Inositol PCOS supplements are gaining popularity. But do they work? And can they help you if you have PCOS and want to get pregnant? Learn more inositol here.
- Inositol PCOS supplements may help you manage insulin levels, lose weight, and restore ovulation.
- Inositol is a substance that occurs naturally in some plants and animals, including humans.
- Two types of inositol dietary supplements for PCOS have shown promising results in studies.
- Combining inositol PCOS supplements with folic acid can bring extra benefits.
- A dietitian or nutritionist can help you find the right dose. Sound Cycle can help you connect with one.
Inositol PCOS supplements are a natural way to help manage the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Research suggests they can also improve fertility. Learn how to choose the best inositol supplements for PCOS in our brief guide.
What is inositol?
Inositol is a sugar alcohol found in some plants and animals, including humans. It occurs naturally in some foods, such as:
- Grains, especially oats and bran
- Almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts
Human bodies make inositol from glucose in the kidneys, but it can also be produced in a lab. The substance plays an important role in the hormonal, neurological, and metabolic functioning of our bodies. However, most of us have only small amounts of inositol in our systems.
There are many forms, or isomers, of inositol. The most common are myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.
Inositol deficiency has been linked to depression, bipolar disorder, diabetes, cardiac disease, high cholesterol levels, and many other health conditions. Research also supports that inositol can improve many of the symptoms of PCOS.
Are inositol supplements for PCOS effective?
Clinical studies suggest positive effects of inositol supplements for a range of PCOS symptoms. Here’s what the science says:
Inositol for ovulation
People with polycystic ovary syndrome can have an incorrect ratio of inositol types in their ovaries. Inositol imbalance may also decrease egg quality. Current research suggests that inositol supplements can correct that imbalance in people with PCOS to restore ovulation and improve fertility.
Inositol for insulin resistance
Inositol deficiencies or imbalances may contribute to insulin resistance, a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome. Supplementation with inositol can improve insulin sensitivity.
A 2014 clinical study showed that myo-inositol supplementation improved insulin resistance and restored ovulation in people with PCOS. Participants also noted weight loss.
An early study found that D-chiro-inositol had a positive impact on insulin sensitivity and insulin levels in people who had PCOS and obesity. The supplement significantly improved the odds of ovulation while decreasing androgen production, improving blood pressure, and lowering triglycerides in the blood.
Inositol for weight loss
Myo-inositol alone or in combination with D-chiro-inositol can help people with PCOS lose weight and regulate ovulation. A 2009 trial compared the effects of myo-inositol supplementation and metformin, a drug often prescribed for PCOS symptoms. Myo-inositol was as effective as metformin for weight loss in overweight women.
Inositol for hyperandrogenism
Both myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol can reduce androgens, including testosterone levels, in the blood. Elevated testosterone levels are responsible for PCOS facial hair, acne, and menstrual cycle irregularities.
Inositol for psychiatric effects of PCOS
Low levels of myo-inositol have been found in the brains of people with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Myo-inositol has also been demonstrated to be effective in treatment of panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As these symptoms often co-occur with PCOS, inositol supplementation may be a beneficial treatment.
Is inositol safe to use?
Inositol PCOS supplements have been deemed safe for use. High doses of inositol (12 grams a day, much higher than would be recommended for PCOS symptoms) caused only mild gastrointestinal problems in one study, such as nausea, gas, or diarrhea.
However, if you’re taking other medication, always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any kind of supplements.
Which type of inositol should I choose?
There are nine different types of inositol, but only myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol have shown promising results for people with PCOS symptoms. Researchers have studied the effects of these two substances separately and combined. In all cases, they saw positive outcomes on PCOS symptoms.
If a dietitian suggests inositol PCOS supplements, make sure to discuss this with a physician. Your doctor can suggest the best type of inositol for your condition as well as the right dosage. Read the product information, as supplements can vary widely in their composition.
Should I take inositol combined with folic acid?
There are a wide range of inositol supplements for PCOS. Some are sold in combination with vitamins or minerals, including formulations that combine inositol with folic acid, a supplement that’s considered a must for women who are trying to conceive and pregnant women.
The combination of inositol and folic acid can be helpful for PCOS symptoms.
A 2014 clinical study concluded that a combination of inositol, N-acetylcysteine, and folic acid improved ovarian function in people with polycystic ovary syndrome.
In another clinical trial, people treated with myo-inositol supplementation and folic acid combined saw a reduction in testosterone levels and triglycerides. They also had better ovulation results compared to the group that took folic acid alone.
What is the best dose of inositol supplements for polycystic ovary syndrome?
There doesn’t appear to be a definitive recommended dose to treat PCOS symptoms. Researchers have tested various dosages with good results and few side effects. With the lack of formal guidelines, you should stick with your doctor’s or integrative provider’s recommendations on proper dose.
A dietitian or nutritionist can help you choose PCOS inositol supplements
Choosing the right type and dosage of inositol supplements for PCOS is crucial. Don’t try doing it alone. Always consult your doctor and an experienced dietitian or nutritionist.
Sound Cycle can help you find a nutritional therapist. Visit our provider directory to find a nutrition or dietitian in your area.