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Inositol

Inositol is a substance found in the membranes of all cells in the body. Myoinositol, one of its forms, is considered by some to be a member of the vitamin B complex, sometimes referred to as vitamin B8; however, it does not qualify as a vitamin in the strict sense because it contains no nitrogen and can be manufactured within the body.

Inositol is essential for secondary messengers in eukaryotic cells. It is required for proper functioning of the nervous system and the brain. Some research studies indicate that inositol may be beneficial in treating conditions such as anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Its role in insulin-signaling transduction has also shown promise in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Inositol additionally assists in transporting fats in the body and prevents the liver from accumulating too much fat.

Inositol deficiency symptoms include liver problems, anxiety attacks, memory loss, eczema, hair loss, high cholesterol, and various psychological disorders.

Inositol can be found in nuts, whole grains, citrus fruits, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, cantaloupe and legumes. Cantaloupe and citrus fruits (except lemons) have been found to contain extraordinary levels of myoinositol. The content of fresh foods is generally higher than that of canned or otherwise processed foods.

Health benefits of inositol

  • Used in treating liver problems
  • Essential for healthy brain and nervous system
  • Plays an important role in maintaining cell membranes
  • May be beneficial for people with eczema

 

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Principal Author: M. Ofiyeva
Date of Initial Publication: 07/05/2007
Article Last Updated: 03/10/2011