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Inositol

Inositol is part of the Vitamin B group. Our body manufactures Inositol from glucose. Next to Niacin, in terms of quantities, human body contains more inositol, specifically in the spinal cord nerves, the brain and the cerebral spinal fluid. Inositol is a fundamental ingredient of cell membranes. It is necessary for proper functioning of nerves, brain and muscles in the body. Inositol is essential for growth and survival of cells in bone marrow, eye tissues and the intestines. It enables hair growth and helps prevent baldness. Inositol or as some call it as Vitamin B 8, prevents collection of fats in the liver.

Role of Inositol


  • Plays a vital role in chemical reactions which are associated with the production of glucose.
  • Facilitates normal functioning of the body (side effects result when the levels are low).
  • Aids in efficient processing and conversion of nutrients into energy.
  • Nourishes the brain.

Inositol supplement

Our body makes enough Inositol to function normally. Deficiency of Inositol in healthy individuals is a rare occurrence. Caffeine (exceeding 2 cups per day) can lower Inositol levels and lead to Inositol deficiency. Inositol deficiency symptoms include eczema, gastritis, hypertension, fatty infiltration in the liver, and hardening of the liver and patchy baldness. In such cases, Inositol supplement is recommended by the healthcare provider. Diabetic people may experience an increased excretion of Inositol and can make up by taking Inositol supplement in the form of powder or capsules.


Effect on Pregnancy : Pregnancy is characterized by a physiologic increase in insulin resistance, which, when associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammations, could induce alterations of glucose metabolism and diabetes. If the situation is not controlled properly these conditions may affect the mother and the fetus.
Inositol (Myo and d-chiro-inositol [DCI]) and antioxidants such as lipoic acid, resveratrol and epigallocatechin-3-gallate [EGCG]) have shown anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties in recent studies. Inositol acts as a mediator of the action of insulin, and it is necessary to activate key enzymes in the metabolism of glucose.

Doses of Inositol are prescribed by health care providers for people suffering from medical conditions or disorders such as PCOS, high cholesterol, schizophrenia, ADHD, insomnia and depression. Because of its beneficial effects, Inositol is used in the treatment of bipolar mood disorder, Alzheimer's disease, binge eating disorders and retinopathy of prematurity. Inositol can improve nerve function in diabetics. In some cases, Inositol has helped in reversing the nerve damage. It helps reduce the pain and numbness due to nerve deterioration. Also, Inositol can improve the sensitivity of insulin in the human body, which is highly beneficial to control diabetes. Inositol is given to premature babies with respiratory distress.

Other Inositol benefits


  • Aids in the breakdown of fats
  • Helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol.
  • Has a calming effect on the central nervous system.
  • Useful in treating eczema.
  • Helpful in treating constipation.
  • Maintains hormone balance by controlling estrogen levels in the body.

Side effects of Inositol

Synthetically manufactured Inositol is available in the form of tablets, capsules and powder. There is no RDA for Inositol and some cases have been given doses ranging from 2 gm to 18 gm with no serious side effects. Pregnant women should take Inositol only under medical supervision as it may result in contractions. Possible side effects include tiredness, dizziness, hives, itching, wheezing, skin rash and swelling of mouth and throat. Deficiency of magnesium and potassium, high blood pressure are other side effects to look out for.

Vitamin B complex

B Vitamins - the group of water soluble vitamins essential for the normal functioning are not usually produced by our bodies and require to be replenished regularly.

Vitamin B1 - Thiamine
Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin
Vitamin B3 - Niacin, Niacinamide
Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine
Vitamin B7 - Biotin
Vitamin B9 - Folic Acid
Vitamin B12 - Cyanocobalamin


Some Vitamin B Complex formulations, in addition to the above major B Vitamins, may contain Inositol, choline bitartrate and Para Amino Benzoic Acid - PABA.


Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 or thiamine helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy and it is necessary for the heart muscles, nervous system and brain to function properly. Very low levels of Vitamin B1 can lead to Beriberi - a cardiovascular and neurological disease. Deficiency of Vitamin B1 can cause weight loss and weakness. Fortified breads, cereals, pasta, meat, fish, dried beans, leafy vegetables, whole grains, egg yolk, soy foods and peas contain Vitamin B1. Brewer's yeast is a natural source high in thiamine.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:

Adults - Men: 1.2 mg
Adults - Women: 1.1 mg
Pregnant Women: 1.4 mg
Breastfeeding Women: 1.5 mg

Vitamin B1 is generally well tolerated and rarely produces adverse side effects with high doses. Deficiency of Vitamin B1 can result in Beriberi ( literally 'I can't' in Sinhalese language) - a disease with the symptoms of loss of appetite, weakness, irritability, tingling of nerves, poor muscles coordination and muscular pain in the calves. This disease is due to poor metabolization of glucose.


