Inositol is a six-carbon sugar alcohol and a naturally occurring isomer of glucose. Its importance for mental functioning is due to the key role that it plays in the phosphatidyl-inositol cycle. One of the two main ways that hormones and related molecules stimulate cellular activity is by acting on cell-surface receptors; then information arriving at the cell surface must be decoded into the internal messenger molecules (the “second messengers”) responsible for transmitting messages into the cell. The phosphatidyl inositol cycle serves as a second messenger system for several of the noradrenalin, serotonin and cholinergic receptors, receptors that have important effects on brain function.

It was found on autopsy that patients with affective disorders often had very low inositol levels in their brain. Abram Hoffer, MD commented years before that in general, if you are missing a nutrient for decades, you might need a much higher dose for the rest of your life to get back to normal.

Inositol is available from health food stores, should not be expensive and should be taken in powder form, because of the quantity needed to achieve clinical results. While it can be taken with or without food and is absorbed well, most doctors recommend it be taken with some food or juice. The amount found in the typical diet is approximately 1gm per day. This means it would be very difficult to achieve the levels needed by dietary means alone and supplementation is required.

The usual dose is 12 to 18gm per day. This dose usually must be taken for a minimum of three to four weeks in order to be effective. It may be taken as a single daily dose or in divided doses throughout the day. Feelings of well-being and reduced tension occurred at about six hours after a single dose.

Inositol does not seem to work with SSRI drugs synergistically. Using the two of them together is no better than using one or the other. Currently, it does not seem that a SSRI non-responder will see improvement with a inositol use.

The only side effect seen with inositol use has been loose stools in about one-quarter of those using it. As a very general recommendation, caution is advised for diabetics and anyone with severe kidney or liver disease.


Inositol can help with the following


Histapenia (Histamine Low)

Be alert for adverse side effects, should a low histamine (overmethylated) person with severe anxiety or panic symptoms be given inositol.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

One study showed that 18gm of inositol daily (2 tsp in juice 3 times daily) for 6 weeks significantly reduced OCD symptoms compared with placebo. At 3 weeks there were no significant effects of inositol. The mechanism may be that the desensitization of serotonin receptors is reversed by addition of dietary inositol. [Brain Res 631: pp.349- 51, 1993; American Journal of Psychiatry, September, 1996;153(9): pp.1219-1221]




Inositol works by regulating the action of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter, within the nerve cells.


Panic Attacks

Inositol has been found to be effective in treating panic disorder. Inositol works by regulating the action of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter, within the nerve cells. Its safety has been noted up to 20gm per day.



Organ Health  

Diabetes Type II

Diabetics over-excrete the vitamin inositol, and they therefore have a general shortage of this. It plays a role in the fat metabolism, and may protect nerve fibers from excess glucose.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

D-chiro-inositol, a relative of common inositol (a B vitamin), is found in small concentrations in the human body and in some foods. It is a compound that has been reported to affect the action of insulin.

There is evidence that the insulin resistance seen in women with PCOS is due in part to a deficiency of D-chiro-inositol or to a defect in its utilization in the tissues. If these abnormalities can be reversed by supplementation with D-chiro-inositol, then this compound might be beneficial for women with PCOS. To test that possibility, 44 obese women with PCOS were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, D-chiro-inositol (1,200 mg once a day) or placebo for eight weeks.

Supplementation with D-chiro-inositol resulted in an improvement in insulin resistance and a 55% reduction in testosterone levels compared to the placebo group. Significantly more women ovulated in the D-chiro-inositol group than in the placebo group (86% vs. 27%). D-chiro-inositol supplementation decreased testosterone levels and improved ovulatory function, presumably by enhancing the action of insulin. [Diabetes Care 2006;29: pp.300-305] [Engl J Med. 1999 Apr 29;340(17): pp.1314-20]

However, it is very difficult to find D-chiro inositol and even if you can find it, it can cost $145 for a 60-capsule bottle. It recently came to our attention that, is offering it at a significantly reduced rate, and anyone can contact them directly.

Pinitol (3-O-methyl- D-chiro-inositol) is an inositol compound with a chemical structure and biochemical actions similar to D-chiro-inositol. Unlike D-chiro inositol, pinitol is conveniently available as a nutritional supplement. But like D-chiro-inositol, pinitol is relatively expensive.


Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems



Usually considered part of the vitamin B complex. It is thought that along with choline, inositol is necessary for the formation of lecithin within the body. Involved in calcium mobilization.


A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.


Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.


A phenolic amine neurotransmitter (C10H12N2O) that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found especially in the brain, blood serum and gastric membranes of mammals. Considered essential for relaxation, sleep, and concentration.


(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.

Diabetes Mellitus

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

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