Inositol – What Is It?
It 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.
It 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.
It 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 Health Benefits
Antiplatelet activity of inositol
Platelet adhesion to endothelial cells, their aggregation and subsequent release of platelet-derived mediators are key steps in the formation of blood clots and hardening of the arteries. The effect of inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) on platelet aggregation and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (cells’ energy storage) release were simultaneously measured in whole blood obtained from 10 healthy volunteers.
The platelets were activated with adenosine diphosphate (ADP), collagen, or thrombin in the presence or absence of IP6. Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) significantly inhibited platelet aggregation (blood clots) in a dose-response manner which were drug-induced. IP6 strongly and significantly reduced drug- induced ATP release for collagen and for thrombin. The results demonstrate that IP6 effectively inhibits human platelet aggregation in vitro, suggesting its potential in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.
-Life Extension Foundation
Protection against high cholesterol
Choline is also an enormously important nutrient because it helps prevent the buildup of cholesterol. It synergizes with inositol in its function as a lipotropic-a compound that emulsifies fat, keeping it in liquid suspension. As long as cholesterol is emulsified, it is not likely to settle on artery walls or in the gallbladder. In addition, phosphatidyl choline actually helps transport cholesterol and fats so they can be used by the body, or else excreted. If you are watching your cholesterol, you may also be engaging in a serious exercise program.
Beware: strenuous exercise such as marathon running may seriously lower the levels of choline. A study of the Boston marathon runners found as much as a 40% decrease in some runners. The reason for this might be the need for choline in the metabolism of fats, which is increased during exercise.
-Life Extension Foundation
Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial of Inositol Treatment for Panic Disorder
Jonathan Benjamin, M.D., Joseph Levine, M.D., M.Sc., Mendel Fux, M.D., Alex Aviv, M.D., Daniel Levy, M.D., and R.H. Belmaker, M.D.
OBJECTIVE: Because they found in an earlier study that inositol, an important intracellular second-messenger precursor, was effective against depression in open and double-blind trials, the authors studied its effectiveness against panic disorder.
METHOD: Twenty-one patients with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia completed a double-blind, placebo controlled 4-week, random-assignment crossover treatment trial of 12 g/day of inositol.
RESULTS: The frequency and severity of panic attacks and the severity of agoraphobia declined significantly more after supplementation than after placebo administration. Side effects were minimal.
CONCLUSIONS: The authors conclude that inositol’s efficacy, the absence of significant side effects, and the fact that it is a natural component of the human diet make it a potentially attractive therapeutic for panic disorder. (Am J Psychiatry 1995; 152:1084-1086)
Inositols many benefits
Inositol works closely with choline as one of the primary components of the cell membrane. It is needed for growth and survival of cells in bone marrow, eye membranes, and the intestines.
It appears to be a precursor of the phosphoinosities (compounds that may be important in hormonal action) especially in the brain. Proper action of several brain neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and serotonin, require inositol.
It encourages hair growth and can help prevent baldness. Like choline, inositol helps to move fat out of the liver, and helps prevent serious liver disorders, as well as disorders involving high cholesterol.
Serotonin and acetylcholine, two neurotransmitters, both depend upon inositol, and supplementation can therefore assist in the reduction of depression and panic attacks. A reduction in brain inositol levels may induce depression as evidenced by low inositol levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with depression. In a 1-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 28 patients with depression, inositol demonstrated therapeutic results similar to tricyclic antidepressants without the side-effects. Additional studies have revealed that inositol supplementation is an effective treatment in panic and obsessive compulsive disorders.
Loss of inositol from nerve cells is the primary reason for diabetic neuropathy, so inositol supplementation can assist in improving this condition.
It also has a prominent calming effect on the central nervous system, so it may be helpful to those with insomnia. Studies on brain waves have shown that it has an effect similar to that of librium or valium. It can gradually lower blood pressure, and can be helpful in cases of schizophrenia, hypoglycemia, and those with high serum copper and low serum zinc levels.
Intake of caffeine is known to deplete the bodies supply of inositol.
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