Vitamin B2

This is essential for converting carbohydrates into energy and produce red blood cells. Significantly, this vitamin is important for vision. Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin is essential for fat and protein metabolization. Vitamin B2 boosts the immune system, maintains healthy hair and helps functioning of the nervous system. Deficiency of Vitamin B2 can lead to acne, muscle cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headache. Best natural sources of Riboflavin are meat, eggs, legumes, nuts, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and fortified cereals.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:

Adults - Men: 1.3 mg
Adults - Women: 1.1 mg
Pregnant Women: 1.4 mg
Breastfeeding Women: 1.6 mg

Vitamin B2 is generally well tolerated and rarely produces adverse side effects like sensitivity to light with high doses. Supplements of Riboflavin can result in bright yellow urine.


Vitamin B3

Food is turned into energy in the body by Niacin. Niacin or Vitamin B3 also helps maintain healthy skin and important nerve functions. The benefits of Vitamin B3 include good blood circulation and brain functioning. Vitamin B3 is also required in order to produce various hormones including progesterone and testosterone. Vitamin B3 - Niacin and its related compounds Nicotinic Acid and Nicotinamide plays an important role in lowering cholesterol levels and aiding widening of arteries. It plays a role in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolization. Severe deficiency of Vitamin B3 can lead to Pellagra - diarrhea, scaly skin and dementia. This vitamin is naturally found in red meat, poultry, fish, fortified cereals and peanuts.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:

Adults - Men: 16 mg
Adults - Women: 14 mg
Pregnant Women: 18 mg
Breast feeding Women: 17 mg

Vitamin B3 in high doses can result in burning, tingling sensation with/without red flushed skin. Niacin can also trigger hyperglycemia in the case of type 2 diabetes. Humans can synthesize Niacin from the amino acid Tryptophan in the presence of Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B6.


Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 also known as Pantothenic acid is often used in combination with other B Vitamins in Vitamin B formulations. Vitamin B5 is primarily used for treating dietary deficiencies, acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feet syndrome, yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions and cystitis. Some times Vitamin B5 is also used for controlling dandruff, depression,tongue infections, gray hair, headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, insomnia, irritability, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism and improving athletic performance.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:
Adults - Men: 5 mg
Adults - Women: 5 mg
Pregnant Women: 6 mg
Breastfeeding Women: 7 mg
Vitamin B5 is generally well tolerated in moderate doses but may produce adverse side effects like diarrhea with high doses.


Vitamin B6

Important for brain and nerve function, vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine helps the body break down the proteins and produce red blood cells. It is essential in making antibodies, maintaining nerve function and in the production of hemoglobin. Vitamin B6 also has a role in homocysteine metabolism. Vitamin B 6 deficiency leads to confusion, irritability and depression. Potatoes, bananas, beans, nuts, legumes, whole grains and poultry, fish, eggs, spinach and fortified cereals naturally contain Vitamin B6.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:
Adults - Men below 50 years: 1.3 mg
Men - above 50 years: 1.7 mg
Adults - Women Below 50 years: 1.3 mg
Women Above 50 years: 1.5 mg
Pregnant Women: 1.9 mg
Breastfeeding Women: 2 mg

Vitamin B6 is generally well tolerated but may produce neurological disorders with high doses.


Biotin or Vitamin B7: RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:
Adults: 30 microgram
Biotin deficiency manifests in the form of scaly inflammation of the skin, poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, anemia, depression and general weakness.


Vitamin B9

Folate or Vitamin B9 is folic acid or folacin, that helps to produce red blood cells and it essential for DNA creation. Dried beans, legumes, green leafy vegetables, orange juice, asparagus, fortified bread, rice, and cereals are all good natural sources of Vitamin B9.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:
Adults - Men: 400 mcg
Adults - Women: 400 mcg
Pregnant Women: 600 mcg
Breast feeding Women: 500 mcg

Vitamin B9 is generally well tolerated but may mask a Vitamin B12 deficiency with high doses. Deficiency of Folate can result in Megaloblastic Anemia which is also known as large cell Anemia or Macrocytic Anemia. Deficiency during the time of pregnancy or the period preceding pregnancy may result in neural tube defects in the fetus.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 or cobalamin helps to make red blood cells and is important for brain and nerve cell functions. Vitamin B12 is effective in DNA synthesis, fatty acid synthesis and cell metabolism. Vitamin B 12 is found naturally in fish, red meat, poultry, milk, cheese, and eggs and also breakfast cereals. B12 deficiency leads to pernicious anemia - which manifests in the form of weakness, sore tongue, general apathy, back pain and tingling in the extremities. Vitamin B12 helps maintain a healthy digestive system, healthy skin and hair and protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. Vitamin B 12 helps protect against breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.

RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance:
Adults - Men: 2.4 mcg
Adults - Women: 2.4 mcg
Pregnant Women: 2.6 mcg
Breast feeding Women: 2.8 mcg

Vitamin B12 is generally well tolerated.



Tags: #Inositol #Vitamin B complex
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 1, 2020