Choosing the Right Inositol Supplement For Your Needs
Inositol is a popular nutritional supplement. Find out about the different types of inositol on the market, read our in-depth supplement reviews, and learn how to select the one that is best for you.
Inositol is a vitamin-like substance that people take for various medical conditions as well as for maintaining general health.
Inositol is most renowned for its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and help blood sugar control. It also affects important chemical messengers in the brain (for example, the neurotransmitter serotonin), lifts mood and helps with many mental health conditions. Last, but not least, inositol together with its derivate IP6 also exerts significant anti-cancer effect.
Things to Look For in Inositol Supplement
There is a huge range of inositol supplements available. When you are deciding which one to get, you need to take several factors into account.
Types of Inositol Found in Supplements
There are 9 different types (isomers) of inositol. Most supplements contain the isomer, called myo-inositol. The prefix myo is often missing, so if you see only inositol written on the supplement’s label, you are safe to assume that it contains myo-inositol.
There are two main reasons for the popularity of myo-inositol. First one is that myo-inositol is the most prevalent type of inositol found in natural sources. More importantly, though, myo-inositol is also the one inositol that has been most extensively studied for a wide range of health conditions.
There are 2 other types of inositol that are sometimes sold in supplements, which are formulated for specific health conditions. The first type is called d-chiro inositol. This one is rarely sold on its own, but is typically packaged together with myo-inositol. This combination is used predominantly for treating PCOS.
Inositol hexaphosphate is another inositol that you can find in supplements. It is basically an inositol derivate, sold mostly for its anti-cancer effect.
Which Form is Best for You: Powder, Capsules or Packets?
Inositol is generally sold as bulk powder or in capsule form. Sometimes, when the supplement also contains other active ingredients besides inositol, it may be packaged in little packets. These are very convenient as you don’t have to prepare the mix of ingredients at home - you simply put the pre-made packets in your purse or bag and take them along anywhere you go.
Inositol is in the form of fine, white powder. If you take it in bulk form, you simply put it in a glass of water or juice and thoroughly mix so it dissolves completely. The water with inositol has a mild, slightly sweet taste.
Which form you’ll choose, mainly depends on your personal preferences. However, most people who need to take large doses choose bulk powder as it is much cheaper than capsules. Capsules typically contain 500 to 750 mgs of inositol each, so you need to take quite a lot of them to reach therapeutic doses needed for certain conditions.
If you aren’t certain which dose is right for you, read about doses for specific health conditions later on in the article.
Choosing Your Brand
Inositol is a popular supplement, so you can get it from quite a few different manufacturers. It is always best if you go with a well-known brand that is regularly inspected by the FDA and has facilities that adhere to GMP standards. The reason for this is that these manufacturers need to regularly test their supplements for contamination (for example, heavy metals or microbial). They also need to test for identity and potency – meaning that they need to make sure that their supplement does indeed contain the active ingredient at the dose stated on the label.
When choosing your supplement, also read the label and look for fillers and additives. Ideally, choose a supplement with as few unnecessary ingredients as possible (capsules, for example, typically contain the lubricant magnesium stearate; bulk inositol powders, on the other hand, are often without any added ingredients).
How To Take Inositol For Different Health Conditions
Inositol for Mental Health – Depression, OCD, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, etc
Inositol has long been studied for its use in several mental health disorders; predominantly depression and OCD. It has also been shown to help in anxiety and panic attacks. Inositol, however, is not suitable for people with bipolar disorders as there are some concerns that it may trigger manic episodes.
The type of inositol taken for the above mentioned conditions is myo-inositol. Doses of myo-inositol for treating mental health conditions in these studies varied between 12 and 18 grams per day.
Since these doses are fairly high, most people choose inositol in its bulk powder form (capsules are too expensive and not convenient for reaching the required daily dose).
It is advised that you find your own dose by keeping track of how you feel. Also, these doses are so high that you need to start very slowly and work your way up to your long term dose. If you do start off with a large dose, you have higher chances of suffering from side effects of inositol supplementation (mostly gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea and sometimes nausea).
