De-Mystifying Myo-Inositol

- July 22, 2012
myo-inositol, Fertility, PCOS Supplements

Lately, myo-inositol seems to be the other “m”-word in the PCOS world (the first being metformin).  There is a lot of very positive research coming out about myo-inositol and how it helps women with PCOS.  You may have even heard the buzz about a new PCOS supplement that recently hit the U.S. market called Pregnitude.  Well, Pregnitude is a very high quality pharmaceutical grade myo-inositol with folic acid supplement that is being marketed to help women with PCOS increase fertility.  I am happy to say that it can help with a whole lot more! I do want to state up front that this is not a miracle pill.  It needs to be used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look…

 

What is myo-inositol?

 

Myo-inositol is NOT a pharmaceutical drug.  It is a naturally occurring substance produced in the human body that belongs to the vitamin B complex group. Myo-inositol is one of nine different types of inositol and can be found naturally in many foods such as fruits, nuts and beans.It is a precursor to a number of  ”signaling molecules” that essentially tell cells how to behave. Of the nine different types of inositol, two have insulin-sensitizing capabilities: myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol (My focus for this article is going to be on myo-inositol.) Myo-inositol is integral to properly functioning insulin-receptors and has also been linked to the activation of serotonin (a “feel good” hormone) receptors, which could relieve depression and improve appetite, mood and anxiety (1, 2).

PCOS has been linked to a deficiency in myo-inositol.  Myo-inositol can be synthesized by the body from food, but when we are already deficient, the lack of myo-inositol can impact the ability of the body to be sensitive to insulin.  Women with PCOS are also known to have a defect in their insulin-signaling pathways which are heavily dependent upon inositol-containing substances (phosphoglycan mediators). Supplying extra myo-inositol appears to temporarily correct the malfunctioning insulin pathways and reduce the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance.  So in addition to helping with insulin sensitivity, what else can myo-inositol do?

 

Helps acne and hirtuism

A study conducted in Italy with 50 PCOS women who took myo-inositol for three months, found that plasma LH, testosterone, free testosterone and insulin were significantly reduced.  In 6 months of taking myo-inositol, both hirsutism and acne decreased. The researchers concluded, “MYO [inositol] administration is a simple and safe treatment that ameliorates the metabolic profile of patients with PCOS, reducing hirsutism and acne.”

Induces menses and increases chances of ovulation

In another study conducted in Italy in 2007, researchers followed 25 women with oligo-amenorrhea (irregular menses) or amenorrhea (no menses) due to PCOS. Myo-inositol and folic acid were given daily as INOFOLIC. Those treated had at least one menstrual cycle, and of these, seventy two percent continued ovulating normally. Forty percent of the women became pregnant and the study concluded that, “Myo-inositol is a simple and safe treatment that is capable of restoring spontaneous ovarian activity and consequently fertility in most patients with PCOS. This therapy did not cause multiple pregnancy.”

Helps with weight loss and appetite control

A randomized double-blind trial which is the gold standard of research, gave 92 women either 400 mcg of folic acid as a placebo or 4 g myo-inositol plus 400 mcg folic acid. Researchers discovered that ovulation significantly increased, as did the frequency of normal progesterone values in the luteal phase and estradiol levels in the myo-inositol group.

This study noted less metabolic benefits to those women who were overweight, but also that the myo-inositol group lost a significant amount of weight and had lowered leptin (an appetite regulating hormone) levels. The researchers concluded that, ”These data support a beneficial effect of myo-inositol in women with oligomenorrhea and polycystic ovaries in improving ovarian function.”

 

Improves egg quality

Another study showed that high levels of myo-inositol within follicles may be a marker for good follicular development and good oocyte or egg quality. The researchers stated, “We propose that higher concentrations of MI (Myo-inositol) and E2 (estradiol) in human FF (follicular fluid) appear to play a role in follicular maturity and provide a marker of good quality oocytes. In conclusion, follicles containing good quality oocytes have higher concentrations of MI (Myo-inositol) in FF (follicular fluid)”

Another study published last April measured the effects of both myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol in women undergoing fertility treatments. The results showed that women who received myo-inositol had better quality and more mature eggs. They also had more pregnancies than those who took d-chiro-inositol.

