Can Inositol Benefit Those With Type 2 Diabetes?
We have been recommending inositol to women with PCOS for years at the PCOS Nutrition Center. And for good reason: A combination of myo and d-chiro inositol (Ovasitol) have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and gestational diabetes, and inositol helps to improve fertility by improving egg quality and ovulation.
I saw the benefits of taking inositol firsthand after researching the published studies about it. As a woman with PCOS, I took metformin for years along with making changes to my lifestyle. This kept my hemoglobin A1C (or Ha1c) at 5.4% (prediabetes is considered at 5.7% and diabetes at 7% or higher). I started taking 4 grams of myo inositol daily. Within 3 months of regular use, my Ha1c went down to 5.1%. I kept taking it and 3 months later (6 months of using inositol) my Ha1c went down to 4.9%. I was thrilled! Metformin never did that for me.
I’ve often been asked if inositol can help those suffering from type 2 diabetes. The answer was always, we don’t know because there were no studies at the time. Until now.
Inositol For Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes
In a small (20 people) pilot study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, researchers looked at the metabolic effects of taking a combination of myo-inositol (550 mg) and d-chiro-inositol (13.8 mg), in male and female individuals with type 2 diabetes. Inositols were given in a 40:1 ratio to mimic the level seen in human tissues. Inositols were taken orally, twice a day, as an add-on supplement to their glucose-lowering drugs like metformin. Participants in the study also followed a low GI diet.
The results were exciting. After 3 months of use, individuals who took the combined dosage of inositol saw significant reductions in their fasting glucose (192.6 versus 160.9) and Ha1c levels (8.6% versus 7.7%).
None of the subjects reported any side effects of taking the inositols, even with their glucose-lowering medications.
The researchers were surprised by the Ha1c reduction of 1.0 to 1.5% in a short amount of time, stating the benefits of combining myo and d-chiro inositol can help to achieve glycemic control. The researchers concluded:
“As an effective insulin sensitizer, inositol could represent a possible alternative to metformin or pioglitazone that are typically used as insulin sensitizer glucose-lowering drugs, when their use is not possible (i.e., metformin intolerance, drugs contraindications).”
While this study is only a pilot study, it provides encouraging results that a combination of myo and d-chiro inositol in a 40:1 ratio is a safe way to help regulate blood sugar levels in those suffering from type 2 diabetes in addition to their current diabetes medications. It’ll be interesting to see what future long-term randomized trials that use inositol in individuals with type 2 diabetes show.
Pintaudi B, Di Vieste G, Bonomo M.The Effectiveness of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro Inositol Treatment in Type 2 Diabetes. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;2016:9132052.
Have you seen improvements in your glucose or Ha1c levels by taking inositol? Share your experiences with us below.