Polycistic Ovary Syndrome
Women with PCOS take 2 types of inositol: myo-inositol and d-chiro inositol. Some take only myo-inositol at the recommended dose 4 grams daily (again, the dose is high enough that the powder seems more convenient than capsules); others prefer the combination of myo and d-chiro inositol.
You can read more details on how to take inositol for treating polycystic ovary syndrome in section: Inositol Supplements for PCOS.
Inositol For Female Fertility and Healthy Pregnancy
Inositol has been shown in several studies to boost the health of health cells and increase the chances of getting pregnant. And during pregnancy, inositol contributes to better blood sugar control and significantly reduces the risk of gestational diabetes. Read more about how to take inositol for achieving healthy pregnancy in the section: Inositol supplements for better egg quality, increased female fertility and healthy pregnancy.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Some people take myo-inositol for managing blood sugar levels. There is no specific recommended dose for this. It is advisable that you start with a small daily amount and monitor carefully your blood sugar levels to find your correct dose. The dose of inositol taken for blood sugar regulation is typically a couple of grams daily.
Some people, but not all, experience weight loss while taking myo-inositol. Most of the effect probably comes from the way inositol helps sensitize cells to the action of insulin. Studies have observed weight loss as an added benefit when inositol was being used for treating women with PCOS (the condition is characterized by insulin resistance). Hence, any person who suffers from insulin resistance may exoerience weight loss as a result of taking inositol.
There is no recommended dose of inositol for weight loss. Women with PCOS have experienced results at 4 grams of myo-inositol daily.
Inositol For Overall Brain Health and Improved Cognitive function (Memory, Learning, Focus)
Myo-inositol is also taken as an overall brain-enhancement supplement; commonly together with choline. Read more about this in the section: Inositol Supplements for Improving Cognitive Function
Myo -Inositol and Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP6) in Anti-cancer Supplements
Myo-inositol has a slight anti-cancer effect itself. Its derivative IP6, though, is well known and extensively studied as a substance for preventing and treating cancer.
The reason why these 2 are often taken together is that some studies suggest that myo-inositol enhances the anti-cancer effects of IP6 (they seem to work synergistically).
Read more in the section: Taking Inositol for Its Anti-cancer Effect (myo-inositol and IP6)
Inositol Capsules (Myo-Inositol)
Inositol capsules are generally taken by those that need smaller daily dose of inositol (up to a couple of grams). They are often used for blood sugar regulation or for treating the symptoms of PCOS (sometimes used together with Metformin).
If you need larger doses, inositol bulk powder will be more convenient to take and considerably cheaper.
Now Foods Inositol Capsules
Now Foods inositol capsules contain 500 mg of inositol per capsule. While inositol itself comes from plant sources, the product as a whole, though, is not suitable for vegetarians - the capsules are made from gelatin.
Now Foods inositol capsules adhere to FDA regulations and are subjected to extensive testing for microbial and heavy metals contamination. They are also tested for identity, which means that the manufacturer makes sure that they indeed contain inositol at the dosage stated on the label.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Now Foods Inositol Capsules
Active ingredients: 1 capsule contains 500mg of inositol (in the form of myo-inositol).
Other ingredients: Rice flour, gelatin (capsule) and magnesium stearate (vegetable source).
Jarrow Formulas Inositol Capsules
Jarrow Formulas offer 750 mg of myo-inositol per capsule. Capsules are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians as they are made from cellulose.
Jarrow Formulas are based in California, USA. Their inositol is derived from rice bran and manufactured in Japan by Tsuno Rice Fine Chemicals.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Jarrow Formulas Inositol Capsules
Active ingredients: 1 capsule contains 750mg of inositol (in the form of myo-inositol).
Other ingredients: Magnesium stearate (vegetable source), silicon dioxide and cellulose. Capsule consists of hydroxypropylmethylcellulose.
Both these capsules come from a reputable manufacturer. The main difference is the amount of myo-inositol per capsules (500mg vs 750mg). It is also important to note that Jarrow Formulas Inositol capsules are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, while Now Foods capsules aren’t since they contain animal sourced gelatin.
