Table of Contents
- 1 What is myo-inositol?
- 2 Myo-inositol promotes the euthyroid state
- 3 Are there any side effects of myo-inositol supplementation?
- 4 Sources of myo-inositol and supplement dosage
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 References
The butterfly-shaped gland carries out important functions in a human body.
Although it’s powerful enough to regulate your metabolism, hormone production, and what not thyroid is still gentle and prone to conditions and problems that negatively affect its function.
Millions of people around the globe experience problems such as hypothyroidism, but there’s a lot you can do to improve the function of this gland. You’ve probably heard or read that myo-inositol supports the function of the butterfly-shaped gland, but you’re not sure what it is or whether it’s correct.
Scroll down to find out.
What is myo-inositol?
Myo-inositol, or inositol, is a carbolic sugar present in abundance in the human brain and other places in the body, but it’s also found in some foods. Basically, inositol is a sugar alcohol that mediates cell signal transduction in response to various hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors.
What many people don’t know is that myo-inositol belongs to the group of B-complex vitamins. Due to the fact that inositol an important component of cell membranes and its crucial for the maintenance of a normal number of protein particles.
Myo-inositol also has a significant role in various biological processes which is why it’s strongly associated with good health and wellbeing. That’s why it comes as no surprise that inositol is linked to stronger thyroid function.
Below, we’re going to take a closer look at this alcoholic sugar and find out whether it can really strengthen the functioning of your butterfly-shaped gland.
Myo-inositol promotes the euthyroid state
Even though myo-inositol is a subject of many studies, its relationship with thyroid function is not researched enough. We can expect more studies to explore the direct relationship between inositol and thyroid in the future, but current evidence is promising.
Nordio et al. found that supplementation with myo-inositol together with selenium is able to restore the euthyroid state and to improve the wellbeing of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, i.e. autoimmune thyroiditis.
Their study showed that inositol acts on TSH levels lowering them when they’re too high and elevating them when they’re too low. In addition, scientists found that quality of life and concentration of thyroid hormones significantly improved in all patients at the end of the study period[i].
That is the most recent piece of evidence which inspects a direct relationship between inositol and thyroid function and scientists call for more research of this kind in order to elucidate all the benefits of this alcoholic sugar on your thyroid.
Other studies on myo-inositol exist, and they point to an indirect impact of it on this gland.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Some estimates show that one in 10 women[ii] have PCOS meaning it’s a prevalent condition. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and face metabolism problems that affect their health.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but various factors play a role such as excess insulin (increases androgen production), low-grade inflammation, heredity, and higher levels of androgen hormones.
In some cases, PCOS is a response to substantial weight gain. Signs and symptoms associated with PCOS involve irregular periods, excess androgen, and formation of cysts on ovaries.
PCOS affects different aspects of your health, including thyroid function. Singla et al. explain that recent publications show the prevalence of thyroid disorders in women with PCOS has increased. Underlying mechanisms that link two conditions are unknown, but it could be down to higher BMI and insulin resistance, which are common in both PCOS and hypothyroidism.
At the same time, PCOS is known to be a hyperestrogenic state. Hyperestrogenism could explain the occurrence of autoimmune diseases in women[iii], scientists deduce. This could also elaborate the link between PCOS and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Other studies show that although there seems to be no link between the underlying causes of hypothyroidism and PCOS these two conditions have different things in common such as higher cholesterol, decreased serum SHBG, increased testosterone levels, and elevated luteinizing hormone. It also confirmed the link between PCOS and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis[iv].
As you can see, a growing body of evidence points to a strong relationship between PCOS and autoimmune thyroiditis, and other thyroid-related problems. This is where myo-inositol steps in. Back in 2009, Zacchè et al. found that myo-inositol administration is a simple and safe treatment that ameliorates the metabolic profile of subjects with PCOS, but it also reduced their acne and hirsutism[v] (male-pattern hair growth in women).
A study from 2016 revealed that inositols might help in alleviating metabolic, menstrual/ovulatory, and cutaneous hyperandrogenic features of PCOS[vi].
In 2017, Unfer et al. published a review of the available evidence on this subject and it showed that supplementation with inositols, primarily myo-inositol, improves the metabolic profile of PCOS patients[vii].
