So what is inositol? In layman’s terms it is a simple carbohydrate that is essential for the production of glucose. It sometimes referred to as vitamin B8, one of the B complex vitamins that the body needs in small amounts daily to stay healthy. However it is not officially recognized as a vitamin, as it can be synthesized in the body by the intestinal bacteria. (So what if your intestinal flora/bacteria is all messed up from antibiotic use??) Inositol is present in all body tissues, with the highest concentrations in the brain and heart, and lens of the eye. Traditionally inositol was taken primarily by those with liver problems. Along with B vitamins like biotin and choline, it helps to reduce the aggregation of fats in the liver.
Forms and Sources of Inositol
There are several different forms of inositol, including inositol hexaphosphate (often referred to as “IP6”). Known to play a vital role in several cellular processes, inositol hexaphosphate also aids the body in the metabolism of certain minerals (including calcium). Inositol hexaphosphate is one of the most widely used forms of inositol. Rich inositol food sources · cereals with high bran content · lecithin · fruits (especially bananas), citrus fruit (except lemons) cantaloupes · green leafy vegetables. It is also found in · beans like red beans and kidney beans · brewer’s yeast · brown rice · cabbage · liver · unrefined molasses · nuts · oat flakes · raisins · wheat germ · whole grains.
How Inositol Benefits Health
People who are depressed have been found to have lower levels of inositol than normal. Inositol has been tested as a treatment for depression, and initial evidence is encouraging. In a small double-blind study those on the supplement who took 12 g of inositol daily for 4 weeks showed significant improvement compared to the placebo group.
There is no RDA for inositol, and the body can synthesize some. As a rough guide however, many nutritionists advise a daily consumption of 1,000 mg for adults.