Ask your doctor about supplementing with myo-inositol

This is your health and if you like what you just read, then talk to your doctor about taking myo-inositol and Pregnitude. Chances are your doctor may have never even heard of myo-inositol as a therapy for PCOS. My advice is to be, “A Diva at the Doctor.”  Advocate for yourself.  Bring copies of these studies and articles to your appointment. Ask for their support.  If they aren’t receptive, think about whether this is a partnership you want to continue.  When a supplement has minimal to no side effects and shows so many results, I think it is worth fighting for.

For more info about Myo-inositol and Pregnitude read Does Pregnitude Really Work and What is Pregnitude?

You can purchase Pregnitude here…

1.“Biochemistry”; Molecular level interaction of the human acidic fibroblast growth factor with the antiangiogenic agent, inositol hexaphosphate; Kumar SM, et al; 2010

2.”Metabolic Brain Diseases”; Effects of myo-inositol versus fluoxetine and imipramine pretreatments on serotonin 5HT2A and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in human neuroblastoma cells; Brink CB, et al; 2004

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35 Comments

  • Jessica says:

    I think I’d like to try Pregnitude. Can I take it and Metformin?

    • Amy says:

      Jessica and Bethany- I posed the question to Dr. Roseff and here is his reply –

      Q: Can you take Pregnitude with Metformin?

      A: ” I prefer to see if Pregnitude alone helps my patient, without having them take Metformin. This can be evaluated over a 3-6 month time frame, depending on each patient’s individual situation. If I don’t see a significant change in insulin processing on the Pregnitude alone, then I add the Metformin at that time. In fact, since the introduction of Pregnitude in the U.S., I have given my PCOS patients taking Metformin the choice of stopping the Metformin and switching to solely Pregnitude. Of course, if we need to treat with both Pregnitude and Metformin concomitantly, I don’t have a problem with this regimen. It’s important that patients be properly monitored and have their therapies adjusted and tailored along the way; I don’t practice “cookbook medicine” with which everyone is given the same recipe, because every women is different!” ~ Scott Roseff, MD FACOG

  • Anna says:

    Hi there,
    First of all thanks Amy for the great article. I was just wondering if this supplement was avaliable in New Zealand?
    Thanks loads for your help.

    • Amy says:

      I don’t know Anna – I think Everett Labs can only distribute in the US. I would contact http://www.inofolic.it in Italy.

      • Four leaf clover says:

        Hi, I’m in Nz also and have been researching where to buy inofolic. I’ve just found a website called brandmedicines.com and they also ship for free. They also use PayPal as a safe payment method. Let me know if you go ahead with the purchase. I’m contemplating doing the same as I have been advised to stop taking metformin whilst ttc. Although since doing this I have stopped ovulating and my 35 day regular period has stopped! :( I’m looking into alternative therapies to try and induce ovulation again. Currently taking vitex and fertilaid but nothing yet. I’m beginning to think why I was told to stop taking metformin after taking it for 6 years with no problems and regular cycles!!! Grrrrr!

  • Diana Lee says:

    Thanks for this great information. I’ve been supplementing with D-chiro-inositol and having positive results, but this is the first I’ve read about Myo-inositol.

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi; my doctor switched me to Pregnitude in place of Metformin almost two months ago. My periods were fairly regular at the time, but my insulin and testosterone was way off. I also have an IUD. I am single, and not only am I not engaged in “adult” activities, I am definitely not ready for pregnancy at this time in life. My question is, since I began the pregnitude I have not had a single period. I have gone through PMS symptoms, but no menstruation. Should I be greatly concerned? Or, does it take a while for this suppliment to really regulate? I have looked for answers everywhere, but I am coming up empty. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  • Sammy says:

    Is Pregnitude safe during pregnancy? Also, does it help with gestational diabetes like metformin claims to?

  • Diane says:

    Is this also recommended for women who have PCOS but aren’t looking to get pregnant?

  • Jodie says:

    I’ve just bought Inositol tablets for egg quality (I don’t have PCOS, just poor quality eggs & I’m 39). Have I bought the wrong ones, should I be specifically looking for myo-inositol? Also, once pregnant, should inositol still be taken? Many thanks x

  • Jennifer says:

    Is there anyway to just purchase myo inositol? I already supplement plenty of folic acid from what my naturopath gives me so I feel like if I use pregnitude I would be over doing it.

  • Amber Hackman says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I have a group for women with pcos who are taking Pregnitude and we share our experiences with it, ttc or not.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/371389182925718/

  • Kelly Bruce says:

    Hi, im 33 and from the uk, is it available here or get shipped here ?