On the other hand, Regidor et a. published their study in March 2018 issue of Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation which revealed that myo-inositol proves to be a new treatment option for patients with PCOS and infertility[viii].
Basically, myo-inositol has the tremendous potential to aid management of PCOS symptoms which can, in turn, also support proper thyroid function.
Diabetes is associated with high blood glucose levels and insulin resistance or insufficient production of the hormone.
Thyroid problems, primary hypothyroidism, are linked with diabetes according to scientific evidence. One study found that the prevalence of hypothyroidism is high in patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly in those above 45 years of age and whose BMI is over 25[ix].
Thyroid participates in the regulation of metabolism and abnormalities in its function can have a significant impact on the management of diabetes. Hypothyroidism causes major changes in blood glucose control and aggravates blood lipid levels which also worsen blood sugar levels.
Diabetes isn’t a type of diseases that one can cure with medications, but it can be managed effectively. Myo-inositol proves to be an effective agent in the management of diabetes. Dang et al. found that oral supplementation with myo-inositol stimulates glucose uptake in skeletal muscle cells thus causing a decrease in blood sugar levels[x].
It’s also important to mention that myo-inositol can mimic the effects of insulin and promote insulin sensitivity and it decreases urine glucose concentrations which could be helpful for a decrease of high blood sugar levels after eating in people who are insulin resistant.
Through improved diabetes management, myo-inositol can also support thyroid function. This is yet another indirect mechanism through which myo-inositol can make this gland work better.
In other words, increasing levels of myo-inositol or supplementation can promote weight loss or aid weight management. What makes myo-inositol so useful is that its weight loss effects are also visible in obese women. Not only does weight loss aid management of diabetes and PCOS, but it’s also important for the treatment of hypothyroidism.
You see, the body composition is strongly related with thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate thermogenesis, metabolism, participate in glucose and lipid metabolism, and play a significant role in fat oxidation and food intake. Problems affecting thyroid gland induce changes in body weight and composition.
For example, hypothyroidism decreases metabolic rate and thermogenesis, increases BMI, and promotes overweight and obesity[xiii]. This explains why hypothyroid patients tend to gain weight. Of course, it’s needless to mention that weight gain only aggravates thyroid function and intensifies symptoms of hypothyroidism.
By promoting weight loss and allowing you to keep weight in a healthy range, myo-inositol can also indirectly support function of the thyroid gland.
Myo-inositol lowers inflammation
Your body needs a certain degree of inflammation in order to strengthen the immune response, heal wounds, among other things.
However, long-term inflammation is bad news, and it paves the way to autoimmune conditions and other health-related problems. Evidence confirms that patients with hypothyroidism have an increased expression of pro-inflammatory markers which could elevate the risk of heart disease. If hypothyroidism is left untreated or unmanaged properly, the concentration of inflammatory markers increases[xiv].
Adequate management of inflammation would make it easier to treat thyroid-related problems, particularly autoimmune thyroiditis.
Fortunately, studies show that D-Chiro-inositol which the body converts from myo-inositol exhibits anti-inflammatory activity[xv]. Therefore, it’s easy to conclude that by exhibiting anti-inflammatory effects, myo-inositol can protect your body including thyroid from harmful effects of inflammation and support function of this gland.
Besides the above-mentioned effects of myo-inositol, there are many other benefits associated with increased levels of this B-complex vitamin. These benefits include:
- Antioxidant properties
- Metabolic syndrome management
- Supports brain health
- Promotes good mood and mental health
- Protects lungs
- Prevents heart disease
- Longer lifespan
Are there any side effects of myo-inositol supplementation?
Many people take myo-inositol supplements, or they consider doing so.
You’re probably wondering whether there are some major side effects you need to remember. Generally speaking, myo-inositol is well-tolerated, and it doesn’t induce some major adverse reactions.
Risks of side effects are very low and could include nausea, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, gas, headache, and headache. The best way to avoid side effects is to avoid taking excessive amounts of supplements. Make sure you stick to the recommended dosage.
Sources of myo-inositol and supplement dosage
Myo-inositol is produced in our body naturally, but it’s also present in some foods. The best sources of myo-inositol are beans, fruits, nuts, and grains. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a higher level of myo-inositol than frozen, salt-free, and canned products.
