The Benefits of Inositol for PCOS
What is Inositol
Inositol is a Pseudovitamin. Experiments in the 1940's classified it as a B Vitamin, although there is no longer evidence for inositol to be categorized as belonging to the B-complex family, as our body can make it's own in the kidneys.
Inositol is a naturally occurring compound found in most foods, but the highest levels are found in whole grains and citrus fruits.
There are nine forms of Inositol, called stereoisomers, and the most common form is Myo-Inositol. However, both MYO and D-Chiro are the two forms which have been well researched with regards to PCOS.
Inositol is a lipotropic agent, which means that it helps your body get rid of fats in the blood and organs.
PCOS and Insulin
When we eat food, our blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream. The role of the hormone insulin is to balance out blood sugar levels and keep them in a normal range. Insulin, therefore tells the cells of your body whether to burn the sugar for energy or store it as fat. As your blood sugar levels begin to decrease so does your insulin. However, women with PCOS often suffer from insulin resistance. Which therefore means that your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, which can result in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Inositol: Secondary Messengers
Myo-inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol are crucial in insulin signaling. Inositol is described as a 'secondary messenger' and has the ability create an insulin-like effect on metabolic enzymes. Research has identified that inositol (either in the isoform d-chiro inositol or myoinositol) can improve insulin sensitivity and ovulatory function in women who suffer from PCOS. Women with PCOS may have a defect in "secondary messengers" resulting in insulin resistance.
Our bodies are supposed to convert inositol from our food to MYO and DCI. Although, research suggests that women with PCOS struggle to convert food into MYO or DCI, or it may be we excrete too much DCI and are unable to replace it quickly enough.
Inositol and Fertility
An observational study of 3602 infertile women using 2 × 2000 mg myoinositol + 2 × 200 μg folic acid per day for 2-3 months showed 70% of patients restored ovulation and 545 pregnancies were obtained.
There have been many studies which have identified the benefits of combining both MYO and folic acid. Research has found that 72% PCOS patients who combined both MYO and folic acid 2 g twice a day for 6 months were able to maintain normal ovulatory activity, with singleton pregnancy rate of 40%
Kamenov et al., studied 50 anovulatory PCOS patients with insulin resistance were given MYO for three spontaneous cycles. The results showed that 61.7% women ovulated and 37.9% became pregnant.
Inositol, Metabolic and Hormonal Effects
Patients in Constantino et al. double-blind placebo trial, were given 4g of myoinositol for 16 weeks. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, and insulin values after a 75 mg oral glucose tolerance test. Furthermore, Corrado et al, also found
Myoinositol can improve insulin resistance in patients with gestational diabetes.
Moreover, further improvements were identified in relation to hormone levels. The hormonal values showed a significant decrease of the total and free testosterone serum levels as well as a significant rise in progesterone levels, a marker of ovulation.
Inositol and Metformin
Raffone et al. compared the administration of myoinositol (2 × 2000 g + 200 μg per day) and the administration of metformin (1500 mg per day) in women with a PCOS. Results show the group who took myoinositol had a greater pregnancy success rate than the metformin group.
The research indicates that inositol is a safe and effective supplement for women suffering from PCOS. Inositol improves fertility, metabolic parameters and reduces androgen levels, which in turn helps with acne or hirsutism.
http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-12/inositol-and-polycystic-ovarian-syndrome. 6(12). Accessed 10 January 2017.Inositol and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Natural Medicine Journal. Available from:
Baillargeon JP, Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Ostlund RE Jr, Apridonidze T, Iuorno MJ, Nestler JE. (2006). Altered D-chiro-inositol urinary clearance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16443877 . 29(2):300-5. Accessed 10 January 2017.
Corrado F, D'Anna R, Di Vieste G, Giordano D, Pintaudi B, Santamaria A, Di Benedetto A. (2011).The effect of myoinositol supplementation on insulin resistance in patients with gestational diabetes. Diabet Med. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21414183 . 28(8), 972-5. Accessed 11 January 2017.
Costantino, D. Minozzi, G, Minozzi, F, Guaraldi, C. (2009).Metabolic and hormonal effects of myo-inositol in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a double-blind trial. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. Available from: http://www.europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/604.pdf .13: 105-110. Accessed 12 January 2017.
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