Inositol is a pseudovitamin and is found in many plants. It has a chemical composition similar to glucose and even shares the same chemical formula. Inositol is basically a carbohydrate and is found in oranges and cantaloupes. The main function of Inositol in the body is to help prevent fats from collecting in the liver. It also helps in providing energy and hence is used in various energy drinks since it converts nutrients into energy.
When taken as a medication, Inositol has many benefits as it is a very potent anxiolytic. It also helps in fighting depression. It promotes growth of hair. Insomnia is something which can be minimized by consumption of Inositol. This article gives a brief overview of some of the benefits and side effects of Inositol.
Benefits Of Inositol
Some of the benefits of Inositol are:
Insomnia: Insomnia is a disorder in which the affected individual is not able to sleep for countless nights. One of the main reasons for an individual not being able to sleep is because of over thinking and excessive stress. This feeling of stress and over thinking is related to the serotonin levels in the body. Insomnia is basically related to low levels of serotonin. This is where Inositol works very well. Inositol is beneficial in regulating serotonin levels in the brain and promotes a peaceful and restful sleep at night. In cases of increased stress and a negative frame of mind resulting in Insomnia this results due to abnormal functioning of the GABA receptors in the brain. Dysfunctional GABA receptors will cause an individual to have a negative mood, feeling of depression, and overly stressed resulting in the individual not being able to sleep. Inositol interacts with the GABA receptors such that in situations of high stress the individual is able to have a clear mind and deal with the situations with minimal stress which results in the individual having a restful sleep at night. The usual dosage for Inositol in cases of insomnia is 0.5 g to 2 g per month is good enough to get rid of insomnia. Inositol works best when taken a couple of hours before sleep.
Anxiety: Inositol also works as an excellent anxiolytic. It is believed to be perhaps the best anti-anxiety medication. Anxiety results due to abnormal functioning of the GABA receptors in the brain and a low level of serotonin. A decreased level of GABA receptors and serotonin makes an individual feel anxious. Inositol works by mimicking the function of GABA receptors and takes place of the dysfunctioning GABA receptors such that the levels are normalized and the individual feels more relaxed and free of anxiety.
It also helps in regulating serotonin levels which further reduces the anxiety and helps having an individual a calm state of mind. The dosage of Inositol for anxiety relief 2000 mg twice a day initially but can be increased up to 18000 mg for best relief.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Inositol is also very beneficial in treating OCD. This condition is also caused due to low levels of serotonin. Since Inositol regulates the level of serotonin to the levels required by the body thus it is a very good medication for OCD.
Hair Growth: Studies have linked Inositol deficiency to hair growth. An individual with depleted levels of Inositol tends to have hair fall. An individual can be Inositol deficient due to a diet which has foods poor in Inositol and vitamin B levels. Inositol is found in citrus fruits and vegetables. Thus an individual with a problem with hair fall may try increasing foods rich in vitamin B and Inositol like citrus fruits and vegetables to prevent hair fall.
Other than the benefits mentioned above, Inositol is also beneficial in cases of
- Treatment of certain types of cancer
- Weight loss
- Detoxification of liver
- Improving blood circulation
Side Effects Of Inositol
As Inositol is a naturally occurring substance thus it has very few if any side effects. There may be some side effects which may emerge when an individual uses it for the first time in the form of rashes and irritation but these goes away as the body gets used to the medication.
It is recommended that pregnant females do not take Inositol even though there is no concrete evidence of any side effects or interaction in pregnant females with Inositol.
Another side effect that can be sometimes seen with Inositol is nausea but this can be controlled by taking smaller dosages initially and then increasing the dosages as the body gets used to this medication. Other than this, there are no other known major side effects of Inositol.