Inositol is a naturally occurring molecule that is sometimes used in dietary supplements. These supplements are often claimed to be useful for treating polycystic ovary syndrome, depression, panic disorder, and other conditions. However, there is currently not enough scientific evidence to prove that they are indeed effective (and safe) for these uses. Potential side effects of inositol supplements include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.
What Is Inositol?
Inositol is a naturally occurring molecule found throughout the human body. It is found in many foods and is not considered to be a vitamin (since the body can make its own). It is also used as an ingredient in dietary supplements, sometimes claimed to be helpful for the following conditions:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Hair loss
- High cholesterol.
These are just some of the reported uses of the supplement.
(Click Inositol Benefits for more information on what it is used for, including additional uses.)
How Does Inositol Work?
Inositol is a molecule that is an important structural component of cell membranes and molecules that serve as messengers within the body. It is not known how it might work for various conditions. It is possible that certain medical conditions may be associated with lower-than-normal levels of inositol, and supplements could help boost levels in the body.
Is It Effective?
Early evidence suggests that it may be useful for several conditions, although much more research is necessary before any definite conclusions can be made.
(Click Does Inositol Work? for more information.)