Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:
Inositol is a compound found in the heart and the brain. It has been used to improve brain function and lower cholesterol. Inositol has also been used to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can be taken as a pill or powder.
1 to 2 grams daily
What Research Shows
- Anxiety / Depression —likely to ease symptoms of both anxiety and depression B1
- Gestational diabetes —likely to prevent in pregnant women E1-E4
- Infertility —may increase pregnancy rate in women having ovulation induction F1
- Metabolic syndrome —likely to lower triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol G1
- Polycystic ovary syndrome —likely to improve menstrual cycles, ovulation, and ease metabolic changes I1-I5
May Not Be Effective
- Subfertility —may not provide benefit L1
Unlikely to Be Effective
- Retinopathy of prematurity —unlikely to prevent the disease in preterm infants K1
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to take inositol in small doses for a short time, but nausea and headache are possible. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It may also not be safe to take by women who are breastfeeding.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
A. Alzheimer Disease
A1. Muñoz Fernández SS, Ivanauskas T, et al. Nutritional Strategies in the Management of Alzheimer Disease: Systematic Review With Network Meta-Analysis. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017 Oct 1;18(10):897.e13-897.e30.
B1. Mukai T, Kishi T, et al. A meta-analysis of inositol for depression and anxiety disorders. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2014;29(1):55-63.
C. Autism Spectrum Disorder
C1. Gogou M, Kolios G. The effect of dietary supplements on clinical aspects of autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of the literature. Brain Dev. 2017 Sep;39(8):656-664.
D. Bipolar Disorder
D1. Sarris J, Mischoulon D, et al. Adjunctive nutraceuticals with standard pharmacotherapies in bipolar disorder: a systematic review of clinical trials. Bipolar Disord. 2011 Aug-Sep;13(5-6):454-465.
D2. Sienaert P, Lambrichts L, et al. Evidence-based treatment strategies for treatment-resistant bipolar depression: a systematic review. Bipolar Disord. 2013 Feb;15(1):61-69.
D3. Sylvia LG, Peters AT, et al. Nutrient-based therapies for bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(1):10-19.
E. Gestational Diabetes
E1. Rogozińska E, Chamillard M, et al. Nutritional manipulation for the primary prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of randomised studies. PLoS One. 2015 Feb 26;10(2):e0115526.
E2. Zheng X, Liu Z, et al. Relationship Between Myo-Inositol Supplementary and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Oct;94(42):e1604.
E3. Crawford TJ, Crowther CA, et al. Antenatal dietary supplementation with myo-inositol in women during pregnancy for preventing gestational diabetes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Dec 17;(12):CD011507.
E4. Martis R, Crowther CA, et al. Treatments for women with gestational diabetes mellitus: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 14;8:CD012327.
F1. Zheng X, Lin D, et al. Inositol supplement improves clinical pregnancy rate in infertile women undergoing ovulation induction for ICSI or IVF-ET. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Dec;96(49):e8842.
G. Metabolic Diseases
G1. Tabrizi R, Ostadmohammadi V, et al. The effects of inositol supplementation on lipid profiles among patients with metabolic diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Lipids Health Dis. 2018;17(1):123.
H. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
H1. Sarris J, Camfield D, et al. Complementary medicine, self-help, and lifestyle interventions for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and the OCD spectrum: a systematic review. J Affect Disord. 2012 May;138(3):213-221.
I. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
I1. Zeng L, Yang K. Effectiveness of myoinositol for polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Endocrine. 2018 Jan;59(1):30-38.
I2. Arentz S, Smith CA, et al. Nutritional supplements and herbal medicines for women with polycystic ovary syndrome; a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Nov 25;17(1):500.
I3. Mendoza N, Pérez L, et al. Inositol supplementation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Reprod Biomed Online. 2017 Nov;35(5):529-535.
I4. Pundir J, Psaroudakis D, et al. Inositol treatment of anovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomised trials. BJOG. 2018 Feb;125(3):299-308.
I5. Showell MG, Mackenzie-Proctor R, et al. Inositol for subfertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;12:CD012378.
J. Respiratory Distress Syndrome
J1. Howlett A, Ohlsson A, et al. Inositol in preterm infants at risk for or having respiratory distress syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Feb 4;(2):CD000366.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
K1. Du Y, He Y, et al. The efficacy and safety of inositol supplementation in preterm infants to prevent retinopathy of prematurity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Ophthalmol. 2019 Jun 25;19(1):135.
L1. Showell MG, Mackenzie-Proctor R, et al. Antioxidants for female subfertility. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jul 28;7:CD007807.
M. Unipolar Depression
M1. Schefft C, Kilarski LL, et al. Efficacy of adding nutritional supplements in unipolar depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 Nov;27(11):1090-1109.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 5/27/2020