Inositol is produced by the body. However, it is also inherent in different fruits such as cantaloupes and citrus fruits, grains, rice bran, and beans. Despite being called Vitamin B8, it is not a vitamin but a kind of sugar with various essential functions. Inositol aids in giving structure to the cells and affects the functioning of the chemical messengers in the brain and neurotransmitters that transmit nerve impulses. It also helps the liver process fat and sustains the muscles and nerves working. Aside from the functions stated of this sugar to the body, it also provides three major benefits- which are listed down below.
Fights off and Treats Cancer
A study dated December 2011 published in the Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, found that phytic acid from the rice bran, which is a good source of Inositol, inhibited cancer cell growth. Additionally, according to the International Journal of Molecular Science dated December 2013, inositol hexaphosphate from rice bran eradicated colorectal cancer cells.
One study that involved humans was published in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research in February 2010. The researchers discovered that women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer received relief from the combination of inositol and inositol hexaphosphate.
Mental Health Benefits
Inositol helps balance serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates a person's mood. Because of this, researchers have looked into and studied the potential of inositol to cure psychological disorders. Remarkably people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and compulsive disorders were found to have lower levels of inositol in their brain. According to New York University, studies, however, have not shown consistent results as sometimes it shows a positive effect while on the other hand also produces results with no impact.
Published in the January 2014 issue of the Human Psychopharmacology, Inositol displayed superior usefulness for depression associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. On the other hand, no significant improvement was seen to improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Though more research is needed, Inositol shows considerable potential in the treatment of mental health disorders.
Alleviate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
A hormonal imbalance in women, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or more commonly known as PCOS, is the increased production of male hormones. Women suffering from this imbalance experience increase in weight, irregular menstrual cycles, cysts in the ovaries and infertility. They are also said to have high levels of insulin in their blood.
So how does inositol alleviate PCOS? Based on several types of research inositol help by increasing the frequency of ovulation and weight loss. According to the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences May 2012 issue, the go-to treatment for overweight women with PCOS should be the combination of myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.
There are still other potential benefits that the body can get from inositol despite only discussing three in this article. Inositol seems safe for most people and may only cause minute if any side effects. With these findings, taking a supplement may prove to be beneficial to a person's health.