It was classified as a member of the B vitamins, Bh. However, because it is produced by the human body from glucose, it is not an essential nutrient and therefore not a true vitamin. But in times of stress it may not be enough for the ideal body function. Greater amounts do help some medical issues.
Inositol and some of its metabolites function as the basis for a number of signaling and secondary messenger molecules. They are involved in a number of biological processes, including getting the stimulated insulin receptor to turn the nucleus on, gene expression, serotonin modulation and nerve conduction. Also inositol is used as building blocks of our cellular membrane, regulating intracellular calcium, and as a lipotropic.
As a lipotropic, it mobilizes fat to include cholesterol. Here it is potentiated by choline. We have used it in our weight loss patients with some success. It also rids the liver of excessive fat (NASH-NonAlcoholic SteatoHepatosis) which is almost becoming an epidemic due to our obesity. Because of fat mobilization and it’s insulin potentiating effect it has been clinically used with PCOS (PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome) effectively. Some preliminary results of studies on high dose inositol supplements show promising results for people suffering from pychiatric problems such as bulimia, panic disorder, OCD, and depression. It also helps directly (nerve improvement) and indirectly (better diabetic control) on diabetic neuropathy and other peripheral neuropathies.
Inositol has been used to decrease lithium toxicity and to strengthen hair, helping it to retain moisture. It is taken orally and is an ingredient in some shampoo formulas. There is no RDA on Inositol, but an extra 1 gram a day may be prudent. To treat the conditions noted above, 12 to 18 grams are used. It takes 3 to 4 weeks to see results. It is available in 500 mg and 1000 mg caps as well as a powder in which 1 teaspoon is 4 grams. The price is variable and may be affected by the fact that it is often used to “cut” cocaine.