Good sources of this B-complex vitamin are also cantaloupe and citrus fruits other than lemon while bran and oats are more abundant in this compound than other grains.
Due to the fact that some people don’t obtain enough myo-inositol through diet alone, supplementation proves to be an effective method of supplying the body with sufficient levels of inositol. Dosages vary depending on the condition that is to be treated.
At this point, there is no specific or optimal dose for management of thyroid problems or support to thyroid health. For PCOS it’s usually advised to take 2g of myo-inositol twice a day for six months, metabolic syndrome management usually calls for 2g twice a day for one year.
The best thing to do is to consult your healthcare provider. The physician will explain whether myo-inositol can truly help improve thyroid function and provide useful information regarding dosages. Avoid to increase or decrease the supplement dose on your own.
Myo-inositol is an alcoholic sugar and a B-complex vitamin that successfully manages a number of health problems and concerns. Numerous studies have confirmed that supplementation with this compound can help manage symptoms of PCOS, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, just to name a few.
The compound proved to be effective for the promotion of euthyroid state in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis. There aren’t many studies that focus on this specific subject, but current evidence on indirect links show myo-inositol could support thyroid health.
[i] Nordio M, Basciani S. Treatment with Myo-Inositol and Selenium Ensures Euthyroidism in Patients with Autoimmune Thyroiditis. Int J Endocrinol. 2017;2017:2549491. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331475/
[ii] Polycystic ovary syndrome, WomensHealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome
[iii] Singla R, Gupta Y, Khemani M, Aggarwal S. Thyroid disorders and polycystic ovary syndrome: An emerging relationship. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2015;19(1):25-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4287775/
[iv] Du D, Li X. The relationship between thyroiditis and polycystic ovary syndrome: a meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2013;6(10):880-9. Published 2013 Oct 25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3832324/
[v] Zacchè MM, Caputo L, Filippis S, et al. Efficacy of myo-inositol in the treatment of cutaneous disorders in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology 2009 Aug;25(8):508-13. Doi: 10.1080/09513590903015544 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19551544
[vi] Kalra B, Kalra S, Sharma JB. The inositols and polycystic ovary syndrome. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016;20(5):720-724. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5040057/
[vii] Unfer V, Facchinetti F, Orrù B, Giordani B, Nestler J. Myo-inositol effects in women with PCOS: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Endocr Connect. 2017;6(8):647-658. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5655679/
[viii] Regidor PA, Schindler AE, Lesoine B, Druckman R. Management of women with PCOS using myo-inositol and folic acid. New clinical data and review of the literature. Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation 2018 Mar 2;34(2). Doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2017-0067 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29498933
[ix] Demitrost L, Ranabir S. Thyroid dysfunction in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A retrospective study. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;16(Suppl 2):S334-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603066/
[x] Dang NT, Mukai R, Yoshida K, Ashida H. D-pinitol and myo-inositol stimulate translocation of glucose transporter 4 in skeletal muscle of C57BL/6 mice. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 2010;74(5):1062-7. Doi: 10.1271/bbb.90963 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20460718
[xi] Andersen DB, Holub BJ. The relative response of hepatic lipids in the rat to graded levels of dietary myo-inositol and other lipotropes. Journal of Nutrition 1980 Mar;110(3):496-504. Doi: 10.1093/jn/110.3.496 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7359221
[xii] Croze ML, Géloen A, Soulage CO. Abnormalities in myo-inositol metabolism associated with type 2 diabetes in mice fed a high-fat diet: benefits of a dietary myo-inositol supplementation. British Journal of Nutrition 2015 Jun 28;113(12):1862-75. Doi: 10.1017/S000711451500121X https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25990651
[xiii] Sanyal D, Raychaudhuri M. Hypothyroidism and obesity: An intriguing link. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016;20(4):554-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4911848/
[xiv] Gupta G, Sharma P, Kumar P, Itagappa M. Study on Subclinical Hypothyroidism and its Association with Various Inflammatory Markers. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(11):BC04-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668398/
[xv] Fortis-Barrera A, Alarcon-Aguilar FJ, Banderas-Dorantes T, et al. Cucurbita ficifolia Bouche (Cucurbitaceae) and D-chiro-inositol modulate the redox state and inflammation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 2013 Oct;65(10):1563-76. Doi: 10.1111/jphp.12119 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24028624