Considered a pseudovitamin because it can be synthesized in the body, inositol (formally called myo-inositol) is a mood-enhancing nutrient that enables neurotransmitters in the brain to perform their vital functions in an optimal manner. When administered in supplement form, inositol has found uses in treating a variety of maladies such as insomnia, anxiety, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), obsessive-compulsive disorder, psoriasis, and depression.
Structurally similar to glucose, inositol is added to energy drinks because of its enhanced ability to convert nutrients into energy. Inositol is believed to exist in the normal diet at levels of 900 mg per every ingested 2500 kcal. Food sources of inositol include:
• Citrus Fruits
• Milk Products
• Whole Grains
• Meat and Fish
THE IMPORTANCE OF INOSITOL
Inositol is typically concentrated in the heart and brain. Important neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), and acetylcholine rely on inositol to effectively relay messages among billions of brain cells.
Neurotransmitters play key roles in facilitating our sleeping ability, managing moods, handling stress, remembering and learning, and dealing with cravings and addictions.
Having insufficient amounts of inositol in the diet is analogous to the type of problem you would face if you tried to use your computer to log onto the Internet or send emails when your router is either unplugged or switched in the ‘Off’ position. Without access to inositol, neurotransmitters would have difficulty communicating with the body and completing their tasks.
EFFECT OF SPECIFIC NEUROTRANSMITTERS ON OUR HEALTH
Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contraction and stimulates the excretion of certain hormones. The lack of acetylcholine in specific regions of the brain may be a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dopamine is involved in controlling movement and posture, and the loss of dopamine in certain parts of the brain can trigger the muscle rigidity associated with Parkinson’s disease.
GABA regulates anxiety levels and contributes to motor control, vision, and many other cortical functions. By communicating with the GABA receptors in the brain, inositol can help us remain calm in stressful situations.
Serotonin helps regulate body temperature, mood, appetite, and pain. When serotonin levels are low, we can experience sleep difficulties. Depression, suicidal thoughts, impulsive behavior, and aggressiveness all appear to involve serotonin imbalances.
Finally, norepinephrine is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal medulla that plays an influential role in mood disorders such as manic depression. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine is released during the flight/fight response, causing blood vessels to contract and the heart rate to increase.
WHAT AILMENTS RESPOND BEST TO INOSITOL SUPPLEMENTS?
Inositol supplements are typically marketed as a general health remedy for women. Inositol is prescribed to promote female fertility and treat PCOS, which is an endocrine system disorder where the hormones of women of reproductive age are out of balance and can cause problems with their periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. While inositol also holds promise for treating panic attacks, binge eating disorders, and anxiety, its anti-depressant effects seem to only work in females, with males receiving little or no benefit. In addition, inositol has proven to be ineffective for treating PTSD, schizophrenia, and autism.
SUGGESTED DOSAGE AND KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS
• For panic disorder: 12 to 18 grams per day.
• For obsessive-compulsive disorder: 18 grams per day.
• For treating PCOS symptoms: D-chiro-inositol 1200 mg per day.
• For treating lithium-related psoriasis: 6 grams daily.
While inositol supplements are considered safe to ingest, please be advised that taking high dosages (usually in the 12-18g range) may trigger mild gastrointestinal distress. Low doses (2-4g) usually suffice for fertility and insulin-sensitizing effects.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The Brain From Top To Bottom
The Brain From Top To Bottom
“Epinephrine and Norepinephrine,” Boundless Biology, May 26, 2016.