Top 3 Benefits of Myo-Inositol
If you’ve Google searched supplements for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome you are bound to come across Myo-inositol. This is a very popular supplement as it has lots of research and can help many of the symptoms associated with PCOS.
So what exactly is inositol? Well, inositol is actually a carbohydrate that naturally is found in our body and various foods. There are different types of inositol’s – and the two main ones used in supplements include Myo-inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol. Inositol has the ability to positively impact insulin and other hormones related to mood. Most of the inositol in our body is Myo-inositol.
There are many benefits of inositol, especially for women with PCOS. Let’s learn more about the top 3 benefits below!
1. Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is when the cell does not respond to insulin. Insulin’s job is to store glucose inside the cell and if it cannot do this because the cell is resistant – blood sugar will rise and so will insulin levels. Inositol is actually incorporated in the outer part of the cell known as the cell membrane and is a messenger for hormones including insulin and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). A defect in this signaling pathway can lead to insulin resistance. When inositol is given, when required in the body, the cell becomes more sensitive to insulin – therefore reducing blood glucose and insulin levels.
Research also shows promising effects of Myo-inositol on insulin resistance. A meta-analysis found that Myo-inositol improved fasting insulin levels and Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA IR) along with reducing testosterone levels2. Typical dosing to help reduce insulin resistance is 4 grams daily.
2. Lowers Testosterone
Research shows that inositol can help to lower testosterone levels, which is very positive as high levels of testosterone can lead to unwanted symptoms of acne, hair loss and excessive hair growth. These symptoms can really impact self-esteem and confidence in women with PCOS. I’ve personally dealt with these symptoms and I know how tough it can be!
A small double-blind study was conducted where one group received Myo-inositol plus folic acid and the other group received folic acid alone. In this study, they found that total testosterone decreased from 99.5 to 34.8 and free testosterone decreased from 0.85 to 0.24. Additional metabolic benefits were seen in this study including improved insulin sensitivity2.
What about acne and excessive hair growth? Well in fact, a study with 55 women with PCOS, given Myo-inositol over a 6 month period saw reductions in acne and hirsutism. This is so promising! The key here is to be consistent with taking the inositol daily6.
3. Regulates Cycles
One of the most common symptoms associated with PCOS includes irregular cycles. Often times this comes from insulin resistance resulting in high testosterone and then delayed ovulation pushing out the cycle length by days, weeks even months for some women.
The great thing is research has suggested Myo-inositol is responsible for decreasing Luteinizing Hormone (LH) to Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) ratio – which is commonly high in PCOS along with reducing testosterone and androstenedione1. This is a great benefit as it results in healthy ovulation and regular cycles.
Additionally, Myo-inositol has been shown to have positive effects on fertility. Women with PCOS undergoing assisted reproductive technologies were found to have improved egg quality and embryo quality when taking Myo-inositol1.
Other benefits to mention:
- balancing mood such as depression and PMDD3
- higher doses of inositol around 12-18 grams has been shown to have beneficial effects on OCD and panic disorders4
- can’t beat your cravings, or feeling hangry all the time? inositol also can help reduce cravings for carbohydrates and sugar as it helps to balance blood sugar
- Merviel, P., James, P., Bouée, S., Le Guillou, M., Rince, C., Nachtergaele, C., & Kerlan, V. (2021). Impact of myo-inositol treatment in women with polycystic ovary syndrome in assisted reproductive technologies. Reproductive Health, 18(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/S12978-021-01073-3/TABLES/1
- Metabolic and hormonal effects of myo-inositol in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a double-blind trial – PubMed. (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19499845/
- Mukai, T., Kishi, T., Matsuda, Y., & Iwata, N. (2014). A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders. Human Psychopharmacology, 29(1), 55–63. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2369
- Saeed, S. A., Bloch, R. M., & Antonacci, D. J. (2007). Herbal and Dietary Supplements for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. American Family Physician, 76(4), 549–556. Retrieved from www.aafp.org/afp.
- Unfer, V., Facchinetti, F., Orrù, B., Giordani, B., & Nestler, J. (2017). Myo-inositol effects in women with PCOS: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Endocrine Connections, 6(8), 647. https://doi.org/10.1530/EC-17-0243
- Zacchè, M. M., Caputo, L., Filippis, S., Zacchè, G., Dindelli, M., & Ferrari, A. (2009). Efficacy of myo-inositol in the treatment of cutaneous disorders in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology : The Official Journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, 25(8), 508–513. https://doi.org/10.1080/09513590903015544