There are a lot of ideas about what Inositol is and is not – it has the composition of a glucose, is considered a carbohydrate and for a while was thought to be vitamin B8. As our body can produce its own inositol, it cannot be considered a vitamin - but has become a pseudo-vitamin. It does taste sweet, though nowhere near the potency of sugar. However, in the human body, its primary function is to keep fat out of the liver. Yet, even this is not the reason why Inositol is such an important supplement. It is a vital cofactor for the brain’s major neurotransmitters, which means it is effective in treating a range of mental health conditions. This includes anxiety, insomnia, binge eating, PMS and OCD.
Bottom line, all the major neurotransmitters – dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine and GABA need inositol to relay messages. If there is a deficiency of inositol, then these neurotransmitters cannot do their job in the body. These roles include maintaining your mood, productivity, stress levels, ability to learn, to sleep, to control craving and addictions and many, many more.
Mental Health is currently coming under scrutiny, as doctors and politicians attempt to raise the status of the health of our mind to the same as the health of our body. There are many misconceptions, many frustrations – therefore, if there is a supplement that can offer hope – it is worth considering in some detail.
Here are five mental health conditions that could be cured by inositol:
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Inositol is considered one of the best remedies for anxiety and panic attacks. As this is a natural product and one your body already produces, the side effects are rare. One study found this supplement to be as effective as some prescribed anti-anxiety meds, such as Fluzoxamine. This is a SSRI and can have significant adverse effects on some people – and takes a while to stop, once started. People commonly felt nausea and fatigue on the pharmaceutical, which was not observed on Inositol.
Inositol works to help the GABA receptors work more effectively to manage your anxiety levels. Inositol mimics the function of depleted GABA receptors and works as an effective substitute. It essentially replaces GABA and works to cool your mind and reduce the anxiety.
It also helps people with unusually low serotonin, which can contribute to anxiety.
Sleeplessness is one of the main contributory factors with many mental health issues. Therefore, using inositol to promote peaceful sleep is a good idea. It essentially works to calm the mind, to allow it to rest. It is not often the body that fails to relax and if it is, exercise is the key. So, if the body can rest, use inositol to rest the mind.
With restful sleep, you can reduce the effects of anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It is defined as recurring thoughts and behaviors that are unwanted and often counter to the health of the sufferer. A study found that inositol reduced the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder equally as well as prescribed medication. The study used the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale to prove how the supplement reduced the symptoms by as much as 50%.
There is not a lot of consensus about the causes of OCD, therefore it is difficult for medics to determine why inositol might be effective. There are some who believe it is a result of a lower serotonin level, hence the standard treatment are SSRI stimulators, or anti-depressants as they are commonly known. Medics do note that OCD sufferers struggle more if they drink coffee. There is a belief that this shows the significant part inositol plays in OCD, as it is depleted by coffee drinking.
High doses of inositol have proven effective with Bulimia, a serious eating disorder that involves binge eating and purging. The theory is that the supplement reduces the depression and the anxiety that feeds the disorder. This then allows therapists to work with the sufferers to consider their relationship with food. The same is true with depression and serious anxiety disorders in general. The supplement calms the symptoms enough for talk therapies and mindfulness techniques to take effect.
Inositol works much better in women than in men – especially for depression and bulimia. It also helps women with premenstrual syndrome and the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder. These cause significant mood swings in the sufferer and for PMDD sufferers it can show in severe depression and aggression.
PMS and PMDD is caused by a hormonal imbalance that affects around 10% of women – though this is a conservative estimate, as most women do not report the symptoms – considering them a normal part of a woman’s bodily cycle. Serious cases can be characterized by menstrual irregularities, infertility and weight retention.
Inositol normalizes levels of testosterone and insulin, which become imbalanced at this time. It can also act as a useful treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome, for the same reason it balances hormones.
Inositol naturally occurs in the body; therefore, side effects are minimal. When you consider the significant side effects that anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs cause sufferers – this makes it a potentially significant supplement for a lot of people.
There are other significant claims made in favor of the supplement. Some researchers claim that it can help in the treatment of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer’s. At present, there is not enough research to support the claims but it does offer some hope for future applications.
A psychiatrist in Massachusetts claims that inositol is the nervous system’s pony express. The belief is that this is an alternative medicine that has solid evidence in the scientific literature. As a scientist, she proclaims, “The potential importance of inositol in psychiatric disorders is thereby evident when one considers the number of receptor types/ subtypes that interact with this signal transduction pathway.” In short, it is potentially an important natural biochemical that can offer help to mental health patients.
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