Inositol Bulk Powder (Myo-Inositol)
Inositol bulk powder is the most widely used form of inositol supplementation. It is preferred choice for people who take large amounts of inositol. Bulk powder is commonly used for treating:
- sleep disorders
- and other conditions
Jarrow Formulas Inositol Powder
Jarrow formulas powder is the same inositol as the one that is packaged in Jarrow Formulas capsules. The only difference is that this powder is in bulk form. Unlike the capsules, the powder doesn’t have any additives at all (such as anti-caking agents or the lubricant magnesium stearate). For that reason, many people prefer taking powder to capsules.
Inositol in Jarrow powder is derived from rice bran and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Each container has 600 mg of inositol.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Jarrow Formulas Inositol Powder
Active ingredients: 1 container contains 600mg of Inositol (in the form of myo-inositol).
Other ingredients: None
Bulk Supplements Pure Inositol Powder
Bulk Supplements offer a range of nutritional supplements. Their inositol powder is packaged in foil zip pouches, each containing 250 mg of myo-inositol. The word ‘pure’ in the name of the product refers to the fact that the powder doesn’t contain any fillers.
Bulk Supplements are located in Nevada, USA. Their facilities are FDA registered and adhere to cGMP regulations. Bulk Supplements Pure inositol powder is distributed from their US facility; however, origin of the raw material (inositol) is not disclosed. Bulk Supplements employ rigorous internal testing program before distribution, which ensures that their products are safe for consumption.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Bulk Supplements Pure Inositol Powder
Active ingredients: 1 pack contains 250g of inositol (in the form of myo-inositol).
Other ingredients: None.
Jarrow Formulas and Bulk Supplements offer comparable inositol powder. Both of these supplements don’t contain any fillers or additives. A container of Jarrow inositol powder contains 600mg of inositol and 1 pack of Bulk Supplements inositol contains 250mg of inositol powder.
You can’t miss with either of them, so just choose the one that is cheaper at the time of the purchase (be careful to take different amounts of inositol per package into account, though).
Inositol Supplements for PCOS (Myo and D-chiro Inositol)
There are 2 types of inositol that women take for treating the symptoms of PCOS: myo-inositol and d-chiro inositol.
Many women see great results from taking myo-inositol alone. The recommended dose of myo-inositol for PCOS is 4 grams daily, which is quite a lot to take. For that reason, bulk powder is probably a better option than capsules, since it is typically a lot cheaper.
Extensive research supports the use of myo-inositol in PCOS. However, several studies have also examined the combination of myo plus d-chiro inositol for treating PCOS.
Results of these studies have shown that women often gain better results from supplementing with the combination of these 2 types of inositol than from taking only myo-inositol.
While myo-inositol does a great job at normalizing hormone imbalance, ovulation and menstrual cycles, the combination of myo and d-chiro inositol achieves the same positive results. At the same time, it also more efficiently decreases insulin resistance, blood lipids levels and circulating androgens (androgens, such as increased free testosterone lead to excessive body hair and acne, related to PCOS).
Overweight and obese women tend to be the ones that experience best results from taking a combination of myo and d-chiro insositol.
Ovasitol is a supplement formulated specifically for women with PCOS. It contains myo and d-chiro inositol in their ideal supplemental ratio 40:1 (this is the ratio of these two types of inositol in the body).
Ovasitol is packaged into little packets; each box that you buy contains 180 packets. The packets are much more convenient than loose powder, since you can simply put them in your purse and take them with you everywhere you go.
The instructions are to take 2 packets per day, which means that one box of Ovasitol suffices for exactly 90 days.
Besides myo and d-chiro inositol, Ovasitol also contains maltodextrin. This is a carbohydrate, made from starch that is used for thickening. The addition of maltodextrin means that some people are more likely to experience side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and constipation. If this happens to you, you might want to try another inositol product before giving up on inositol altogether.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Ovasitol
Active ingredients: 1 packet contains 2000mg of myo-Inositol and 50mg of d-chiro-Inositol.
Other ingredients: Maltodextrin
Main benefit of Ovasitol is that it contains both myo and d-chiro inositol in their ideal ratio. It is worth a try, especially if you are struggling with weight gain, excessive body hair, and metabolic imbalances (increased blood lipids and severe insulin resistance) due to PCOS.
