5 Proven Health Benefits of Inositol

Inositol, also called myo-inositol or vitamin B8, is a carbohydrate that serves many important functions in the body. This molecule occurs in various forms, all of which are structurally similar to blood glucose. It occurs naturally in many foods, such as beans, grains, fruits, and nuts. The body can also obtain this compound from supplements.

The amount of inositol consumed daily depends on the type of foods [1] you eat. You may be consuming as little as one gram or as high as a couple of grams. Luckily, consumption of this compound has little to no side effects, even when given as a dietary supplement. Most studies on the benefits of inositol have used between 2 [2] to 18 grams daily [3]. Mild side effects have been reported in concentrations as high as 12 to 18 grams. These side effects are easily mitigated by reducing [4] the dose used.

Research suggests that consumption of this molecule, whether through food or as dietary supplements, has numerous health benefits. It is known to help in the treatment of a variety of health conditions, including anxiety and infertility. This article will discuss five proven health benefits of inositol.

Help Reduce Anxiety

The use of this compound in the treatment of anxiety is one of its most well-known functions. Inositol helps reduce anxiety by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are molecules in the brain responsible for relaying information.

Inositol particularly affects serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that helps in regulating mood and behavior. This neurotransmitter is involved in sleep, depression, anxiety, and memory.

Many studies have examined the potency of inositol supplements in the treatment of various types of anxiety disorders.  These disorders range from panic disorders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The results have been promising.

Several studies have found that inositol can help reduce the frequency of panic attacks seen in people with panic disorders. A study with 20 participants [5] found that daily consumption of 18 grams of inositol cut the number of weekly panic attacks by 4. This number is almost twice that seen in people using anxiety medication.

Studies in people with OCD [6] have also shown potential. Daily treatments with 18 grams of inositol have yielded better results than placebos. These positive results have not been reflected [7] in people who suffer from PTSD.