Published: 10/18/2014 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
Inositol is considered as part of the vitamin B complex, it is also known as Vitamin B8. The inositol works together with choline, which is an essential component in cellular membranes. It is present in the tissues of all living beings, with the highest concentrations found in the heart and the brain.
It is not an essential dietary nutrient, but consuming it could greatly improve certain liver disorders, as well as treating depression and diabetes. It also helps in absorbing fats, which is why it is recommended for obese people or athletes.
General health benefits of inositol production
- One of its primary functions in the body is to collaborate with the formation of lecithin, a fat transporter that travels from the liver to each cell. It is very important in helping reduce harmful blood cholesterol levels.
- Necessary for the nervous system’s proper functioning and maintenance (the brain) and muscles.
- Helps fight depressive states. It has been proven that depressed persons have much lower inositol levels in their spinal fluid, than an individual that is not depressed. Inositol takes part in serotonin’s effect, an important neurotransmitter for fighting depressive states, and even anxiety.
- It has been studied to treat bipolar disorder and other nervous system conditions, like panic attacks, bulimia, anorexia, and obsessive compulsive disorders, although this still lacks concrete evidence. Other possible health uses could include Alheimer’s treatment, attention deficit disorder, and hyperactivity.
- Phytic acid (other name for inositol) has been proven to have an important anti-carcinogenic effect. This could be one of the reasons why a diet rich in vegetables and fiber has a protective effect against cancer.
- When combined with choline, it is a fundamental component for metabolizing fats, promoting their mobility and accelerating combustion, burning unnecessary fats. They produce energy.
- Forms part of the body’s cell tissues. In animals it forms part of phospholipids, and in plants, phytic acid, combining iron and calcium into an insoluble complex that is difficult to absorb.
What foods contain inositol?
It is generally found as fiber under the name of phytic acid (inositol phosphate). Phytic acid inositol is liberated due to certain bacterial intestine actions caused by eating certain foods. A few of those foods are:
- Fresh vegetables like alfalfa, celery, carrots, spinach, broccoli, beansprouts, etc.
- Citrus fruits like lemon, orange, mandarin, limes, grapefruit, etc. Cantaloupe and papaya also produce it.
- Whole grains like oats, wheat, amaranth, etc.
- Legumes (without cooking them too much): lentils, green beans, beans, etc.
- Walnuts and almonds
- Seeds like pumpkin, canary, sesame, etc.
- Dietary supplements that combine it with choline.
- Brewer’s yeast
- Sugar cane molasses
- Raisins and dried fruit
How much inositol is recommendable for consumption?
Enough inositol for one person can be consumed with a varied diet including the previously mentioned foods. If you want to use inositol for medicinal purposes, follow this method:
- To treat liver conditions: between 100 and 500 mg daily.
- To treat depression, panic, and anxiety: approximately 12000 mg daily
- To treat diabetes: between 1000 and 2000 mg daily
- To lose weight or for athletes: 1000 mg daily.
What happens if I have low levels?
Currently, there aren’t any specific symptoms, although we do know that low inositol levels could disrupt the movement of fats from liver tissue, which could cause an accumulation of fat tissues in the liver. This could cause the most severe liver condition known today, called cirrhosis.
A little bit more about…
In order to keep inositol levels good in the body, we recommend drinking fresh vegetable juice with brewer’s yeast or spirulina seaweed. This is also good for children and youth that are growing. Yo can buy inositol on-line.
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