Inositol and PCOS
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What is it?
Inositol is a member of the B-vitamins and a component of the cell membrane.
There are several forms of inositol with myo-inositol (MI) and d-chiro-inositol
(DCI) showing therapeutic value. In the body, MI makes DCI. It is believed that
women with PCOS have insulin resistance because of a deficiency of DCI.
Besides improvement in insulin, there are many reasons women with PCOS may
want to take this supplement as inositol has been linked to improved triglyceride
and testosterone levels, as well as improved blood pressure, ovulation and
PCOS & inositol
Only a handful of studies were conducted on MI and DCI and PCOS, all showing
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 1200mg of DCI
was given to women with PCOS for 6 to 8 weeks while another group received a
placebo. Results: DCI increased the action of insulin, decreased androgens,
triglycerides, blood pressure and improved ovulation (86% of women ovulated).
In a study published in. Gynecological Endocrinology, 25 women received MI for
six months. The results: 88% of patients had one spontaneous menstrual cycle
during treatment, of whom 72% maintained normal ovulatory activity. A total of 10
pregnancies (40% of patients) were obtained.
Infertility & inositol
While DCI has been shown to be effective at improving insulin, MI, it's
predecessor, is showing to be superior at improving fertility.
A study published in the European Review Medical Pharmacology examined the
effects of both forms of inositol in women with PCOS undergoing fertility
treatments. One group received 2g of MI twice daily and a second group with .6g
of DCI twice daily. Women who received MI had better, more mature eggs and
more pregnancies than those who took DCI.
Generally, inositol well tolerated but can cause nausea, fatigue, headaches and
dizziness. No interactions with herbs and supplements are known. There is
concern, however, that high consumption of inositol might exacerbate bipolar
disorder. Dosage is 200 to 2,000 mg daily. As always, check with your physician
before starting inositol.
Carlomagno G, Unfer V, Roseff S. The D-chiro-inositol paradox in the ovary. Fertil Steril.
Unfer V, Carlomagno G, Rizzon P, Raffone E, Roseff S. Myo-inositol rather than D-chiro-inositol
is able to improve oocyte quality in intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles. A prospective,
controlled, randomized trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2011;15(4):452-7.
Galazis N, Galazi M, Atiomo W. d-Chiro-inositol and its significance in polycystic ovary syndrome:
a systematic review. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2011;27(4):256-62
Papaleo, E., Unfer, V., Baillargeon, J.P., et al. (2007). Myo-inositol in patients with polycystic
ovary syndrome: A novel method for ovulation induction. Gynecological Endrocrinology,23 (12):
Nestler J, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, Gunn R. Ovulatiory and metabolic effects of D-Chiro-
Inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. New Eng J Med 1999;340(17):1314-1320.
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