Inositol is part of the vitamin B-complex.
It is required for proper formation of cell membranes.
Where is it found?
Nuts, beans, wheat and wheat bran, cantaloupe, and oranges are excellent sources of
inositol. Most dietary inositol is in the form of
Inositol has been used in
connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient?
Clear deficiency of inositol has not been reported, although people with diabetes have increased excretion and may benefit from
How much is usually taken?
Most people do not need to take inositol. In addition, the small amounts commonly found in
multivitamin supplements are probably
unnecessary and ineffective. Doctors sometimes suggest 500 mg twice per day. For depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder,
12–18 grams per day has been shown to be effective in double-blind trials.1
2 3 4
(To view, roll mouse over the "References" heading; to hide, click on the heading)
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Toxicity has not been reported, although people with chronic renal failure show elevated
levels and should not take inositol, except under medical supervision.
Large amounts of phytate, the common
dietary form of inositol, reduce the absorption of calcium,
iron, and zinc. However, supplemental
inositol does not have this effect.
One review article suggested that inositol may stimulate uterine contractions.5
While no research has demonstrated that inositol actually has this effect, women who are or
could become pregnant should consult a doctor
before taking inositol.
Are there any drug
Certain medicines may interact with inositol. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.
1. Levine J, Barak Y, Gonzalves M, et al. Double-blind, controlled trial
of inositol treatment of depression. Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:792–4.
2. Levine J, Barak Y, Kofman O, Belmaker RH. Follow-up and relapse
analysis of an inositol study of depression. Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci
3. Benjamin J, Levine J, Fux M, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled,
crossover trial of inositol treatment for panic disorder. Am J Psychiatry
4. Fux M, Levine J, Aviv A, Belmaker RH. Inositol treatment of
obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:1219–21.
5. Colodny L, Hoffman RL. Inositol—Clinical applications for
exogenous use. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:432–47.
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It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience,
or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur
in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over
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