Health Benefits Of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Vitamin B8 ( Inositol ) Overview

Inositol, also vitamin B8 is a readily available vitamin (though not a true vitamin) in the B-complex vitamins. Inositol is a water-soluble, and most of it can be found in the brain, heart, liver, stomach, spleen, and kidneys.

The body can synthesize small amounts of inositol on its own and it gets the rest from inositol foods and supplements. A deficiency may lead to inositol side effects such as impaired cells that support chemical messengers throughout the body.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Among the reported benefits of inositol in clinical settings are a reduction in the need for pain medication when patients are given inositol, a reduction of edema in treatment of scald burns, and in relieving the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

Inositol helps in relieving nerve damage caused by certain diseases such as diabetes. In addition, it has anti-anxiety effects, helps control cholesterol levels in the blood and required for healthy hair.

What Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )  Does:

Inositol is a ‘second messenger’, triggering the release of calcium in cells. It also is involved in the transmission of messages between neural cells and the transport of fats within cells. It’s most important role seems to be in the central nervous system, where it serves to help transmit messages along neural pathways. Various studies have shown its efficacy in treating a number of psychological disorders that seem to have a chemical basis, including bulimia, OCD, depression and bipolar mood disorder. Inositol seems to be present in greater concentration in the cells in and around the central nervous system, including brain cells and retinal cells, and in other specialized cells such as bone marrow and intestinal cells. It is also found in high concentration in mother’s milk, leading to the possibility of a link to the immune system.
Because of its role in cell health and neurotransmission, inositol is considered an important nutrient, even though it is not technically a ‘vital’ nutrient or a vitamin.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Inositol is used for diabetic nerve pain, panic disorder, high cholesterol, insomnia, cancer, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, promoting hair growth, a skin disorder called psoriasis, and treating side effects of medical treatment with lithium.

Inositol is also used by mouth for treating conditions associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including failure to ovulate; high blood pressure; high triglycerides; and high levels of testosterone.

The probability of practical applications of the inositol is indicated by the results obtained from some clinical research carried out on the functioning of inositol in the human body. In addition, a lot of animal experiments have shown that raising the dietary levels of inositol can help in the prevention of the decrease in motor nerve conduction resulting from degeneration in the nerve insulation as a symptom of diseases such as diabetes. A similar effect is also seen during the use of supplements of inositol as part of the dietary intake in humans who are confirmed diabetics. As a general rule, the nerve conduction is generally better the more inositol present in the diet - usually a maximum of 1400 mg per person daily. Nerve conduction is the lowest whenever people consume a diet that is deficient in levels of inositol. If the diet was deficient in the vitamin, then the consumption of a diet considered sufficient in inositol resulted in improved nerve conduction, this improvement did not match the improvement seen in patients on a supplemented diet of inositol.

The potential of using supplements of inositol against certain forms of cancer affected tissues has also been acknowledged by clinical researchers. During one animal test, the use of intravenous injections of inositol led to the inhibition of tumor growth in laboratory mice. The dosage of the inositol used in the injections determined the degree of inhibition, if the dose was high than the inhibitive effect was greater and vice versa. A human experiment conducted by one doctor was to give high doses of inositol - at doses of 3 to 4 grams a day - to people affected by advanced cases of cancer in the genitourinary tract. This beneficial effect apparently failed to be evident in at least seven people affected by terminal malignancies in the penis, the prostate gland, as well as the testicles. However, at least six cases of people with bladder cancer benefited from the dosage of inositol. In these patients, the size of the tumors decreased, and the treatment resulted in the disappearance of hematuria - blood in the urine.

The ability of the liver to resist the infiltration of fatty deposits and to recover from accumulated toxin damage is shown to be improved by doses of inositol. In men and in animals, this compound has also been reported to lower cholesterol levels in repeated tests. The compound lecithin was however, the main source of this inositol used in the experiments. For this reason, some clinicians suggest that as lecithin also contains choline and other compounds, the resulting cholesterol reducing effect might not have been induced by inositol acting alone, though the researchers did not attribute this action to inositol alone.

Good food sources of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Good dietary sources of the vitamin inositol can include compounds such as lecithin, foods like yeast, all kinds of organ meats, different types of nuts, all types of fruits and vegetables as well as all kinds of whole grains. There are a wide range of dosages as far as inositol supplements are concerned, ranging from doses that are less than a hundred milligrams to doses that are several hundred mgs each. That the body does not always synthesize inositol in “adequate” amounts is indicated by the fact that both animals and people have been aided by supplements of inositol in case of deficiencies.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin B8 ( Inositol )

Deficiencies of inositol have not been reported and are very rare if they ever occur, though some supplemental inositol can really aid diabetics who have increased excretion and loss of nutrients.

Vitamin B8 ( Inositol ) Side effects and cautions

While elevated levels of inositol is seen in individuals affected by chronic renal failure, there are no reports of inositol induced toxicity in people - such toxic effects may only affect those already affected by some disorder. The presence of large amounts of phytate, the most common dietary form of the compound inositol can inhibit the absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. This effect is however, not apparent in patients using supplemental inositol.

Bipolar disorder: There is some concern that taking too much inositol might make bipolar disorder worse. There is a report of a man with controlled bipolar disorder being hospitalized with extreme agitation and impulsiveness (mania) after drinking several cans of an energy drink containing inositol, caffeine, taurine, and other ingredients (Red Bull Energy Drink) over a period of 4 days. It is not known if this is related to inositol, caffeine, taurine, a different ingredient, or a combination of the ingredients.

Although no there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Inositol (because it is not a true vitamin), extremely low vitamin B8 levels are associated with the following inositol side effects:

  • Eye problems, weak hair resulting in hair loss and baldness
  • Elevated cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis
  • Impaired memory
  • Eczema
  • Fatty liver disease and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation