Myo-Inositol is an isomer of glucose and normally consumed in an average human's diet. It is used in the phosphatidyinositol cycle ( not something you need to care about) and is part of a second messenger system at the cellular level, including messenger systems that lead to the production of serotonin and noradrenalin. Myo-Inositol's exact mechanism of action is beyond the scope of this blog, but just remember that it helps serotonin and noradrenalin function more effectively. Also remember that low serotonin is implicated in many anxiety and depressive disorders.
Five randomized controlled studies show Myo-Inositol to be effective at reducing anxiety at doses of 12-18 grams per day. One study found Myo-Inositol to be superior to a placebo and as effective as Fluvoxamine ( Prozac) at reducing anxiety attacks for those diagnosed with panic disorder. Perhaps, and of course check with your doctor first, but maybe you can use it instead of Prozac and avoid the side effects of SSRIs. In patients diagnosed with OCD, Myo-Inositol was more effective at reducing anxiety than a placebo. However, one study on the use of Myo-Inositol in those diagnosed PTSD showed that it did not produce a significant reduction in anxiety.
Interesting research conducted in 2004 and published in Metabolic Brain Disease used brain imaging to show that the cortico-striatal-thalamo-cortical circuit ( I'm sure you all know, off the top of your head the exact circuit I'm talking about.... you don't need to, just keep reading ) undergoes the most hyperactive changes in people with OCD, and SSRIs ( Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) successfully squelch this hyperactivity. It is speculated that Myo-Inositol and SSRIs have similar mechanisms of action which is why it is helpful for those with OCD, and many experts think Myo-Inositol works best in those who respond positively to SSRIs. Hence, if you do not respond to SSRIs, you may not respond to Myo-Inositol, although there is no harm in giving it a try.
Another study showed that Myo-Inositol at 6-12 grams per day helps reduce depression, and a great article published in Medical Post ( volume 43) describes its effectiveness for bulimia, skin picking and trichotillomania. 6 grams a day was also shown to be effective at preventing Alzheimers, though more research is needed to definitively say so.
Reported side effects are fairly benign and include diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, fatigue and mild dizziness. As of now, Myo-Inositol is contraindicated in pregnancy because it can stimulate uterine contractions. Still, even though side effects are relatively small and rare, always consult with your primary care doctor ( if you have one) and let him or her know that you are thinking of giving Myo-Inositol ( or any supplement for that matter) a try. There are always new drug/supplement/herbal/etc. interactions being discovered, and the most important thing is to be safe and do as much as you can to ensure one of those odd interactions doesn't occur in you. Doctors can help you figure that stuff out!
You can purchase capsules of Myo-Inositol, although I like to purchase it in bulk as a powder. Funny enough, cocaine dealers buy Myo-Inositol in bulk, because it looks just like cocaine and they use it to dilute their stashes. Hence, if the salesperson looks at you funny, just tell him or her that you promise you don't sell cocaine. ;)
The powder version of Myo-Inositol has a sweet taste, and you can mix it any old way with water or a favorite drink. I recommend a starting dose of 1 Tsp of powder, which is equal to 3 grams of Myo-Inositol. Start with 1 Tsp and then increase by 1 Tsp every 3-4 days. Remember, the optimal dose is somewhere between 6-18 grams per day, so start slow to make sure you can tolerate the Myo-Inositol, and then increase at your own pace.
I buy Myo-Inositol in bulk and have it shipped. It costs about 50 dollars, but it lasts a long time, and I consider it one of the all-star supplements.
If you have any questions, email me. Don't forget to check out the blog I posted below on KAVA KAVA, another supplement used for anxiety. I'll continue to post more about natural ways to reduce anxiety in the near future!
dr. eeks :)
P.S. Tonight's Nature Therapy is below. I like this photo and it reminds me of GREEN and SPRING, which I'm craving after the last few freezing cold days in NYC. Tonight, I am closing my eyes and pretending I'm IN this photo, wherever it is..., tonight. :)