However, Ovasitol is a fairly expensive product. If you are looking for less costly options, you can try getting only myo-inositol in its powder form (such as Jarrow Inositol Powder). The body naturally converts some part of myo-inositol into d-chiro inositol with the help of the enzyme epimerase - so even by taking myo-inositol alone, you will be getting some amount of d-chiro inositol.
Another option is to combine bulk myo-inositol powder with capsules containing d-chiro iositol (such as Swanson’s D-chiro capsules, which provide 85 mg of d-chiro inositol made from carob extract per capsule).
Inositol Supplements For Better Egg Quality, Increased Female Fertility & Healthy Pregnancy
OvaBoost is a highly popular product for improving the health of egg cells and increasing the chance of pregnancy. Each package contains 120 capsules that suffice for 30 days (recommended use is 4 capsules daily).
OvaBoost contains several ingredients that have been shown to improve female fertility. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
OvaBoost contains vitamin E as mix of several different tocopherols (types of vitamin E). Vitamin E has been extensively studied as a supplement for improving male fertility (it has been shown to increase sperm count and motility). Its role in female fertility is less prominent; however, it is assumed that vitamin E promotes the health of egg cells by protecting them from free radical damage.
The supplement also contains 50mcg of folate per capsule. This is the patented form of Quatrefolic methylfolate, which is more bioavailable than the synthetic form of folate - folic acid. However, the total recommended daily serving (4 capsules of OvaBoost) provides only 200 mcg of folate, which is quite low. Ideally, daily serving of folate should be at least 400 mcg.
Daily serving of OvaBoost gives you 2 grams of myo-inositol. This is half the recommended dose for women with PCOS, so it is questionable whether the supplement will help to regulate cycles and induce ovulation in women with PCOS related hormone imbalance.
However, myo-inositol also plays another role in fertility, which has nothing to do with PCOS. Several studies of women undergoing fertility treatments have shown that myo-inositol significantly improves oocyte (egg cell) quality, embrio quality, and pregnancy rates (3,4). These studies focused on women who have already had failed ICSI procedures, were classified as ‘poor responders’ to stimulation or were patients with PCOS.
OvaBoost also includes the so-called proprietary blend, which consists of antioxidants (such as alpha lipoic acid and grapeseed extract), coenzyme Q10, and melatonin.
Alpha lipoic acid and grapeseed extract
These are well-known antioxidants, which have similar function as the above described vitamin E - that is to protect the egg cells from oxidative damage. Additionally, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to augment the action of myo-inositol. The problem is that the dose needed for that effect would probably need to be larger than the one included in this supplement.
Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most important supplements for female fertility. Its role is even more prominent if you are older than 35 years.
As women get older, the mitochondrial function in egg cells starts to deteriorate (mitochondria are organelles that produce energy in cells). What makes Coq10 so important for female fertility is that besides acting as an antioxidant in general, it has also been shown to restore mitochondrial action in egg cells and alleviate the age-related decline in egg cell quality and quantity (5).
In OvaBoost, coenzyme Q10 is just one of the substances included in the proprietary blend. Even though its amount is not disclosed, it is obvious that it doesn't reach the recommended dose for boosting female fertility (different doses are quoted; however, 200 mgs daily seem to be most common).
Another problem is that OvaBoost contains coenzyme Q10 in its ubiquinone form. CoQ10 has 2 forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol is the one, which is needed in our body. When you consume ubiquinone, it must first be converted to its more bioavailable form ubiquinol before the body can use it.
Last, but not least, OvaBoost also contains melatonin. Its role in female fertility is somewhat problematic. On the plus side, it has been shown to increase the success of IVF procedures – given either alone or with myo-inositol (6, 7).
The downside of melatonin is that it is well known for its ability to decrease FSH, flatten LH surge, and thus prevent ovulation. So, for most women that are trying to get pregnant, melatonin is not a good option.