  • Jan says:

    Would Pregnitude be helpful with insulin resistance and weight loss/control if you have had a total hysterectomy? I have had PCOS most of my adult life and fibroids necessitated the hysterectomy/oopherectomy. Can I still benefit?
    Thanks for the info!

  • Christine C says:

    Is there a link/whitepaper to information I can present to my doctor regarding myo & pregnitude. I’d like to share this info, but my doc is dubious of anything not written up in a medical journal.

  • M says:

    you might be interested in also joining our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3psPcosPregnitudePregnancy/

    3Ps: PCOS, Pregnitude, Pregnancy or 4Ps: PCOS, Pregnitude, Pregnancy, Parenting!

  • [...] Hi I'm a slim pcos-er and have been reading some interesting things about inositol in pcos. http://pcosdiva.com/2012/07/de-mystifying-myo-inositol/ Anyone tried this? I've bought some inositol – just wondering if there are any stories out there [...]

  • LWgastil says:

    This is very interesting. I’m a 56 yr. old women, so my interest is not in fertility. Is there any research that suggests different results for older women?
    Thanks
    LW

    • Amy says:

      I haven’t seen research for older women with PCOS. However PCOS does not go away when we reach menopause. We are still at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. Myo-inositol is just a b vitamin. I plan to use it well into my 50s and beyond.

  • Shann says:

    Hi,
    I am on myo inositol. The doc prescribed due to pcos and also the inability to conceive. Been for the past 6 months. I am glad I read this post and I hope that I hope to benefit from this.

    Shann

  • Aerin says:

    Myo-inositol has been known to be a major component of *semen* since at least the 1960s. That the obvious connection here has never been officially medically recognized and that some women have had their endocrine systems ruined by lack of this nutrient is an utter embarrassment to the medical profession.

  • Jessica says:

    Thank you for this article! Great information especially for those not wanting to take Metformin, or like me who can’t tolerate it too well (I get crazy dizzy).

  • Slajoie says:

    I just wanted to add my experiences with Myo-inositol. My acupuncturist read the study about egg quality and ovarian function. MI along with folic acid and 3mg of melatonin each night increased both # of eggs retrieved, embryo quality and pregnancies.

    I started it three months before my IVF cycle. I should also mention that I am 43 years old and have done 2 mini embryo cycles – this was my first full IVF. They retrieved 40 eggs- 31 were mature enough to fertilize. We had 24 embryos at day 2 and 12 at day 5. All were frozen to do a thaw cycle as I was at high risk for ovarian hyper stimulation.

    This is obviously an anomaly – but I can’t help but believe that my results would be different without the Myo-inostitol. Other than the fertility piece, I have noticed how balanced and relaxed I have been while taking it- no anxiety.

    Hope this helps someone who is wondering about it :)

  • Rebecca says:

    Thanks for a great article! I’ve been struggling with PCOS for years and my husband and I would like to get pregnant within the year. I recently found out that I have the MTHFR gene defect and I need to take Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin as opposed to regular folic acid or regular B12. Do you know if the folic acid in pregnitude is methylated? If I consume the regular myo-inositol powder and want to supplement with methylfolate, do you have any recommendations. From my research I understand I need to start slow with methylfolate to prevent side effects, but I don’t know where to start! Any brands or recommendations would be helpful- thanks!

  • Caro says:

    hi, I am just learning about inositol now. I’m 29 and have known I have pcos since I was 17. I was on the pill until last year. Now I’m on Metformin and took progesterone to cause me to bleed. I started acupuncture and herbs last month. My acupuncturist recommended inositol and I’m confused about pills vs powder and whether or not I need folic acid if I’m not yet trying to conceive. thanks!

  • ColoradoPCOS says:

    Hello! I am one of the crowd- PCOS and trying to conceive. I do NOT want to take pharmaceuticals- I would like to address the real issue of the disorder and heal my body accordingly.
    I have been researching Pregnitude and D-chiro inositol… Both seem to have valid studies relating to my issue- high testosterone levels and erratic menses with and without ovulation.
    Do you know of any reasons that I shouldn’t take BOTH of these inositols at the same time? I haven’t found any articles or studies about this…
    Of course, I am very concentrated on a healthy diet and exercise… These supplements would be in addition to that.
    Thanks!!