Does Inositol Work?
There are many claimed uses of inositol supplements, but does inositol work? Early studies suggest that the dietary supplement may be beneficial for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, psoriasis related to lithium treatment, and polycystic ovary syndrome. However, much more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of inositol for these uses.
Inositol is a naturally occurring molecule found throughout the human body. Although the body can make its own inositol (and inositol is found in many foods), inositol is also available in dietary supplements. Such supplements are often claimed to work for many different conditions. While some of these claims have some scientific evidence in their favor, many have no scientific basis whatsoever.
Inositol has been studied for several uses. One study suggests that inositol can help treat psoriasis related to lithium treatment, although other studies fail to show any benefit of inositol for other lithium side effects. Early research suggests that inositol may work for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder.
There is also some evidence that one particular form of inositol (d-chiro-inositol) may be useful for treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), perhaps lowering testosterone levels and improving blood pressure and triglyceride levels in women with this disorder. This particular form of inositol may also help to stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS.
Inositol (given by IV) has been shown to be useful for treating respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.
There is not enough evidence to recommend inositol for any of the following uses:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Hair loss
- High cholesterol
- Nerve problems due to diabetes (diabetic neuropathy)