Vitamin B8 (Inositol) | Deficiencies, Excesses and Recommendations
Vitamin B8 was a designation once given to several distinct chemical compounds that have surrendered the title, but most often referred to pseudo-B-Vitamin inositol.
Inositol, or more precisely myoinositol, it is produced naturally from glucose by the kidneys and other tissues. Since small amounts of inositol can be produced by the human body, inositol is no longer considered a true vitamin.
Myoinositol has its highest concentration in the brain. It plays an important role in helping neurotransmitters and steroid hormones bind to their receptors. Deficiencies of Inositol are believed to affect mental health, especially where the neurotransmitter serotonin is involved.
Inositol was once considered a member of the B Complex family of vitamins, hence its former designation as Vitamin B-8. Still considered a B vitamin-like nutrient, inositol appears in many multivitamin formulas, including B Complex supplements.
Myoinositol is the most widely used inositol supplement, but is usually labeled “inositol.”
On a non-nutritive note, inositol has been used as an adulterant or “cutting” agent for illegal drugs. It is also used as a stand-in prop for cocaine in movies and television.
What Could Happen If I Don’t Get Enough Inositol?
- An inositol deficiency may result in skin conditions such as eczema, increased levels of blood cholesterol, eye problems, hair loss, nerve and muscle function, and depression.
- As Inositol helps to regulate intestinal function, a deficiency may cause digestive problems and constipation.
- Diabetes has also been associated with low levels of inositol.
What Will Happen If I Get Too Much Inositol?
Although rare, high doses of inositol have resulted in a few side effects. Doses above 12 grams may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, bloating, and tiredness.
Inositol occurs naturally in a variety of plant foods such as beans, nuts, oat bran, fruits (e.g. bananas, cantaloupes, oranges, peaches, pears) and vegetables (greens, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and sprouts). Free-range, grass-fed meat and poultry products are healthful animal sources of inositol.
Little Change Recommended Supplements
If you choose to take a supplement, we generally recommend using a brand that submits to independent, third-party testing, or has been independently tested and approved by Consumer Labs.
Potential Life Enhancements
Limited research has shown that symptoms of depression, and anxiety related issues such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) have improved with inositol supplementation.