Inositol is a compound that exists in different forms, and each of them has a chemical structure similar to the sugar found in the blood: glucose.
Inositol plays a role in many body processes. Therefore, it has been widely studied for its potential health benefits.
Inositol supplements can help treat specific medical conditions, including certain anxiety and fertility disorders. They can also have other health benefits, including properties that can reduce depression.
What is Inositol?
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance naturally found in plants and animals. It can also be manufactured in the laboratory.
Inositol is traditionally used to treat nerve-related pain, panic attacks, hypercholesterolemia, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, hair loss, psoriasis, and the treatment of side effects of lithium medical treatment.
Inositol is also used to treat conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including the inability to ovulate, high blood pressure, triglycerides and too high testosterone levels.
The mode of action of inositol would come from its ability to balance certain chemical compounds in the body.
The Impact of Inositol on Serotonin
Inositol affects the processes involved in producing neurotransmitters, molecules responsible for relaying information in our brain.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter affected by inositol. This molecule plays many roles in our body, including an important influence on behaviour and mood.
Researchers have examined whether inositol supplements could improve symptoms associated with conditions affecting serotonin and the brain.
This includes anxiety disorders such as panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Several studies have shown that inositol may be able to reduce the number of attacks in people with panic attacks.
A study of 20 panic-attack sufferers found that 18 grams of inositol per day reduced weekly attacks by 4, more than the 2.4 grams per week seen in people on treatment.
Another study in people with OCD found that 18 grams of inositol per day improved symptoms than the placebo group.
Overall, inositol might benefit certain types of anxiety disorders, but further studies are needed to determine these effects.
Inositol, the messenger of neurotransmitters
The primary essential neurotransmitters for positive mood (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) depend on inositol to transmit chemical messages.
Just as you can’t browse your smartphone when there’s no network, neurotransmitters can’t perform their functions without inositol.
Neurotransmitters play a significant role in most aspects of our lives: mood, productivity, ability to manage stress, ability to learn and remember, sleep, cravings, addictions, and more.
The Impact of Inositol on Depression
Inositol is found in high concentrations in the brain, where it facilitates communication between neurons.
Because of its effects on neurotransmitters, inositol has been explored as a treatment for depression.
Some research has shown that taking 12 grams of inositol for four weeks can reduce the symptoms of depression compared to a placebo.
Another small study found that a dose of 6 grams per day improved depression in 9 of the 11 participants.
It is fundamental to understand that inositol levels are below average in people suffering from depression.
In one study, there was a significant improvement in the symptoms of depression even when patients ceded taking their antidepressants.
Inositol decreases mood swings, depression and anxiety associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (SPDD).
A meta-analysis of studies concluded that depressed patients, especially those with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMD), can benefit from inositol supplementation.
Mood disorders that respond positively to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants generally react well to inositol supplementation.
The last word
Synthesized by the human body from glucose, inositol is involved in many chemical processes in the brain. It can treat a wide range of mental health problems, including depression. Inositol levels in depressed people are significantly lower than average.
This dependence between inositol and the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin affects the onset of depression. Inositol may therefore prove to be an effective ingredient in treating this disorder.