Inositol is found in all tissues and the highest levels are found in the brain and heart. It also plays an important role for the process of fats by the liver. It helps maintain the functioning of the muscles and nerves. Inositol has also been unofficially called vitamin B8. A natural source of this vitamin is found in whole grains, melons, oranges and nuts. You can purchase it in powder form in natural health food stores and online. It is sold as a dietary supplement.
Inositol is really a natural sugar alcohol and is beneficial in raising serotonin levels in the brain. Inositol is stored in the spinal column, cerebral spinal fluid, the heart muscle and brain. There is more of this vitamin in the body than any other vitamin except for niacin. It has recently been found to be highly effective in treating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in which low levels of serotonin are associated. OCD is a mental disorder. Characteristics of OCD are intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety. OCD is evident by repetitive behavior one does to lower anxiety levels. For instance, the person may fear the door has been left unlocked and will repeatedly go back to check the door to make sure it is locked. People who have OCD may appear to be paranoid. Other people may judge people who have OCD as being psychotic. OCD is the fourth most common mental disorder in the United States. About one in 50 adults in the United States are diagnosed with OCD.
Various research studies have been done on inositol for OCD. In one study participants were given 18 grams of inositol per day for six weeks. 18 mg is 2 teaspoonfuls three times a day in juice. They were able to measure a positive response in the OCD participants. There was a marked improvement over the other participants who took the placebo for the same amount of time.
Inositol is sold in powder from or in capsules. The powder form is absorbed in the body faster than the capsules. To take inositol for OCD you mix 1 teaspoonful of the powder in water or juice twice a day. This dose should be taken every day for a week. After one week you can increase the dosage by 1 teaspoonful a week if there is no gastric upset. You continue increasing the dosage until you are up to 10 teaspoonfuls a day. You are supposed to divide the dosage in have and take 5 teaspoonfuls in the morning and 5 teaspoonfuls at night. Inositol can make some people drowsy. It takes several months for this supplement to build up enough to be beneficial for OCD. If your OCD symptoms are not improved after 6 months you should consult your medical doctor for further treatment.
In the United States the typical daily diet provides about 1,000 mg a day. If you want to increase your inositol for OCD naturally you should eat more fruits like melons, bananas, nuts, seeds and legumes, wheat germ, brown rice, oat flakes, unrefined molasses, raisins and vegetables, brewers yeast and liver.
The common side effects from taking inositol supplements are tiredness, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, gas and headaches. This supplement should not be taken for Bipolar disorder as it can make the highs and lows of this disorder more pronounced. You should not take this supplement when you are taking lithium. Some people are allergic to inositol and can develop a life threatening allergic reaction. An allergic reaction is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, rapid heart rate, swelling of the face and extremities. A person who is allergic to inositol can go into anaphylactic shock if they are taking inositol supplements. Pregnant women or nursing mothers should not take this supplement.