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Inositol

Overview

Inositol, sometimes referred to as Vitamin B8, is a water soluble fatty lipid that is required by the body for the formation of healthy cells. Inositol has been shown to be effective in treating some cases of depression, anxiety, OCD and other psychological disorders that respond to serotonin uptake inhibitors.

 

Among the reported benefits of inositol in clinical settings are a reduction in the need for pain medication when patients are given inositol, a reduction of edema in treatment of scald burns, and in relieving the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

 

According to an abstract published by Lisa Colodny, Pharm D. and Ronald L. Hoffman, M.D. about the clinical applications of inositol,

 

Inositol is now established as a significant mediator of calcium mobilization in the endoplasmic reticulum. Modifying this mobilization of calcium may be effective in treating some CNS disorders like Alzheimer's disease, depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and as an analgesic for pain control. Likewise, its use to alleviate lithium-induced adverse reactions is also promising.

 

What inositol  Does:

Inositol is a ‘second messenger’, triggering the release of calcium in cells. It also is involved in the transmission of messages between neural cells and the transport of fats within cells. It’s most important role seems to be in the central nervous system, where it serves to help transmit messages along neural pathways. Various studies have shown its efficacy in treating a number of psychological disorders that seem to have a chemical basis, including bulimia, OCD, depression and bipolar mood disorder. Inositol seems to be present in greater concentration in the cells in and around the central nervous system, including brain cells and retinal cells, and in other specialized cells such as bone marrow and intestinal cells. It is also found in high concentration in mother’s milk, leading to the possibility of a link to the immune system.

 

Because of its role in cell health and neurotransmission, inositol is considered an important nutrient, even though it is not technically a ‘vital’ nutrient or a vitamin.

 

Health Benefits of inositol:

Inositol has been used for some time in the treatment of several neurologically based disorders. These include:

·        Mild to moderate depression

 

Patients treated with supplements of inositol showed a definite improvement in several studies of depression.

 

·        Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

 

In several studies, patients suffering from OCD and related disorders showed relief of their symptoms when given supplements of inositol.

 

·        Panic attacks

 

Clinical evidence suggests that large doses of inositol reduces the number and severity of panic attacks.

 

Potential Indications for Use

  • Diabetes

Inositol has proven effective in alleviating the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, most likely because of its neurotransmitter properties.

  • Insomnia (anecdotal)

While there are no studies to support it, many medical professionals believe that because of its effects on serotonin reuptake levels, inositol can help alleviate insomnia. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support this benefit of inositol.

  • Alzheimer's Disease

Several clinical studies conducted on patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed improvement and delay in the onset of symptoms in those who were treated with inositol.

  • Bipolar mood disorder

Multiple studies confirm mild to moderate improvement of symptoms in those diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder who were given inositol daily.

  • Retinopathy of prematurity

At least one study linked higher levels of inositol in neonates with a decreased risk of retinopathy.

  • May reduce compulsions to overeat in those suffering form binge eating disorders and bulimia.

  

Possible Side Effects of inositol

 There are no reported side effects to the use of inositol, though it is not recommended for use by pregnant women.

 

Summary

Because of its beneficial effects on the central nervous system and its role in the development of healthy cells, many doctors recommend a multivitamin supplement that contains inositol. Inositol is recommended as a treatment for anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorders. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that inositol may be useful in treating other mood disorders and neuro-psychological disorders.

 

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