It is, however, a good supplement for women with high FSH levels who are trying to get pregnant (for example, women diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve). It also works for women undergoing IVF. The reason for this is that IVF uses artificial stimulation of the ovaries, so it is able to override low FSH levels, potentially caused by melatonin supplementation.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: OvaBoost
Active ingredients per capsule:
- 25IU of vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopherol, plus d-beta, d-gamma, and d-delta tocopherols)
- 50mcg of folate (as Quatrefolic)
- 500mg of myo-inositol
- 60.5mg of proprietary blend consisting of alpha lipoic acid, grapeseed extract (85% polyphenols), coenzyme Q10, melatonin.
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide.
At a glance, OvaBoost is a convenient, all-in-one supplement that contains a variety of different substances scientifically proven to increase female fertility. However, there is a catch here. Not all of these substances are suitable for everyone. Also, the amounts of different substances in proprietary blend are not disclosed; however, from the total amount of the blend in daily serving it is clear that individual substances don’t reach their therapeutic dosage.
That is why it would make more sense to create your own stack of fertility enhancing supplements instead of buying this pre-made package (it would probably be a lot cheaper, too).
There are several factors you’ll need to consider when choosing your fertility supplements:
The dose used in studies for balancing hormones and inducing regular ovulation in PCOS is 4 grams daily. This is twice the amount that you will get from OvaBoost. 4 grams is a lot, so the most price efficient option would be to get yourself inositol powder in bulk form (such as Jarrow inositol powder).
However, even if you don’t have PCOS, you might consider inositol supplementation. The reason for this is that several studies have shown that inositol helps to increase egg cell quality and pregnancy rates. In this case, you would need a smaller dose; up to 2 grams daily.
If you are older than 35
Coenzyme Q10 is an important supplement, which is recommended for all women trying to get pregnant. However, for the group of women older than 35 years, coenzyme Q10 is a must-have fertility supplement.
When you are choosing your coenzyme Q10 supplement, look for CQ10 in its bioavailable form, called ubiquinol. You can find a good selection of ubiquinol on Amazon. Check the supplement’s label to see if it contains the patented Kaneka coenzyme Q10 (thought to be the best bioavailable form of ubiquinol). Brands that carry Kaneka ubiquinol include Now Foods, Jarrow, Doctor’s Best and others. Aim for getting 200 mgs of ubiquinol daily.
If you have been diagnosed with low ovarian reserve/high FSH levels
Melatonin has been used to improve pregnancy rates, oocyte and embryo quality in women with low ovarian reserve and poor responders to IVF procedures.
The dose of melatonin used in studies was 3 grams daily. This is a very high dose; especially considering that our pineal gland naturally produces about one tenth of this amount daily.
That is why If you decide to take 3 grams of melatonin, do so under supervision of your doctor.
Most commonly, melatonin is taken sublingually (melatonin drops) or dissolved in the mouth (melatonin 3mg quick dissolve tablets). The reason for this is that these forms have better absorption than capsules that need to go through the GI tract before they reach the systemic circulation.
A word of caution, though…. If you have normal levels of FSH, don’t take melatonin supplement. If you do, it might prevent ovulation and disrupt your menstrual cycles.
General supplements for female fertility
Besides the above mentioned supplements it is generally recommended to take:
- a high quality multivitamin (vitamins and minerals extracted from food sources are much better than the synthetic multivitamins; however, they are also more expensive)
- at least 400 mcg of folate to prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida (bioavailable form of L-methyfolate is preferable to folate in the form of folic acid)
- omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) from a reputable manufacturer to calm down inflammation in your body and build your reserve of DHA fatty acid, which is crucial for the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.
Pregnitude Reproductive Support Supplement
Pregnitude has 2 ingredients: myo-inositol and folic acid. It is packaged in convenient packets that you can easily take along anywhere you go. The instructions are to take 1 packet in the morning and the other in the evening; dissolved into a glass of water.
Pregnitude contains inositol due to its ability to balance hormones, induce ovulation and normalize cycles in women with PCOS. So, women with PCOS will get the most out of Pregnitude supplement.
However, even if you don’t have PCOS, you are going to benefit from inositol as it has been proven to increase egg and embrio quality in several controlled studies on different groups of women. Even more, inositol also has a function later on in pregnancy as it has been shown to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes nearly by half.
