Inositol functions closely with choline. It is not recognized as a vitamin as the body and intestinal bacteria can make it in limited quantities, and no deficiency states have been reported. Inositol is found in the brain, nerves, muscles, bones, reproductive organs, stomach, kidney, spleen, liver and heart. It is a major component of lecithin.

What it does in the body

Fat metabolism

Inositol, like choline, promotes the export of fat from the liver. It is also involved in the control of blood cholesterol.

Cell membranes

Inositol is a component of cell membranes and the myelin which coats the nerves.


Inositol deficiency in animals leads to fat accumulation in the liver, nerve disorders and intestinal problems. No deficiency symptoms have been reported in humans.


Inositol is found in a wide variety of foods. In plant sources such as citrus fruits, whole grains and seeds, inositol is present mainly in a fiber component known as phytic acid. Intestinal bacteria may act on this compound to release inositol. In animal foods such as liver and beef heart, inositol occurs as myo-inositol.

Recommended intakes

It is difficult to assess recommended daily intakes for inositol due to its synthesis in the body, but the average daily diet supplies approximately 1000 mg. No deficiency or toxicity has been identified for inositol as it is present in a wide variety of foods.


Inositol is available in lecithin and as inositol monophosphate.

Therapeutic uses of supplements

Mood disorders

Inositol is sometimes used to treat mental disorders. Researchers involved in a 1997 double-blind controlled trial assessed the effect of 12 g daily of inositol in 28 depressed patients for four weeks. The results showed significant improvement in symptoms compared to placebo. The same researchers also tested the effectiveness of inositol supplements in panic disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder, and found beneficial effects.

Other uses

Low levels of inositol have been found in the nerves of diabetic patients and supplements may be useful in the treatment of diabetic nerve disorders. Inositol has also been used to treat multiple sclerosis. Recent research suggests that myo-inositol can prevent folate-resistant neural tube defects in mice.



Other Nutrients:

Essential fatty acids
Para-aminobenzoic acid
Pangamic acid
Coenzyme Q10
Amino acids
Lipoic acid
Shark cartilage
Digestive support
Betaine hydrochloride
Digestive enzymes
Fiber supplements