Inositol is a sugar compound that helps your body respond to insulin (the hormone that helps you turn food into energy). It’s made naturally in the body and found in certain foods, and there are also Inositol supplements for people who could benefit from a higher dose. For example, 65 to 70% of those with the hormonal condition PCOS are insulin-resistant, so many doctors recommend Inositol to help them manage their symptoms. Read on to learn what to look for in an Inositol supplement, its benefits, and just how much you should take.
What is Inositol used for?
Inositol is mainly used to improve insulin sensitivity; it can help your cells respond to insulin to regulate blood-sugar levels. Because of this, it’s proven as an effective way to manage the symptoms that come along with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), from irregular periods to acne to facial hair growth. (Insulin resistance is a key characteristic and culprit behind the hormone imbalance.)
Inositol’s insulin-sensitizing effects can also help manage metabolic syndrome (a collection of conditions including high blood pressure and blood sugar, heart disease and diabetes) and gestational diabetes. Inositol can also have a calming effect on the central nervous system and is sometimes recommended for those with mental health diagnoses like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
What are the different types of Inositol?
There are nine different types of Inositol, but you’ll likely hear about two of them the most: Myo-Inositol (MI) and D-Chiro-Inositol (MCI).
- Myo-Inositol: The most bioavailable form of Inositol, MI is responsible for that insulin sensitivity needed to keep blood sugar levels in check, actively improving your body’s use of glucose, and increasing hormone sensitivity.
- D-Chiro-Inositol: DCI also affects insulin sensitivity and contributes to glucose storage (it’s a derivative of the more active, MI) and helps to reduce androgens, like testosterone.
You can find both forms in Bird&Be PCOS Support because studies have found that the two work best when paired together at a 40:1 ratio of Myo-Inositol to D-Chiro-Inositol to combat PCOS-related symptoms.
What are the benefits of Inositol?
One of the main benefits of Inositol is that it can help your cells respond to insulin, which can be a game-changer if your body struggles to do this on its own (hi, PCOS and metabolic syndrome). Through this, Inositol benefits can help manage insulin-resistant conditions, support fertility, and more:
- Improve insulin sensitivity for more stable blood-sugar levels
- Balance hormones to help manage PCOS symptoms (acne, facial hair, male-pattern baldness, etc.)
- Restore/regulate ovulation for those with PCOS
- Support egg quality—studies have shown higher clinical pregnancy rates in IVF patients who supplemented with Inositol
- Lower risk of metabolic syndrome
- Lower risk of gestational diabetes (if insulin-resistance was a pre-pregnancy concern)
- Relieve symptoms of depression and other mental health concerns
Although there may be benefits to those who don’t have insulin-resistance or mental health concerns, it’s best to chat with your doctor before adding it to your routine.
What are the side effects of Inositol?
Because Inositol is water-soluble (meaning it isn’t stored in the body) the chance of overdose is extremly low. At very high doses, side effects are mainly gas, bloating, diarrhea and nausea. In fertility treatment, the typical Inositol dose is 4 grams per day, and some studies have used up to 18 grams to treat anxiety with no side effects.
How much Inositol should you take?
There’s no official recommendation for Inositol for the general public, because unless medically indicated (because of a PCOS diagnosis, mental health concern or evidence of insulin-resistance), you likely don’t need to supplement. For those that should supplement, it’s really hard to get Inositol from diet alone, even in foods that have higher amounts (like whole grain bread, cantaloupe and citrus, and beans). For females with PCOS, the recommendation is 4 grams of Myo-Inositol daily, which has shown to help regulate ovulation after just 3 months, and the ratio of 40:1 of Myo-Inositol to D-Chiro-Inositol was shown to be most effective for PCOS-sufferers in restoring ovulation.
To make it easier to get this exact dose and ratio, Bird&Be’s PCOS Support comes in daily sachets with a combo of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol at the doc-recommended ratio of 40:1 (40 grams of Myo-Inositol and 100 milligrams of D-Chiro-Inositol). Studies show that these forms and amounts are ideal for treating the symptoms of PCOS, including regulating ovulation and periods, supporting egg maturation and quality, and improving insulin sensitivity. Like all of our supplements, PCOS Support is vegan and free of major allergens. Bonus: the taste-free powder is easy to mix into the glass of water (or green juice) that’s already part of your daily routine.