Folic acid is included into Pregnitude supplement mainly because it greatly decreases the risk of birth defects (such as the incomplete closure of neural tube). It also has an overall beneficial effect on the development of the baby’s nervous system (see our recommendation below for more details on taking folate and folic acid).
Female egg cells develop in 90 day cycle. So, it is recommended that you start taking folate (and other supplements for increasing egg quality, such as inositol) at least 3 months prior to conception.
Daily serving of Pregnitude (2 packets) provides 4 grams of inositol. This is the generally recommended dose for improving hormone imbalance in PCOS.
Pregnitude also contains 400 mcg of folic acid, which is the daily amount recommended for prevention of birth defects. However, if you’ve had a previous pregnancy that was affected by folic acid deficiency, you will need a much higher dose, which will need to be determined by your health care provider.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Pregnitude Reproductive Support Supplement
Active ingredients: 1 packet contains 200mcg of Folic Acid and 2000mg of Myo-Inositol.
Other ingredients: None:
Pregnitude is a highly popular prenatal supplement. It contains 2 substances that are proven to improve egg quality, pregnancy rates and support the healthy development of the fetus. It is also packaged in convenient little packets, already divided into morning and evening daily dose.
Many women report great results from Pregnitude. And, in fact, this supplement is a solid option; especially if you take its convenience into account.
However, we would recommend that you get inositol and folate separately. There are 2 reasons for that. First, it will cost you less to get inositol powder in bulk form and add an extra folate supplement.
The second reason is even more important. Pregnitude namely contains folate in the form of folic acid. Once you ingest it, folic acid needs to be converted into the bioavalable form of folate, called l-methylfolate. This is done through a series of enzymatic processes. The final process involves the enzyme methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). Some women, unknowingly, have insufficient activity of the MTHFR. So even if they do take folic acid, the levels of folate in their blood and tissues remain low.
Having sufficient folate is essential for the healthy development of the fetus. That is why all women, but especially those with confirmed MTHFR deficiency or a history of neural tube defects and preterm labor should take l-methylfolate instead of folic acid (8).
As an added benefit, l-methylfolate supplementation also supports hemoglobin levels and decreases the risk of anemia in the second and third trimester.
If you decide to get l-methylfolate, you can find a range of l-methylfolate supplements on Amazon. When you are choosing your supplement, don’t forget that you need at least 400 mcg of folate daily.
Taking Inositol For its Anti-Cancer Effect (Inositol Hexaphosphate IP6)
Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP6) has long been studied for its anti-cancer effect. Studies has shown promising results for different kinds of cancers, including colorectal cancers, prostate cancers, skin cancers and melanoma, gastric carcinoma, bladder cancer, liver cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer (inositol used in conjunction with catechins from green tea; showing synergetic results of these 2 substances on pancreatic cancer), and sarcomas.
Much of the research was focused on breast cancer. A 2003 test tube study (9) has shown that IP6 enhances the effect of chemotherapeutic medications adriamycin and tamoxifen. The results were particularly significant for estrogen receptor alpha negative cell lines and for those cancer cell lines that were showing resistance to adriamycin.
Croatian clinical trial in breast cancer patients (10) examined the effects of IP6 plus inositol taken alongside chemotherapy.
Results have shown that women who have taken these 2 substances had better quality of life and less side effects of chemotherapy. Contrary to the placebo group, they did not have a drop in leukocyte and platelet counts. This shows that inositol and IP6 could be a valuable adjuvant therapy for breast cancer patients.
Studies have determined that IP6 affects cancer cells in several different ways: it prevents the cancer from developing, halts the metastatic progression, triggers the apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells, and has anti-angiogenic mechanisms (inhibits the cancer from forming new blood vessels needed for its growth).
There is one thing that we need to take into account, though. A large majority of studies were experimental studies made on animal and in vitro (cancer cell lines) model. That is why many more clinical trials are needed before we can ascertain how IP6 really works as an anti-cancer agent in humans. Anecdotal experience, though, seems to be very promising.
How Do IP6 Supplements Compare to IP6 from Food Sources?
IP6 can be found in many plant sources, including beans, grains and nuts (in the form of phytic acid). That is why many people believe that eating these foods provides adequate levels of IP6. And it is true that high fiber diet shows cancer protective effects on the long run.
