Inositol powder is one of those supplements you never really hear about.
It is technically not a vitamin but is considered a member of the B vitamin family.
It can be great for anxiety, OCD and insomnia.
Inositol is involved with serotonin pathways which is why some people with depression can benefit from it.
There are many different versions of inositol to choose from and most of them are relatively cheap.
I’ll go over the different variations, what you can expect, and how to take it.
Inositol Powder and Variations
Inositol is sometimes referred to as vitamin B8. In reality, it is a carbohydrate that the body produces from glucose.
Inositol’s main job is to break down fats, help with cholesterol, and assist the liver in it’s job to prevent fatty acids from building up and causing havoc. It is present in your entire body. Neurotransmitters in your brain need inositol to be able to fire properly. If you aren’t producing enough inositol on your own, you’re going to feel an impact on your mood and cognition.
Most people consume around 500 to 1,000 mg of inositol per day on their own. You won’t ever see it on a nutritional label, but it is found in foods such as rice, nuts, legumes, meat, and citrus fruits.
Both choline and inositol are regarded as members of the B vitamin family. Many people believe that taking choline and inositol together provides a synergistic effect. Most people who take choline-inositol are interested in nootropics, which are chemicals intended to enhance your mental abilities. People use nootropics for focus, motivation, learning, memory, etc. Nootropics are often called “smart drugs.”
Choline is necessary for your brain and body to function properly. If you run out of choline, your liver isn’t going to work. It is the precursor to acetylcholine, which affects your ability to learn and remember things.
As you can see, inositol and choline both play a similar role in the liver and your cells. Taking both together can help with fatty acids and with the production of choline so that it can be used to create acetylcholine, increasing your cognitive ability.
For depression and anxiety, regular inositol should do the trick, and the only people I have encountered (so far) using the choline-inositol combination are people interested in smart drugs and enhancing their cognitive focus. You can get choline-inositol in a supplement.
Sometimes shortened to DCI, d-chiro-inositol is referred to as “inositol” but it is questionable as to how closely related they are (kind of like inositol and b vitamins, inositol is a grey area type of guy).
It is known to be important with insulin signal transduction.
D-Chiro-Inositol is primarily used to help with diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and isn’t closely related to anxiety or depression. It comes in a supplement form as well.
Inositol hexanicotinate (also known as inositol hexaniacinate or inositol nicotinate) is inositol and niacin combined together to eliminate the “flush” that comes when people take niacin. It’s purpose is for people to enjoy the benefits of niacin without having to worry about the side effect of becoming redder than an apple and itching all over.
Inositol hexaphosphate is also known as IP6, myo-inositol hexaphosphate, or phytic acid. As you can see, it appears that the people that named the various forms of inositol are still a bit confused as to all the forms and what inositol actually is.
Anyways, inositol hexaphosphate has been shown to be effective in cancer prevention. When combined with inositol, it has a synergistic effect against a variety of cancer types.
Alright, now that you know the different versions of chemical compounds with the word “inositol” in them, we can talk about plain old boring inositol with nothing else added and attached to it.
Other than the generic benefit of providing an essential nutrient that your whole body and your liver needs, inositol has a big role with mood.
This is because inositol plays a role in the levels of serotonin in your brain. I know everyone reading this knows the effects of serotonin on your brain, whether it’s from taking an antidepressant or doing a quick search on Google.
Inositol for Anxiety and Depression
When most people think about fixing anxiety and depression by fixing serotonin levels, they first think of using an SSRI or antidepressant like Celexa or Zoloft. When those things fail, they learn that l-tryptophan and 5-htp can be a natural way to give your brain the natural building blocks that it needs to create more serotonin on its own.
Inositol is one of those things that doesn’t get too much attention but can be just as effective. It is generally safe to take with medications, unlike amino acids which need some more planning before using with antidepressants.
Inositol would be a good idea if you tend to experience things like anxiety and OCD with your depression symptoms.
For people that want to use inositol for general health benefits, 500mg taken twice a day is enough.
The best dosage for most people with insomnia is to take 2 grams of inositol powder in water before bed.
People suffering from OCD or bad anxiety will need to take much more. In some studies, people with OCD had significant improvement from taking 18 grams of an inositol supplement throughout the day and 12 grams of inositol powder was shown to be effective in treating panic disorder.
My Experience with Inositol Powder
I had taken inositol in the past to help with anxiety but nothing with any regularity. I don’t really tend towards OCD and the other supplements had a bigger impact for me.
However, one thing that I have struggled with is not being able to sleep because my body is in the “fight-or-flight” mode. I can generally handle the anxiety I experience in the day but when it affects my sleep, that’s when things get bad.
I went and got some inositol powder here and did an experiment by taking a good spoonful before bed. I ate a spoonful of cashew butter and drank my inositol before going to sleep.
The thing with me is I will never just fall asleep randomly. You know the people that can be sitting there mid-conversation and accidentally fall asleep? Or they can turn on the TV and know that eventually their body will produce a tranquilizing amount of melatonin to knock them out and the next thing they know they are waking up in the morning?
That isn’t me. I have to consciously close my eyes, lay back, have no distractions, and decide I am ready to go to sleep and coax myself into it.
This changed when I took the inositol powder.
Usually I’ll watch a few videos on my phone with night shift enabled while I’m laying in bed before I decide its getting too late to carry on my bad habit of using electronics at night. I won’t fall asleep until I set the phone down and decide it’s time.
When I took inositol, guess what happened? All a sudden 6-7 hours later, I’m waking up with my phone still in my hand, meaning that I had fallen asleep without knowing it.
As you can see in the graph (I track my sleep every night, I’ll have a post for that soon), you can see that I slept more deeply than normal.
Deep sleep is really important for physical recovery and, which with my current health issues, is really important for me. I also sometimes only sleep for 7 hours, so getting over 8 hours of sleep was great.
I also noticed that I felt almost this interesting sense of calmness the next day. I took inositol powder for three days and noticed a calmness that I don’t necessarily experience each time.
Inositol powder is one of those compounds that not too many people hear about. It doesn’t get too much attention.
It comes in a bunch of different forms, but just the regular stuff will do the trick for anxiety and depression.
It is an inexpensive and relatively risk free way to possibly help your depression, sleep, anxiety, and OCD.
You can get inositol powder here. That’s an affiliate link, so if you buy it using my link, I make about $0.03 and it helps support the site.