Inositol in the supplement industry usually refers to one of the nine possible stereoisomers of the chemical compound, which is myo-Inositol.
Stereoisomers are molecules that only differ in the structural arrangement of their constituent atoms, rather than any difference in chemical make-up.
As such, myo-Inositol consists of a carbon ring with 6 hydroxyl groups attached to it.
It acts like a vitamin in that it is vital to the body’s functioning, but a deficiency of it will not result in a diseased condition, unlike the essential vitamins and minerals.
Myo-Inositol is present in some food groups, most notably citrus fruits and whole grains, but it can be supplemented for additional benefits.
It has been associated with decreased anxiety, panic attacks, depression and OCD. It may improve cholesterol and blood sugar profiles.
Perhaps its most potent effect is an increase in fertility for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which amongst other things can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
Myo-Inositol can come in the form of soft gels or powder. Both require relatively high doses to be effective but the softgel requirement by weight is much more manageable. We’ll discuss this further in the dosage and usage sections.
Inositol for Reducing Symptoms of PCOS and Improving Fertility in Women
Lots of studies show a notable increase in fertility rates in women who suffer from PCOS. One study involving nearly 300 patients, even low doses were proven to be effective.
Other symptoms of PCOS, such as acne, weight gain, insulin desensitivity, cholesterol imbalances and metabolic syndrome can be alleviated through supplementation.
Due to the majority of research into myo-inositol being targeted at PCOS, it can’t be assumed that weight loss, acne reduction benefits etc. extend to people who don’t suffer from it.
As the symptoms are direct results of PCOS, it stands to reason that they are reduced when the condition itself is reduced.
Inositol for Reducing Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression and OCD
Studies looking at the relationship between anxiety and panic disorders with myo-inositol show a notable decrease in symptoms and to a lesser degree, depression and OCD.
The doses tend to be high in these studies though, and capsule supplements with a token hundred milligrams as part of a larger formula are not going to cut it, at least not for the anti-anxiety effects.
One study showed reductions in depression associated with PMS symptoms, and the dosage here was much much less than those in most studies.Did You Know: Inositol can help women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome get pregnant. It can also help reduce anxiety, stress, depression and OCD.Click To Tweet
How To Use Inositol
Firstly, we are calling it “Inositol” but the industry standard is myo-Inositol, one of the compound’s 9 stereoisomers.
The softgel form of it is more about three times more potent, gram for gram, than the powdered form, so we recommend using a softgel inositol supplement for better management.
The dosage you take should depend on the reason for taking it.
Doses from 200mg all the way up to 4000mg of inositol have been successful in the intervention studies for PCOS, but the higher end of that range is acknowledged as being more powerful.
Remember however that you can take about a third of that if you use softgels. So 1.3 grams (1300mg) would be the upper end of that amount.
For the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), reduced stress, depression and OCD benefits, it’s fairly clear that high doses, in the region of 15 grams (15,000mg), are necessary.
It’s a lot of product to take in a day, and the cost of using that might be inhibitive especially considering it needs to be taken chronically, rather than in acute as-needed doses.
There may be better solutions for you in the adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola if you are looking for an anti-anxiety supplement.
Inositol Side Effects
It’s remarkably safe in high doses. Above 12 grams there are some cases of mild gastrointestinal side effects.
It definitely works for the conditions we’ve discussed above. For women suffering from PCOS, it’s clearly one of the must-haves, and it works in manageable doses.
For people suffering from anxiety, stress, depression and OCD, the optimal doses might be too high to manage from a financial point of view. Still, experimenting with some well-dosed softgel supplements for a month or two would not hurt, and could be helpful.
The safety profile is strong so there are no real concerns with respect to side effects. Just watch the really high doses above 12 grams because they might upset the stomach.