However, if you have already been diagnosed with cancer, diet alone won't get you therapeutic concentrations of IP6 into your bloodstream and target tissues. Here is where IP6 supplements are most valuable.
But even people who haven’t been diagnosed with any medical condition often take IP6 supplements. They take small daily doses as a means to support general health and immunity and for cancer prevention (there is some research evidence that pure IP6, such as the one taken in supplement form, is more effective than high fiber intake as a cancer preventive agent (11).
Taking IP6 Alone or in Combination with Myo-Inositol
Most studies on anti-cancer effects of IP6 have used IP6 alone. However, some researchers propose that IP6 in combination with myo-inositol provides the best and most consistent anti-cancer effects (12).
That is why some supplements are formulated in way that they contain both myo-inositol and IP6 (in a patented formula). This is the ratio, which is contained in the IP6 Gold Immune Support Formula supplement (the supplement is reviewed below).
How to Take IP6 Supplements
IP6 supplements are always best taken on an empty stomach. The main reason for this is that this way you will maximize their absorption.
Another reason why taking them on an empty stomach is the way to go is that IP6 is known to impair the absorption of certain minerals (iron, zinc and to an extent calcium). That is why phytic acid (common name for IP6) is sometime called anti-nutrient.
So, if you take your supplement with meals or immediately after meals, you are in danger of developing a mineral deficiency. It is especially important that you pay attention to this if you have previously suffered from iron deficiency anemia. It is worth noting that IP6 can have such strong mineral-binding effects that some people even take it for chelating excess iron and other metals.
Source Naturals IP6
Source Naturals offers IP6 in tablet form. Daily recommended serving is 3 tablets, which provide 2400mg of IP6.
IP6 comes from plant sources. It is packaged in tablets that are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Source Naturals IP6
Active ingredients per tablet:
- 196.67mg of Calcium (as calcium-magnesium inositol hexaphosphate)
- 31.33mg of Magnesium (as calcium-magnesium inositol hexaphosphate)
- 1.67g Sodium
Together yielding 800mg of IP-6.
Other ingredients: Microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, acacia gum, modified cellulose gum, and silica.
IP6 Gold Immune Support Formula
IP6 Gold formula is the original formula, patented by dr. Shamsuddin.
Dr. Shamsuddin is a professor of pathology at University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA. Much of his work has been focused on cancer research and he was among the first to propose the synergetic action of myo-inositol and IP6 against cancer.
These two substances work together to support the immune system. They do this primarily by increasing the activity of the body’s natural killer cells. Inositol and IP6 also exert potent antioxidant effect, which helps protect the DNA integrity of our cells.
Dr. Shamsuddin recommends taking 2 capsules daily for maintaining good health and as a general preventive measure. However, this dose is too small for treating diagnosed medical conditions. It needs to be adjusted accordingly so that you achieve sufficient concentration of the active ingredients in your body (8 or more capsules daily; specific dose depends on each individual). If you have questions about the dosage or other questions related to this supplement, you can contact the manufacturer directly through the contact form on their website: http://ip6gold.com. They typically respond quite fast.
If you need to take large doses, bulk powder would probably be a more convenient choice than capsules. IP6 Gold powder comes in tropical flavor and is sweetened with natural, non-caloric sweetener stevia.
Dr. Shamsuddin himself explains everything about inositol and IP6, their immune support and anti-cancer effect, and how to take these substances for best results in his book: IP6 and Inositol: Nature’s Medicine for the Millenium!
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: IP6 Gold Immune Support Formula
Active ingredients per capsule:
- 75mg of Calcium (from IP-6)
- 100mg of Phosphorus (from IP-6)
- 21mg of Magnesium (from IP-6)
- 400mg of IP-6 (Inositol Hexaphosphate from calcium magnesium phytate)
- 110mg of Inositol
Other ingredients: Hypromellose capsule (derived from cellulose), Leucine
IP6 alone as well as the combination of these 2 substances both show striking anti-cancer effects in lab studies. Which supplement you choose, therefore mainly depends on your personal preferences. Most people, though, decide for the combination formula, contained in IP6 Gold.
