grams per day has been shown to be effective in double-blind trials.1 2 3 4
Toxicity has not been reported, although people with chronic renal failure show elevated levels and should not take inositol, except under medical supervision.
Large amounts of phytate, the common dietary form of inositol, reduce the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc. However, supplemental inositol does not have this effect.
One review article suggested that inositol may stimulate uterine contractions.5 While no research has demonstrated that inositol actually has this effect, women who are or could become pregnant should consult a doctor before taking inositol.
Are there any drug interactions?