Benefits of Inositol for PCOS
A healthy diet and lifestyle play important roles in managing PCOS. As a registered dietitian, I always take a “food first” approach. But the good news is that certain supplements can also play a role in managing PCOS naturally. Inositol is a supplement I recommend to the majority of my patients. Read on to learn about the benefits of inositol for PCOS. And stay tuned for a the chance to win a 3 month giveaway of this supplement! *Note: I did not receive payment for this post. However I am receiving 3 free months of Ovasitol for a giveaway. I do not sell Ovasitol nor do I receive any commission from people who buy it using my code.
What is inositol?
Inositol is a B-vitamin-like nutrient and naturally occurring sugar that’s made by the human body and is also found in whole grains, beans, nuts, and fruits. In addition, it’s available as a dietary supplement.
There are nine types of inositol occurring in nature. Two forms, myo-inositol (myo) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI), have specific functions in our cells. Many recent studies have shown that a certain ratio of these two forms seems to work better than either form alone. That ratio is 40 to 1, meaning forty parts myo-inositol to one part D-chiro-inositol.
How does inositol work?
Inositol is used in the body a few different ways, including:
1. Builds cell membranes.
2. Acts as a “secondary messenger” in the central nervous system, which is one reason it’s known to increase the impact of neurotransmitters in your brain.
3. Acts as a messenger to help your body use insulin.
Number 3 is very important for women with PCOS as it plays a role in decreasing insulin resistance (IR)Here is a quick refresher of insulin resistance:
When you eat (especially carbs), your body breaks the food down into glucose in your bloodstream. You then secrete a hormone called insulin to get the sugar out of the blood and into the cells to be used for energy. In order for this to happen, insulin has to bind to a receptor on the surface of the cell to get the cell door to open. I like to explain it as “a key (insulin) unlocking the door (the cell).” When insulin binds to its receptor, it “unlocks” and releases secondary messengers. These secondary messengers tell the cell it’s time to take in glucose from the blood. Inositols function as secondary messengers. This means that inositols help with insulin signaling. In other words, they help the cell take in glucose from the blood.
It’s believed that women with PCOS who are insulin resistant do not properly release secondary messengers (like inositol). Glucose does not get into the cell efficiently. Therefore, glucose in the blood remains high, which tells the pancreas to make more insulin. The over-production of insulin results in both high insulin levels and high blood sugar. And as we know too well, these high levels of insulin cause many of the symptoms of PCOS.
Insulin resistance is also found in gestational diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of inositol for PCOS
Inositol supplements have been found to have numerous health benefits for women with PCOS. Published studies confirm that inositol supplementation can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce serum levels of insulin, testosterone, and LH, and induce ovulation in women with PCOS. Some of these studies are using myo-inositol, others d-chiro and still others have the combination of myo:DCI. Read the references below to get details on the studies.
Decreased insulin levels: Numerous studies show myo- inositol decreases insulin levels.
- Regulate menstrual cycles and improves ovulation. Researchers found that myo and DCI were able to enhance oocyte (ovarian cells) follicular development and maturation—which can support ovulation and regular cycles. Other studies have shown that ovarian function overall increases in women supplementing with inositol.
- Improved egg quality. It’s recommended you use a combo of myo and D chiro for egg quality. A recent study showing that the oocyte quality and ovarian response have been progressively worsened by the increased dosage of DCI alone. Therefore, DCI supplementation alone is not recommendable for several reasons: (a) high doses of DCI/day have been considered toxic to ovaries and oocyte maturation; (b) DCI is not converted into MI; therefore, the specific action exerted by the last one would be lost; (c) MI and MI-IPG deficiencies are correlated with many IR conditions. Reference
- Improved metabolic issues like inflammation and hypertension
- Since inositol may decrease insulin levels, it can also help with:
Decreasing acne. You may need 24 weeks of supplementation until you notice a difference in both acne and hirsutism.
- Improved lipids
- Decreased anxiety. It works by activating serotonin receptors, which may improve depression and anxiety.
- Possible effect of wt loss. The evidence here is not as strong, but some studies suggest it may have an effect.
- Decreased carb cravings. This one is more anecdotal! But many of my patients report reduced carb cravings when taking inositol.
What is the recommended dose?
The recommended dose of myo-inositol for most people is 2,000 mg, and the recommended dose of D-chiro-inositol is 50 mg, taken twice a day (total daily dose of 4,000 mg of myo-inositol plus 100 mg of D-chiro-inositol). It takes at least three months of consistent use to see inositol benefits.
Why I recommend Ovasitol brand
Ovasitol is an inositol supplement scientifically formulated to promote menstrual regularity and normal ovarian function. Manufactured by THERALOGIX, it is the first and only inositol supplement that has been independently verified for content accuracy, purity, and freedom from contaminants through a not-for-profit certification program (NSF® International). Ovasitol is formulated by an advisory board of leading reproductive health specialists.
Ovasitol is the only supplement in the United States to contain a combination of myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol, in the body’s natural ratio of 40 to 1. Recent studies have shown that taking a combination of these two forms, in this ratio, is more beneficial to women with PCOS than taking MYO or DCI alone. Better yet: Ovasitol is also much more affordable than other popular inositol supplements for PCOS.
The dose for Ovasitol is 2 packets a day. It comes in a powder form and you can take it with or without food. It can also be mixed into a liquid.
Are there any side effects of Ovasitol?
As per the Ovasitol website: There are no expected side effects from Ovasitol. Studies have shown that inositol is safe and well-tolerated when taken at the typical recommended dose of 4,000 mg a day. Ovasitol can be taken along with most other nutritional supplements and prescription medications, including metformin. Ovasitol is safe to continue throughout pregnancy. As with any dietary supplement, it is important to discuss the use of all medications, vitamins and supplements with your healthcare team.
*If you choose to purchase myo and d-chiro separately, do not take d-chiro by itself without myo as it can worsen egg quality if you are trying to conceive. Your best bet would be to add myo as well.
NOTE: if you want to purchase Ovasitol, use my code 110022 to get a discount.
Disclaimer: it is always recommended that you check with your physician before taking any supplement
Are you taking insitol – or Ovasitol? I’d love to hear if it’s made a difference in your symptoms!
Stay tuned tomorrow for details on how to enter into the Giveaway Contest for 3 months of Ovasitol!
Inositol references. This pdf contains numerous studies on inositol.
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.