Inositol Supplements for Improving Cognitive Function: Myo-Inositol With Choline
Choline is a vitamin-like nutrient, which is involved in many different processes in the body.
Choline plays an important part in the normal metabolism of fats. It supports the transfer of fats from the liver and is crucial for liver health (choline deficiency causes fat and cholesterol to accumulate in the liver, which leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).
In the brain, choline acts as a precursor for acetylcholine. This is the neurotransmitter that is critical for cognitive functions. In childhood, choline is crucial for healthy development of the brain. Later on in life, choline contributes to better cognitive action (such as improved memory, enhanced focus, better language skills, etc).
Inositol, too, is known for its beneficial effect on the brain. Taken together, inositol and choline synergistically contribute to overall brain and nervous system health.
Now Foods Choline and Inositol Capsules
Now Foods capsules offer myo-inositol and choline conveniently packaged together. Each capsule contains 250 mg of myo-inositol and 250 mg of choline.
The source of choline in this supplement is choline bitartrate, which is somewhat problematic if you are planning to use choline for improved cognitive action (take a look at the section 'Our recommendation' below for more details).
Get more info and read customer reviews on Amazon: Now Foods Choline and Inositol Capsules
Active ingredients: 1 capsule contains 250mg of choline (from choline bitartrate) and 250mg of inositol.
Other ingredients: Gelatin (capsule) and magnesium stearate (vegetable source)
Many people take these myo-inositol and choline together for better cognitive function (memory, focus, etc) and brain health.
Major problem with Now Foods capsules is that they containe choline in the form of choline bitartrate. This form doesn’t reliably increase the brain concentrations of choline. That is why it is not really suited for people who are looking for choline as a brain-enhancement supplement (still valuable, though, for those who take choline for liver health).
There are other forms of choline that are much more efficient supplements for brain health. These forms are called CDP Choline and Alpha GPC. As a rule, both of these are much more expensive than choline bitartrate (which is the reason why choline bitartrate is used in so many nutritional supplements).
Also, a word of caution. While choline is considered an essential nutrient for our health, a study from 2007 (13) has indicated that a diet high in choline may contribute to the development of colon polyps in women (growths in the colon, which may later on become cancerous).
This is not a conclusive study, since it is possible that other dietary factors contributed to the development of polyps. Still, it is generally advised that women take choline supplements with caution (especially women with a history of colon polyps).
- M. Nordio and E. Proietti. The Combined therapy with myo-inositol and D-Chiro-inositol reduces the risk of metabolic disease in PCOS overweight patients compared to myo-inositol supplementation alone. (2012)
- Unfer V and Porcaro G. Updates on the myo-inositol plus D-chiro-inositol combined therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome. (2014)
- Caprio F et al. Myo-inositol therapy for poor-responders during IVF: a prospective controlled observational trial. (2015)
- Brusco GF and Mariani M. Inositol: effects on oocyte quality in patients undergoing ICSI. An open study. (2013)
- Ben-Meir A et al. Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. (2015)
- Vitale SG et al. How to Achieve High-Quality Oocytes? The Key Role of Myo-Inositol and Melatonin. (2016)
- Rizzo P et al. Effect of the treatment with myo-inositol plus folic acid plus melatonin in comparison with a treatment with myo-inositol plus folic acid on oocyte quality and pregnancy outcome in IVF cycles. A prospective, clinical trial. (2010)
- James A Greenberg and Stacey J Bell. Multivitamin Supplementation During Pregnancy: Emphasis on Folic Acid and l-Methylfolate. (2011)
- Tantivejkul K et al. Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) enhances the anti-proliferative effects of adriamycin and tamoxifen in breast cancer. (2003)
- Bacić I et al. Efficacy of IP6 + inositol in the treatment of breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: prospective, randomized, pilot clinical study. (2010)
- Shamsuddin AM and Vucenik I. Mammary tumor inhibition by IP6: a review. (1999)
- Vucenik I and Shamsuddin AM. Cancer inhibition by inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) and inositol: from laboratory to clinic. (2003)
- Eunyoung Cho et al. Dietary Choline and Betaine and the Risk of Distal Colorectal Adenoma in Women. (2007)