This is the beginning of a new series, on something that isn’t technically a nutrient, but sure seems essential to the body. It is “inositol,” and it has many links to our natural health.
Inositol is a carbohydrate with a sugar-like chemical structure. The most prominent form is “myoinositol.” Myoinositol was once thought to be related to vitamin-B complex, but since it is produced by your body from glucose (sugar), it is therefore not an essential nutrient. With an average daily caloric intake of 1,800 calories, your myoinositol intake varies from 225 to 1,500 mg a day.
In the vegetable category, beans have the the highest myoinositol content and leafy vegetables have the lowest. Fresh vegetables have higher amount of myoinositol than frozen or canned. Also, cantaloupe and the citrus fruits (except lemons) have very high contents of myoinositol. As in the case of the vegetables, canned fruit has lower content of myoinositol than unprocessed fruit.
Among the cereals, oats and bran have more myoinositol than cereals derived from other grains. There is little myoinositol in meat and fat. Foods that consist of seeds, such as beans, grains, and nuts, are the most concentrated sources of dietary myoinositol.
Inositol plays an important role in many biological processes in your body, including:
— The expression of genes
— Controlling the breakdown of various fats, thereby reducing blood cholesterol
— Managing the activity of three chemicals in the body (serotonin, norepinephrine and acetyl choline), thereby responsible for some of the beneficial effects in psychiatric disorders (e.g. panic, depression)
— Regulating the amount of calcium in cells
— Reducing insulin resistance, thereby responsible for issues linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (e.g. type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood lipids, high blood pressure,
metabolic syndrome, high blood level of testosterone)
— Acting as an essential part of the cell membrane
The purpose of this series is to give our readers an up-to-date critical examination of what is known about the beneficial effects of inositol on human health. In it, I’ll
wade into the following territories:
— Lung cancer
— Metabolic syndrome
— Panic disorder