Inositol is a carbohydrate that is found in the tissues of animals and plants. It was once called vitamin B8, but this name was dropped once scientists discovered that the carbohydrate is produced inside the human body and not obtained from food.
But even if your body is capable of making its own inositol, this does not mean you do not need to get more through supplements and certain foods. Inositol, like other nutrients, keeps the cardiovascular system healthy and helps in the prevention of numerous medical conditions, such as diabetes or cancer.
You can get inositol from organs (liver), meat, fish, eggs, citrus fruits, seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables. Some people prefer inositol supplements to make sure that they get a constant supply of this carbohydrate or to limit the intake of cholesterol and fat contained in the inositol-rich food sources.
Health benefits of inositol
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Lecithin is produced when inositol is combined with choline, a water soluble nutrient. Scientists believe that lecithin breaks down cholesterol and fat, keeping your arteries from getting clogged. Clog-free arteries mean a lower risk of heart disease and a blood pressure at normal levels.
- Eases Diabetes Complications
Diabetic neuropathy is a medical condition characterized by pain in the extremities and it’s caused by peripheral nerve damage. It is one of the side effects experienced by people who have diabetes. Experts believe that inositol can improve nerve function and relieve the symptoms associated with this illness.
- Helps Fend Off Constipation
One of the most important steps towards preventing constipation is to introduce fiber-rich foods in your diet. But eating inositol-rich foods has the same effects, because this carbohydrate helps normalize muscular contraction along the gastrointestinal tract.
- Beautiful Hair
Inositol supplements can make your hair beautiful, shiny and strong. Because it used to be a member of the B-complex family, inositol can also encourage hair growth.
- Promotes a Healthier Mind
People who suffer from panic attacks and anxiety can take advantage of inositol, which is an efficient and all-natural remedy for these problems. It also combats depression and reduces the symptoms of bulimia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Reduces mood swings associated with PMS and PMDD
Compared to men, women might benefit the most from inositol. It not only helps relieve depression, anxiety, mood swings and bulimia, but also symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
These disorders are basically caused by hormone imbalances and are characterized by menstrual irregularities, tendency to retain weight, mood swings and even infertility in the case of PCOS. Inositol normalizes the levels of insulin and testosterone and even promotes fertility.
Some people prefer to take inositol supplements, which usually contains myoinositol, the most abundant form of the substance. But for those who have to take between 6 and 18 grams daily, inositol capsules are not very efficient as they only contain about 500 mg of the substance. This means swallowing many pills. So the best option is inositol powder which can be mixed with water. It tastes slightly sweet, so it does not have to be mixed with sweeteners.